Do you know what they say about the wedding business? “It’s not always about the money; sometimes it’s about the passion.” This is especially true when it comes to wedding planners. A career in wedding and event planning can be very rewarding, both financially and emotionally.
However, it takes more than just passion for being a successful wedding planner. It takes hard work, dedication, and a whole lot of organization.
In my last session, one of my students asked: “What do you suggest for people who want to become a wedding planner but have no previous experience in the industry?”
So, instead of just giving her a list of things to do, I decided to write this post with actionable advice about how to become a wedding planner with no experience.
If you’ve never worked in the wedding industry before, getting your foot in the door can be tough.
Before you even start thinking about becoming a wedding planner, let me ask you this: Do you have any experience working in customer service? Are you good at handling money and staying organized?
If you answered yes to both of those questions, you’re already ahead of the game.
I plan to share my proven framework for building a thriving wedding planning business from scratch in this article.
My Wedding Planning Framework
You see, nobody just “wakes up one day” and decides to become a wedding planner. It’s a decision that takes time, contemplation, and a lot of self-reflection.
The first step in my framework is to evaluate your reasons for wanting to become a wedding planner.
Are you passionate about weddings? Do you love working with people? Do you have a knack for planning and organizing events?
Or are you simply looking for a way to make some extra money?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money as a wedding planner. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why people get into the business. But it can’t be your only reason.
If you’re not genuinely passionate about weddings, you’re not going to be a successful wedding planner. It’s as simple as that.
One of my students, who is now a certified wedding planner, told me her main reason to get into wedding planning was, “I want to travel worldwide and throw fancy weddings in exotic locations.”
You might be thinking, “Hey, that sounds like a great reason to become a wedding planner!” But it doesn’t work like that.
I corrected her. It’s more about wanting to travel the world and plan weddings in exotic locations.
The difference may seem small, but it’s actually huge.
The first reason is all about her. The second reason is all about weddings.
See the difference?
The second reason is more likely to succeed because it focuses on providing value to the client.
So, if you want to jump into the wedding planning business, make sure it’s for the right reasons.
Did we talk about it? No, we didn’t! This is the most important thing you need to do before starting your own wedding planning business.
You need to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there. You need to set goals and develop a roadmap to achieve those goals.
All the prospective wedding planners have it. Identify your target market and figure out how to reach them. Develop a pricing strategy and make sure you are making a profit.
Last but not least, create a marketing plan to generate leads and grow your business.
A well-thought-out business plan is essential for any successful business, and wedding planners are no different.
Think about it as the “elevator pitch” for your business. It should be brief (1-2 pages) and give a general overview of your business.
Include your company’s mission statement, target market, and a brief description of your products and services.
This is where you give a more detailed description of your company. Now here’s where you can get creative.
Think about how you want your company to be perceived by the public and what makes you unique.
Are you a luxury wedding planner? A budget-friendly wedding planner? A full-service wedding planner?
Weddings are all about personal creativity, so make sure your company description reflects that.
This is where you list all the products and services you offer. Be as specific as possible.
If you offer different packages, list them out in detail. If you have a la carte services, list those as well.
Make sure to include the price of each service so your clients know what to expect.
Market analysis is where you research your target market and figure out their needs.
You need to understand who your target wedding planning market is, what their needs are, and how you can reach them.
For instance, if you’re targeting high-end clients, you need to ensure your marketing reflects that.
If you’re targeting budget-conscious clients, you need to ensure your prices reflect that.
The market analysis of the wedding planning business is an important part of your business plan because it will help you determine your marketing and sales strategies.
This information will be used to develop your sales and marketing strategy, so it’s essential to get it right.
Now that you know your target market and their needs, it’s time to develop a sales and marketing strategy to reach them.
Your sales and marketing strategy should be tailored to your target market.
I would leave that section of your business plan for last so you can really think about how you want to reach your target market.
This is where you outline your business’s financial projections for the next 3-5 years.
You need to have a good understanding of your start-up costs, operating expenses, and projected revenue.
This information will be used to determine whether or not your business is feasible and will help you get funding if you need it.
You need to understand that 2022 will be a big year for the wedding industry.
As the economy continues to rebound, we will see a lot of couples getting engaged and wanting to get married.
So, plan your financial projections keeping in mind the trends for the coming years.
Now that you know the essentials of a good wedding planning business plan, let’s continue with the process of becoming a wedding planner with no experience.
The next step in my framework is to educate yourself on the industry.
This is important because weddings are all about love and happiness. And like any business, there are specific rules and regulations that you need to be aware of.
For example, did you know that in some states, you need to be a licensed vendor in order to sell wedding-related services?
In other words, if you want to become a wedding planner in one of those states, you need to have a business license.
Or, let’s say you live in a state where you don’t need a business license. You would need to become a certified wedding planner to offer your services.
You still need to know about things like liability insurance, contracts, and taxes.
The bottom line is that you need to educate yourself on the business side of things.
Fortunately, there are a lot of resources available to help you do just that. I would recommend starting with the blog section of my website. You are reading one of them right now!
The next step in my framework is to get some experience in the wedding and event industry. This can be in the form of working as a wedding photographer, catering company manager, or even as a wedding guest.
The point is to get yourself familiar with the ins and outs of a wedding day. This will give you a better understanding of what goes into planning a wedding and will also help you build relationships with other vendors in the industry.
For instance, florists, venues, and other vendors work together to perfect a wedding day. By getting to know them and building relationships with them, you’ll be able to create a network of people who can help you with your own business.
Let me make it even simpler. Have you ever been to any weddings? Of course, you do! We all have! And that, my friend, is your experience with event planning companies.
Next time you visit a wedding of any of your relatives, friends, or neighbors, start observing things. I am sure you will get many ideas about becoming a wedding planner.
See who has organized it, what the hiccups are, and what things you liked about it. This will give you an idea of how to become a wedding planner and whether you are up for it.
You can also exchange words with the planner and know more about their job, how they got into it, what challenges they face, and so on. This will give you an insight into the real work of a wedding planning company
The next step in my framework is to find a mentor.
A mentor is somebody who has been in the business for a while and can help guide you through the process of starting your own business.
Everyone has two choices: either to get into the industry without any guidance and explore everything by themselves or to have certified wedding planners holding their hands and helping them every step of the way.
The point is that the wedding industry is growing at the rate of $300 billion each year. Thousands of new wedding and event planners have joined the industry in the past decade.
The problem is, with so many new wedding professionals popping up, it’s hard to differentiate the good ones from the bad ones.
A mentor can help you avoid the pitfalls and make sure you start on the right foot to become a good wedding planner.
The last step in my framework is to join a professional association of successful wedding planners.
Professional associations are significant for networking and keeping up with the latest industry trends.
I can’t stress enough networking. As a wedding planner, you need to network with as many people as possible. You never know who you’re going to meet and what opportunities will come your way.
The best way to network is to attend industry networking events, attend workshops and meet as many people as you can. Professional associations are a great way to find out about these events.
Joining an association will also give you access to a wealth of more resources and information that you can use to grow your business.
There isn’t a single day that goes by without a new resource or trend emerging in the wedding industry. By joining an association, you’ll be able to stay on top of the latest industry trends and be one step ahead of your competition.
The next step in my framework is to find new clients and build your business. This is where the rubber meets the road. You can have all the experience and education globally, but if you don’t have a paying client, you will not be in business for very long.
The best way to find more clients is to get involved in your local wedding community. Attend industry events, volunteer at bridal shows, and get your name there. The more people you meet, the more likely you will find clients.
Offer your services as internet with any event planner or trained wedding planner in your area.
Another great way to find clients is to offer special promotions and discounts. This will help you stand out from the competition and attract new business.
Finally, make sure you have a strong online presence. In today’s world, more and more couples are planning their weddings online. If you want to be successful, you need to make sure you have a strong online presence.
For instance, make sure your website is up to date and that you’re active on social media platforms. You should also consider setting up a blog to attract new visitors to your website.
When you market yourself on social media, make sure you don’t get tempted by most wedding planners’ social media mistakes.
The last step in my framework is to never let your standards slip. You need to keep this in mind every day in everything you do.
It doesn’t matter if you own an event planning agency or just starting a wedding planner career, the rule is the same for all.
As a wedding planner, you’re constantly representing your business. Whether you’re meeting with a client, working with a vendor, or attending an industry event, you need to make sure you’re always putting your best foot forward.
If you let your standards slip, it will reflect poorly on your business.
To ensure you always maintain high standards, develop a set of policies and procedures for your business. This will help you stay organized and focused, and it will ensure that your standards never slip.
Developing policies and procedures can be time-consuming, but it’s well worth the effort.
By developing a set of policies and procedures, you’ll be able to run your business with confidence, knowing that you’re always meeting your high standards.
In short, don’t act like you are new to the event planning industry. Start researching, networking, and building trust with clients from day one.
You know what they say: “When you are new in business, act like you are old and established.” This couldn’t be more true. If you want to succeed in the wedding industry, you need to start thinking and acting like a business professional.
The bottom line is that if you want to be a wedding planner, you need to put in the work. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of my framework on how to become a wedding planner with no experience.
By following the steps in this framework, you’ll be well on your way to becoming one of the professional wedding planners in the industry.
Remember, the wedding industry is constantly changing, so staying on top of the latest trends is essential. And always remember never to let your standards slip.
If you stick to these principles, you’ll be sure to find success as a wedding planner. Good luck!