Posts tagged how to be a planner
How to be a Planner by Successful Wedding Planners
This post is for all of you up and coming Wedding Professionals.  I know that I get at least one email a day, asking me how to become a Wedding Planner and I'd like to have a post to direct everyone to, so here it is.  I sent out an email to some of the top Wedding Planners in the Northeast Ohio and while I was disappointed at the lack of response I received, I can say that the quality of the responses was quite good.  Quality over quantity, right?  See for yourselves. 

"I always share the following advice-
"If you want to be successful at owing an event planning business, I recommend starting out working for an event facility - Hotel, Country Clubs, Catering Companies, Party Centers can teach such valuable lessons on Food and Beverage, Event coordination, contracts, great vendors, and so much more.  Starting out at a facility allows one to build up a relationship with vendors and to learn from the bottom up many valuable tools!"

Valarie Kirkbride-Falvey from Kirkbrides 
"I got started by being an intern/training for free with a wedding planner in LA.  After I trained for about 6-8 months she started giving me weddings of my own.  I've learned that creativity comes naturally and helps immensely with the job (through not only design ideas but creative problem solving as well).  I also recommend to people still in college to take advantage of any business courses they can.  My marketing, economics, accounting and management classes help me the most with my job now.  I also think that my past sales experience helps me run my own business as well.  As a planner you always have to be selling yourself and networking, maintaining relationships with vendors and location managers."

"Kirkbrides will be offering an internship program soon.  We are ironing out the details now and I already have people waiting for me to send to them.  If people are interested they can check my site or e-mail for more information."

Amy Nixon from Amy Nixon Events

"My advice to aspiring planners/coordinators would be to participate in an internship where you are actually able to assist in the process. It’s how I got started myself, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to break into the wedding planning business. Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of working with several interns at my weddings and other events. They have been a range of ages (from 18 to 44), some pursuing event planning in college, others looking to make a major mid-life career change. They have been quite a diverse group of ladies, and yet at the end of their internships they all had the exact same thing to say…..the hands-on experience was absolutely invaluable. Some decided they loved wedding planning and have continued on the path, and some others decided it’s not what they really had in mind. While formal education and classes are always a great thing, all the classroom hours in the world can’t prepare you for coordinating a 400 guest wedding, wrangling an excited bridal party of 22 people, directing 12 vendors going in all different directions, and preparing for a 45 minute room-flip between ceremony and reception all at the same time. It’s always fast-paced and sometimes high-stress, and the best way to ease yourself into that atmosphere without being overwhelmed is by observing and assisting a seasoned wedding professional"

Here is what I tell my assistants/interns.  I also did an article on "Why you need a Planner" for a local paper/column.  (That article can be viewed here.)

  1. Take the time to be trained via an Association/Certification Program. Shadow a seasoned planner with an actual events.
  2. Learn the business inside and out ( how to charge your customer, how to handle vendors, programs, your money, advertising...etc). Read the books, magazines and research, research research.  
  3. Do not assume anything. ALWAYS get signed contract for your services and the vendors that the client chooses. 
  4. Obtain legal advice as well as a tax person.
  5. Spend time shadowing or observing  vendors (i.e. florist, bakers, photographer). See the perspective of an event from through their eyes. Understanding your vendors need/goals and over all expectations for a successful event. This is SO valuable to the success of a planner/event.  
  6. Always have an assistant. You can never be in 2 places at the same time. Make sure the assistant is capable and knowledgeable. This is a great opp for a up & coming planner. You are more professional when you are prepared and pro active. Visit the sites for the ceremony/reception why a head of time.
  7. Always be proActive not reActive.
  8. Control what you can. By keeping ahead of the tact( i.e. people will be late so plan for it).  
  9. Remember to always keep it classy and professional (i.e. your attire, attitude). Have fun but continue to do your job. Be accountable, reliable, dependable and integritity.
  10. Most important...remember this a relationship building profession. Keep in mind that this relationship can lead to other working relationships/events.
  11. Work as if the world is watching because one never knows.

    So, that was definitely quality in responses.  I will do a post to follow up on my tips & secrets on how to become a successful wedding planner next.  Although,
    I think these ladies just about covered it!

