How to become a wedding planner
Wedding planners help walk couples through the biggest day of their lives. From the time the proposal gets a "yes" until after the last bottle of champagne is popped, a good wedding planner will work tirelessly to ensure the big day is a total success. It might include everything from arranging wedding photography and food to scrutinizing fabric swatches and finding a last-minute solution for a ripped veil or missing best man.
While some couples pop into the local justice of the peace or head to Las Vegas for a quick wedding, there are plenty of brides and grooms who pull out all the stops to ensure their wedding is a day they — and their guests — will never forget. And they're spending money to make it happen. According to the 2016 Real Weddings Study by TheKnot.com, the average cost of a wedding in 2016 was $35,329, and that doesn't include the honeymoon.
Educational requirements for a wedding planner
Although a specific degree is often not necessary to work as a wedding planner, you're likely to be running your own business, so it may still be worthwhile to complete a formal education program by taking courses in wedding or event planning from a college, university or the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners. After taking these courses, or completing a degree program, you can earn a certification — a qualification that might help improve your future business prospects.
If having educational credentials or formal qualifications in this field matter to you or potential clients in your geographic area, you might consider majoring in one of the following:
- Event Planning
- Hospitality management
- Public relations
Earning a degree in one of these related subjects may help prepare you for setting up and maintaining your business, including the creation of business plans, building your portfolio and finding clientele.
What do wedding planners do?
Depending on their clients' needs, a wedding planner's to-do list can be quite varied. According to TheKnot.com, a planner's duties for a typical wedding might include:
- Setting up a budget
- Locating a venue
- Finding vendors, including florists, caterers, photographers and a DJ or band, and setting up contracts
- Assisting with invitations
- Managing all the details on the actual wedding day, supervising vendors, event setup and any emergencies that may arise
How much can you make as a wedding planner?
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific information on the wages of a wedding planner, it does provide salary data on the larger roles of meeting, convention and event planners. These professionals made an annual mean wage of $52,020 in 2016. Washington D.C. and New York topped the list of states with the highest annual mean wages of $69,910 and $64,370, respectively.
Check out the visual below to learn more about how to become a wedding planner.
- Meeting, Convention and Event Planners, "Occupational Outlook Handbook," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm; accessed September 2017
- Occupational Employment and Wages: Meeting, Convention and Event Planners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2016, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131121.htm
- "The National Average Cost of a Wedding Hits $35,329”, Real Weddings Survey 2016, TheKnot.com, https://www.theknot.com/content/average-wedding-cost-2016; accessed September 2017
- "What Do Wedding Planners Do?," TheKnot.com, https://www.theknot.com/content/what-do-wedding-planners-do; accessed September 2017