Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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.

3 comments:

  1. Those are really nice tips. Being perfect in everything is very tuff. Following the perfect guidelines and with the right perception you can be great wedding planner

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really very good article as it helps the newbies to know what are the important things when they are planning for wedding. Wedding planners are main in all the wedding as they plan for everything from first to last.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well,

    It is an interesting post on wedding planner.

    Wedding planners can help you in finding a church or any other venue of your choice. If you prefer to have your wedding in open air a wedding planner will definitely help you to find the appropriate venue.

    ReplyDelete