    If you have any other advice or would like more information, feel free to email me or give me a call,
    I'm always happy to help!  I
    wish all of you the best of luck in becoming an
    amazing & successful Wedding Planner.

Expert Advice from other Experts

I have received emails from many people, who have asked "How can I become a wedding planner?"  While there really isn't any clear cut answer, I found this article to be helpful since the advice was coming from other vendors in the wedding industry.  If you have any advice for all of the startup planners, email me or post a comment.  There will be lots of grateful readers, I'm sure!  If no answers get posted, I'll be posting a session with fellow planners in the area with their answers!

Ask the Experts: Becoming a Wedding Professional

by Marta
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Ask the Experts is your chance to tap into a panel of wedding experts to get your most pressing wedding questions answered. If you have a question for the panel write
Dear Ask the Experts,
I got married last year and LOVED planning my wedding. I’ve helped with the weddings of a few friends as well and now I’m considering looking into doing this as a career. I’ve worked in a florist shop before and am considering either wedding planning, or becoming a florist for weddings. How do I go from being someone who loves to help with weddings to a wedding professional? What are some of the most common misunderstandings people have about working in weddings? Am I silly for thinking that just because I was good at my wedding, I’d be good at doing someone else’s?
Would-Be Wedding Professional

Rebecca of Studio B Photography says:
Being a wedding professional of any type requires building a network of trusted colleagues. Weddings are a group effort and require the coordination of several vendors to make the day go off without a hitch. You need to be able to have a firm grasp on every part that goes into a wedding, even the not so glamorous parts (like who cleans up after all the guests are gone?) You need a TON of patience, and thick skin. Weddings are VERY stressful so be prepared for mothers, brides, and even bridesmaids to snap at you and make outrageous demands.
Get in touch with a planner in your area and sit down and chat with them. Ask them what the hardest part of their job is, and also what is the most rewarding. Start getting acquainted with others in the floral business or other types vendors so you can understand how they all work together to achieve a wonderful wedding.
Thea of Rose of Sharon says:
The wedding industry is full of unexpected hard work. As a florist, you don't just design pretty arrangements. You also have to clean buckets, flowers, work tools, containers, work-space, coolers; carry buckets of flowers and water (sometimes in heels); and work on a tight schedule--you can't be late for a wedding! And don't forget, you're designing for a customer, not yourself. By working for someone else first, you can learn the ins and outs of the industry and see if this is something you really want. The wedding industry is a LOT of hard work, but it's also very rewarding.
Melissa of Stylish Blooms says:
Believe it or not this is a very common question. Planning your wedding gives you the opportunity to think outside the box, get creative and see something you imagined come to life. It’s not silly to want to pursue something you truly enjoyed.
I hear on a daily basis “working with flowers must be so fun” or “ You have such a great job, your so lucky” and yes these statements are true, but it is a lot of work and at times can be stressful. There is a lot that goes in to floral designing other than pretty flowers. Planning and time management is most important. Then you'll need to be able to identify flowers, know when they are in season, the longevity and care of each flower and how many stems are per bunch for each flower type so that you can order and price out your weddings carefully. Mechanics are a big part of design as well, From bouquet holders to floral foam, wire and tape you want to make sure you know how to use them and when. Knowing floral terminology is just as important, knowing the difference between a cascade bouquet and a biedermeier bouquet will help you help a bride decide what bouquet works best with her dress.
See if you can shadow another planner or florist, learn the ins and outs, the ups and downs and then see if you still feel the same way you did after planning your wedding. I wish you the best of luck!
About our experts:
Rebecca Enslein is the owner of Studio B Photography in the Atlanta, Georgia area. As a recent bride herself, Rebecca is able to better understand what her clients need and enjoys providing them with images that capture the joy of their wedding day.
Melissa Bonoffksi is the creative force behind Stylish Blooms in Bristol, Ct. She holds an A.A.S. in floriculture and has over 13 years of design experience.
Thea Daniel, owner of Rose of Sharon Event Florist in Fayeteville, Arkansas, has been designing floral arrangements for events for 15 years.