I've have decided to dive right back into the market and get to know all of my "competition" in the area. I'd like to use the term competition as loosely as possible as I don't consider this to be an industry or a profession where you can actually have serious competition between wedding planners.
When you become a planner, you do so, because you love what you do. The money might seem great to an outsider, but when you calculate all the the time you dedicate to a wedding, to a bride and her family, and all the manual labor you end up doing, it basically just covers your expenses. When you love something that much, it is hard to think anyone is "better" than you are, just different.
Experience will set each apart, of course. I'm lucky to have so much, while others are in different positions and just learning. That is the path of any career though. People with less experience will learn and people with more will get better, but I never think of them as competing. They are just a different points in their career.
When someone books a wedding planner it is rarely based on anything other than the fact that you just "clicked" with your client. So, that really means that people are either going to want to work with you, because of who you are, or they won't. There is not way to compete with that. Some people might not want my style and personality. You can't help but think that it is better that they make that decision so you only get the very best clients for your business.
Pricing may be an issue to some while to others it is no matter. I don't plan on lowering my price to work with brides with lower end budgets, because those aren't the weddings I enjoy doing. I also don't want to raise my pricing so high that I can only work with a select few clients, I enjoy working more often than not. If you search around the industry for wedding planners you will find that most of them are priced exactly where they should be for what they offer, their experience and their abilities.
All that being said, I'm leaving out that there are just bad planners. People who decide that they want to be a "wedding planner" because they watched the movie over and over again and the job seems like "fun." Well, those people, you can't consider competition. It takes so much time, energy, heart and dedication to be a planner that the people that enter the business for the "glamor" quickly fall off the radar. No competition there and shame on a bride who doesn't check a planner out first to realize they don't have the experience or background for planning.
I think that becoming a wedding planner puts you in a wonderful category with other wonderful people who enjoy what you do. I've enjoyed meeting other planners who can share stories, ideas and tips. If you are good, no one can steal your business. If you aren't good, people being able to steal your business should make you work harder to become better. Period.
So, fellow wedding planners, go and give another planner a hug!!