For many people, getting involved in wedding or event planning is a dream job, one that always seems ideal, yet so far away. The fact is, being a wedding planner can be a great career, and is actually attainable for anyone who finds themselves interested in this line of work. This, however, is not to say that being a wedding planner is easy, as it often comes with a large amount of stress and working long hours. However, those who are self-starters often find that working as a wedding planner is the perfect way to occupy both time and the mind, and can end up being a very prosperous career.
Determining the annual salary for a wedding planner is difficult, as it is similar to trying to determine the yearly salary of a contractor. Being a wedding planner is far different than working a job where one clocks in and out every day for a paycheck; in fact, it’s the polar opposite. Since wedding planners typically work for themselves, their yearly salary will be dependent upon a number of factors, such as how motivated they are to make more money, and how well they are able to attract new clients.
Like running any business, being a wedding planner is all about drumming up interest and allowing people to feel comfortable with working with you. In general, however, wedding planners who are established and are able to keep up a consistent amount of business throughout the year make between $50,000 and $80,000 annually. The range is so large because some wedding planners work with high-profile clients who are willing to pay double or triple what a regular client would want to commit to.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Put simply, being a successful wedding planner is something that takes an immense amount of hard work in order to pull off correctly. For one, one must be extremely organized, as planning multiple weddings can be a disaster if organization is not viewed as a priority. In general, wedding planners meet with people who are looking to get married over a few different consultations, during which the couple explains anything and everything they wish to about how they want their wedding to turn out. If the couple decides to work with the wedding planner, his or her job is to make everything happen without allowing for any mishaps. It may sound like a lot to put on one person’s shoulders, and it is, which is why it’s ultimately important to have incredible organizational and motivational skills in this industry.
Wedding planners work with a variety of different professionals when putting together the perfect wedding; rental companies, venues, caterers – the list goes on. As one begins to do more and more repeat work with vendors, relationships and bonds can form, which many people in the industry refer to as “connections.” Without the right connections, being a successful wedding planner is close to impossible.
Training and Education Requirements
In general, wedding planners do not obtain education specific to their field of work. More often than not, learning how to be a wedding planner is something that is either done (worst-case scenario) on the fly, or (best-case scenario) during the course of an apprenticeship with an experienced wedding planner.
Getting an apprenticeship is a great way to break into the field, because not only is it an efficient way to learn the process of planning a wedding, but it can also be a crucial way to gain industry connections, which many wedding planners say they value far more than any type of education. That being said, it is always recommended that one get at least a BA from a four-year institution, no matter what profession they plan to break into. College is a significantly important life experience, and many potential clients want to know that you do in fact hold a degree of some kind before they decide to work with you.
While most wedding planners are not certified in any way, it is indeed possible to attain certification in this field. The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC) is an organization that offers a training and certification program for wedding planners who wish to boost their resume. Many wedding planners believe that clients look more highly upon consultants who are certified than those who are not. This, however, is something that is often debates, as some people feel that being certified is far from being necessary. In general, however, it is recommended that those who wish to excel in their field and rise to the top of their salary bracket do all that is possible to obtain certification.
There are many professional associations that wedding planners can use to build their business and make new connections. These include:
- The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC)
- The Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC)
- The National Association of Wedding Planners (NAWP)
- The American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP)