How to Become a Wedding Planner
Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Become a Planner for the Romance, Stay for the Challenging Work
Planning weddings isn't all parties and romance, though it certainly can be a lot of fun. It's also hard work and can be quite stressful. It takes a person who is good with others, thrives well under pressure and is super organized to be a successful wedding planner. Additionally, wedding planners are often self-employed. Therefore, it can take time to grow your business and requires a bit of marketing savvy, plus understanding of how taxes work when you're out on your own.
Wedding planning is a subset of event planning. Sometimes, a planner will focus solely on weddings, while others will take on all sorts of events. No matter which path you go, a wedding planner will spend much of her time meeting with clients to understand their vision and budget for the event, working with other vendors to make sure both the planning and the event run smoothly, inspecting and decorating event spaces and working at the wedding itself to ensure the client's satisfaction.
A bachelor's degree isn't required to be a wedding planner; however, some might choose to obtain a degree in meeting or event management. Others still might study business so they can succeed in running their own operation.
Wedding planners can become certified through specific organizations, such as the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners or the Wedding Planning Institute. Such certifications require online training.
Novice wedding planners often begin by working with more experienced planners to learn the ropes. Eventually, they might open up their own shop or join a team of planners at a hotel or event-planning company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 19 percent of event planners work in religious, civic or similar organizations, 12 percent work in accommodation or food services, and the remaining are in arts/entertainment/recreation or administrative/support services or are self-employed.
Years of Experience
A planner makes money by charging clients for her services. This could be a flat fee, an hourly rate or a percentage of the overall wedding budget. Often, the more lavish a wedding is, the higher the charge for the planner. As a wedding planner, you can expect to start with smaller events and work your way up to higher-paying weddings.
In May 2020, the median annual wage for an event planner was $51,560, according to the BLS. However, the top 10 percent earned more than $88,360.
Job Growth Trend
Event planners are in demand, and the occupation is expected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, the BLS notes, which is faster than average. However, that figure includes all sorts of event planners, not just wedding planners.
Kelsey Casselbury has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State-University Park. She has a long career in print and web media, including serving as a managing editor for a monthly nutrition magazine and food editor for a Maryland lifestyle publication. She also owns an Etsy shop selling custom invitations and prints.