Wedding Planner

The Job and What's Involved

A wedding planner's job is to help busy couples have the wedding they want. This could mean organising the whole wedding from start to finish, or just certain aspects of the day.

As a wedding planner, your work might include:

  • Meeting couples to discuss their requirements and budget
    coming with up creative ideas and themes.
  • Advising on wedding etiquette.
  • Preparing proposals and quotations for the work.
  • Mediating in any differences of opinion about details.
  • Negotiating prices with suppliers such as florists, photographers, caterers and venues.
  • Booking, confirming and ensuring that suppliers are paid on time.
  • Keeping detailed records to make sure that costs stay within budget.
  • Researching new products, services and suppliers.
  • Keeping a database of suppliers and contacts.
  • Dealing with paperwork, phone calls, emails and letters.
  • Being there on the day of the wedding to make sure that everything goes to plan.

If self-employed, you would also spend time on your accounts and marketing your business.

Although you can use your creativity in the job, much of the work involves organisation and administration, particularly as you may be planning several weddings at once.

You are likely to work long hours, particularly during peak wedding season. Meetings with couples often take place in the evening and at weekends, and you might work 12-hour days or longer on the day of the ceremony.

You could have an office base or work from home, but you would also spend time travelling to see clients, suppliers and venues.

Starting salaries in wedding/event planning companies are around £16,000 to £20,000 a year. With experience, they can reach £25,000 to £40,000.

Self-employed earnings will depend on your fees and the amount of weddings you organise. You could charge a flat fee, an hourly rate, or a percentage of the total wedding cost.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

You could come to wedding planning from a variety of backgrounds. Event organising, hospitality and catering, project management, marketing or public relations are especially useful. Many people also choose to become professional wedding planners after organising their own wedding.

Another way in could be to start as an administrator or assistant in a wedding planning or event management company, possibly through temporary work ('temping'). You could then progress to organising events as your experience grows.

Education and Training

There is no standard qualification for becoming a wedding planner, although qualifications in a related area like event organising or hospitality management may be an advantage.

You may find it useful to take a short course in wedding planning, and several private training companies offer courses. You should research courses carefully to make sure that they meet your needs. You should also ideally get some work experience with a local wedding planner.

It would also be useful experience to organise weddings, parties and other events for friends and acquaintances.

You could also approach local charities to volunteer to organise events such as fun days, charity balls or fashion shows. This would help you build hands-on experience, give you testimonials that you can use, and develop a reputation in your local area.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

You will develop your skills on the job as your experience grows.

There is no industry-standard qualification in wedding planning, although several private training organisations offer home study courses, and the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) offers a two-day classroom-based course with an optional work placement afterwards.

Most courses cover areas including:

- Running a business
- Pricing and budgeting
- Negotiation skills
- Advertising, marketing and PR
- Theming and design
- Marriage and civil partnership laws
- Wedding etiquette

You could join an industry organisation such as the UKAWP or the National Association of Professional Wedding Services to raise your professional reputation and increase your networking, training and marketing opportunities.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A wedding planner needs:

  • A high level of organisation and 'multi-tasking' ability.
  • Good communication and 'people skills', with customer focus.
  • Creative problem-solving skills and the ability to 'think on your feet'.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • The ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.
  • Sales and negotiation skills.
  • Budget management ability.
  • Administrative and IT skills.
  • The ability to work as part of a team and also on your own initiative.
  • Enthusiasm, motivation and an outgoing, approachable personality.
  • A confident and assertive manner.

Your Long Term Prospects

You are mostly likely to be self-employed, although there are opportunities to work for larger wedding planning consultancies, event management companies or hotels.

Jobs with hotels or event management companies may be advertised in the local and national press, hospitality trade publications and employers' own websites.

If you are self-employed, opportunities depend on the strength of your marketing and reputation.

Get Further Information

UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP)
7 Churchfield Road,
Coggeshall, Essex CO6 1QE
Website: www.ukawp.com

National Association of Professional Wedding Services (NAPWS)
Tel: 020 8090 1921
Website: www.theweddingassociation.co.uk

People 1st
2nd Floor, Armstrong House,
38 Market Square, Uxbridge,
Middlesex UB8 1LH
Tel: 01895 857000
Website: www.people1st.co.uk

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