How to become a Wedding Planner

How to become a Wedding Planner

Becoming a Wedding Planner can be one of the most rewarding home business ideas to start. You are creating memories for the happy couple to be.

We all love a good wedding. It has been said that wedding day should be the happiest day of your life. For anyone who has planned their own wedding you will know how stressful and expensive it can be. The average wedding cost in the UK can be over £20,000 and with spending that sort of money you want the day to be memorable for the right reasons.

If you are organised, good at planning and have good people skills this could be a profitable home business for you which will bring great satisfaction knowing you helped the happy couple at the start of their married lives.

How to become a Wedding Planner

A Wedding planner is someone who arranges a wedding. You could be arranging the whole day from the morning up to the reception in the evening, just the wedding itself or even just the reception. It all depends on how much the happy couple want you to be involved. It is their day after all.

The skills required
 Brilliant organisational skills
 Excellent communication skills
 Superb attention to detail
 Amazing customer care
 Good at negotiation skills
 The ability to be creative and think outside the box
 Can stick to a budget
 Great ability to think on your feet – especially in a crisis
 A good ideas of marketing
 Wonderful time management – you are after all working to a very strict deadline
 Flexible to work during weekends (most weddings are at weekends)

How to become a Wedding Planner

Do I need qualifications?
The good news is that you do not need any formal qualifications to be a wedding planner. However, it may be good to work with an established wedding planner (or assist a friend or family with their upcoming wedding) so you can see what is involved. After all someone is more likely to hire someone who can say honestly that they have helped to plan a recent wedding (and show examples of their skills for that wedding).

If you do not know anyone getting married soon then why not contact another local wedding planner and ask if you can voluntary offer your services at the next wedding they are planning.

Before you start do your research
So if you love this idea like all new businesses you need to do your research especially on the competition. Do some local research and find out how many wedding planners there are (perhaps there are only a few in your area) If you find out there are far too many than move further afield

Find out from a wedding planner the following
 What do they charge?
 What services they offer? (could you offer a different service none of the others have
thought of)
 Do they offer a full service?
 What is their Unique Selling Point?

You will need to think what type of service you can provide. One size does not fit all. Spend a while thinking of a niche you can special in.
One unusual niche is when someone marries themselves. Yes this does happen! It is called Sologamny which is the act of marrying yourself. Basically it is a vow to give yourself commitment that vales self-love and self-compassion. It has been said that this can make you a happier person. Sologamy is not recognised in Europe or the US as a legally binding union.

Other good niches
 Dealing with a certain demographic
 Unusual weddings
 Theme weddings
 Animals/pets in the Wedding party
 Overseas weddings (you would be expected to of course travel to the Country of the wedding
How to show you are a good wedding planner
 Make sure you are always contactable. If you are going on holiday then tell the client of the dates.
 You have a good knowledge of vendors and their costs
 Always respond to enquire within a few hours
 Always have suggestions for ideas for the day
 Make sure you are not recommending suppliers, services etc where you will get a referral fee.
 Be open minded when it comes to the client’s style and taste. You may not like the wedding style being discussed with your client but it is their wedding and not your own. If you hate their style you need to be diplomatic.
 Always have a good contract in place that spells out the full duties required, costs, the expenses you are going to incur, all information regarding deposits and refunds. Also you must have a clause regarding additional costs (we all know how wedding costs can mount up), and what happens if you as a planner fail to provide the services requested. In your contract you should have stages of payment. Initial deposit, then regular monthly payments with the final payment 1 week before the wedding.

How to become a Wedding Planner

What does a wedding planner do at the first initial consultation with a prospective client?
 Discus the Budget
 Get an understanding of the type of wedding they want, do they want a formal wedding, a fun wedding, quite wedding, beach wedding etc.

 Will the wedding be in a church, registry office, hotel or somewhere unusual?
 Do they want you help arrange the hen party, attend the rehearsals etc?
 What is their style, what colours are they thinking about and what is their taste?
 What meal planning will they require, does anyone have dietary requirements, and
will it be a sit down meal or buffet?
 Will they want entertainment on the day?
 Discuss vendors and contacts (you must before that have a good idea of local
companies that are reputable)
 Before the meeting make sure you have a directory of good contacts
 Getting a good photographer/videographer
 Can you bring pets to the wedding?

On the actual wedding day
As you can imagine on the wedding day it will be exceptionally busy for you – hence why you need a detailed timetable and be one step ahead all the time. On the actual day it may help if you can bring some reliable friends who could assist as you cannot be all things to all people. You could of course hire some people and this cost would need to be factored into the overcall cost of your services

How to become a Wedding Planner

You will need to be responsible for all the following on the day
 Dealing with all the caterers and handling deliveries (so you need to be on good terms with the venue in regard to opening times, have places to store items and have a room where can you deal with everything
 Checking the order of service is ready and on chairs for everyone attending the wedding
 Dealing with last minute emergencies
 Dealing with the registrar/Helping the Vicar or Priest or whoever is going to marry the happy couple
 Setting up the venue and arranging the reception.
 Making sure that the correct place names are in the right place and spelt right.
 Helping with the wedding party, making sure they are where they should be
 Liaising with the venue manager to make sure the food and drink are ready on time
 Looking after the entertainment hosts
 Liaising with the photographer to make sure he/she gets the people in the right place at the right time. Also helping the photographer with the names of immediate family and friends who will be in the majority of the pictures
 Making sure there are no gate crashers
 Working to a very strict deadline for the day
 Checking the venue, making sure that nothing is being damaged, stolen etc (you may not get your deposit back if that is the case)
 Having a secure area for the wedding presents and making sure that they are safely stored away as the couple may not be taking them away that evening
 Checking that the bridal suite is prepared to your clients satisfaction

How to become a Wedding Planner

How much does it cost to start a Wedding planning business?
In the UK most couples get married between May and September as the weather is much warmer (usually!) This would be your busiest time. Of course this means that during the rest of the year you may be less busy. However, when you are less busy this will be the best time to do your marketing, securing new clients, looking at venues, building up your profile and attending wedding fairs.

In this business (unlike most others) due to the fluctuating of earnings you will need to make sure you have adequate funds and of course this includes putting money away for Tax, National Insurance and other relevant insurance you may need. So if you get paid from a client do not spend it all at once.
A good thing about this business as a wedding planner is that you have low costs to start with. If you run this from home you do not need office space or employees.

You will however need the following (as any business would require)
 Computer
 Printer and scanner access (you could even use an internet café/local library)
 Telephone (both landline and mobile)
 Web costs
 Insurance(including professional indemnity insurance)
 Leaflets/Business cards
 Membership of any trade or professional organisations

How to market your wedding planning service
 Partner with wedding vendors – Research all local wedding suppliers and products they offer.
 Join a reputable trade association for wedding planners

 Contact wedding magazine editors and ask if they will do a feature on your new business – also considering contacting your local newspapers for a feature.
 Donate your skills to charity. Why not send out a press release to stay you are starting out and would be happy to arrange a free service to someone for example who is in their 80s and getting married for the first time. Everyone would love this story as it is heart felt.
 Prepare some leaflets and business cards – leave some with local companies such as florists, bride shops, caterers, hairdressers, beauty salons etc.
 Bride stores – ask the store manager if you can set up a table in their shop to display your business. The bride shop could get a commission on any brides that take up your service.
 Speak to the local church/registary offices in your area and ask if you can leave some flyers for potential brides and grooms

Start a wedding blog

This will show you are an authority on your business. Some blogging ideas are as follows
 Photogaphs of a wedding you have helped plan – what you did step by step. If you have no wedding planning experience then offer to volunteer with another wedding planner and mention you would like to write about it on your blog
 Fashion tips for brides to be – this can cover all age ranges
 Beauty and hair tips for all bridges to be
 How to deal with conflict of relatives and ex partners
 Provide a check list of what a bride to be needs have for a successful wedding. You could do this blog about a year in planning a wedding and a month by month account of what is required
 How to save for a wedding – you could give tips on planning a budget, exTra work they could do to raise the funds etc.
 How to choose the perfect honeymoon
 At the end of each blog post mention your wedding planning service and give full contact details

Start a website  
You would need an online presence as you would get the majority of your leads from a website. The website should cover all the aspects of your planning service and could be linked to your blog which you can add to the website

Today almost all leads come through the online channel, so it only makes sense to spend some time and money creating a professional website.
Not only will you need a website and blog but a good presence on Social media which would include Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook – you can make an advert and target a particular area and also target age ranges and people who are getting married.

Ask for referrals. If you have already been involved in planning a wedding ask the Bride and Groom if they could offer referrals. You could offer an incentive for this. For example offer them a voucher to their favourite shop. Other offers could be a personal gift such mugs with their wedding picture and date on. A lovely keepsake.

If the bride and groom were really pleased with your services they would definitely recommend you to their family and friends as they would trust them.

Attend as many wedding fairs as you can. Visit the fairs with your flyers and hand out to potential customers.

Consider having a stall at one of these places with details and pictures of services you provide. Also give away branded items. For example pens, cups, carrier bags.

Make sure you have plenty of business cards.

How to become a Wedding Planner

Create a mock portfolio
If you have no experience how can you succeed – perhaps you do not want to volunteer to get experience well the good news is there is another way you can show you fully understand the business and that is to create a mock portfolio of what you do. Remember to state this an example only. It is no use lying and saying you have vast experience when you do not – people will appreciate your honesty.

So do a mock photo shoot which could show how the reception table could look with all the decorations and a cake. If there is a particular trend at the moment then try to show that in the mock up. At present that could be no plastic whatsoever in the set up. You could contact local vendors and ask them to help supply you with the products and services you require. If they agree you could then use them when planning your real wedding planning service.

Wedding Packages you could offer
You could offer 4 different types of packages (examples only)

Bronze Star

 A free face to face consultation (1 hour)
 2 hours internet research for wedding ideas
 Emails support for 2 weeks
Cost c £150

Gold Star
 A free face to face consultation (1 hour)
 5 hours consultation
 Email support for 6 weeks – this may be ideal for when the wedding is getting closer
 Good supplier recommendations for their budgets
Cost c £300

 A free face to face consultation (2 hours)
 7 hours consultation (in depth) to confirm the assistance you require. Preparation with all the initial planning, help with your suppliers and any ad hoc requirements
 A detailed timetable of the wedding day which can be distributed to all the wedding party eg Bridesmaids, Pageboys, Best Man, Maid of Honour and other friends and family who are involved in the wedding
 Help with designing the invitation, sending out invites and handling the RSVPs
 Arranging the flowers – sourcing a good florist/distribute the flowers for button holes for the wedding party
 Assistant at the Wedding up to the reception
 Help with the budget planning
 E mail support for 8 weeks
 Unlimited telephone calls and emails
Cost c £600

Double Platinum
All of Platinum plus the following on the day wedding management
 Visiting the wedding venue prior to the wedding
 Assisting with a good floor plan
 Preparing table invites, favours and toasts
 On site for the duration of the wedding – including helping with the wedding party
 Managing the suppliers, help setting up the décor for wedding and reception
 Outsourcing professional music and musicians
Cost c £1000

Good Trade Association
National Association of Wedding Professionals

Final thought

Everyone loves a good wedding and if you have exceptional organisational and people skills this could be a great home business for you. You take away all the stress and worry from the happy couple to be so their wedding day is perfect.

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