It’s the perfect time to think about starting a wedding planning business as life starts to normalize again.
And what’s more normal than people wanting to celebrate life events with their friends and family?
One of the biggest (and most stressful) celebrations is, of course, a wedding.
And I don’t know about you, but I can think of 3 couples off the top of my head who cancelled their wedding plans in the past two years, waiting until they could have the wedding of their dreams, with zero compromises.
So, they’ve had extra time to dream about, plan, and scrutinize every single detail of their wedding plans.
Even though Pinterest Boards, DIY blogs, and reality tv (wedding edition) might make the happy couple believe they can plan their own wedding, chances are they need help from a professional wedding planner.
In fact, according to Brides.com, 66% of people planning their weddings are looking to hire a wedding planner, and with an average of 150,000 weddings in Canada and 2.4 million in the US, at an average budget of $26,000 in Canada and $33,000 in the U.S., you can see how choosing wedding planning as your event planning niche could be incredibly lucrative.
5 Steps To Start a Wedding Planning Business
So, if you’ve been thinking about starting your own wedding planning business, here are 5 steps to help you get started.
Know Your Strengths
First and foremost, you should make sure you have what it takes to be a wedding planner.
On a good day, event planning, in general, can be challenging, and weddings are the next level.
Weddings are one of the most stressful days of a couple’s life, so it makes sense that tensions and emotions run high, and it’s a wedding planner’s job to keep it together (for everyone).
A wedding planner should:
- Be a strong leader
- Be incredibly organized
- Be able to delegate
- Pay attention to every single detail
- Be able to anticipate the unexpected
- Have a plan b, c, and d
- Be able to be empathetic, while remaining professional
- Have a strong network of venues and vendors
- Be reasonable, but the strong negotiator
- Listen to and understand their clients and vendors
- Be able to offer creative ideas and solutions
- Remain calm and collected during stressful situations
Once you have checked all those boxes through self-evaluation, put it to the test by gaining some real-life experience.
2. Hands-on Experience
Gaining real-world experience is invaluable.
And the great thing about gaining experience is that the experience doesn’t have to be directly related to starting your own wedding planning business.
It can simply be wedding planning adjacent, like working in a 5-star restaurant, upscale hotel, or flower shop much like Michelle Rago, of Michelle Rago Destinations, did before founding one of the most successful wedding and event companies in the world.
Not only is this a good idea of how to gain experience, but it’s a great way to be more well-rounded as a wedding planner.
Michelle said those experiences gave her a “more holistic approach of producing with an emphasis on design, food and beverage, and service.”
Of course, there is also the more traditional way to gain hands-on experience, like:
- Volunteering at events
- Helping friends and family
- Interning for a wedding planning company
- Attending as many wedding planning industry events as you can find
One of the best ways to do something is to learn all you can about it first —and from every single angle.
No matter how long you’re in the wedding planning business, you should always make learning one of your top priorities.
3. Never Stop Learning
Whether you are learning from a mentor, taking a course, listening to a podcast, or reading industry magazines & blogs, you should never stop learning.
A great way to learn is to be immersed in the subject, just like you would in a foreign exchange program.
If you want to learn French, the best way to do so is to go to France and live there for a while. It forces you to live and breathe the subject matter.
And you learn what you live!
Learning should become your obsession, especially in an industry that is trend-heavy. It’s important to stay ahead of the curve by learning about upcoming trends early on, and a great way to do that is through events, like trade shows.
4. Attend Events
So, obviously, one great way to learn about weddings is to attend them, or at least all the trade shows, workshops, and conferences you can find.
Attending weddings can be valuable to give you insights into a more realistic version of the dream wedding — because even the most well-laid plans often have bumps in the road, and it’s imperative to learn how to handle those bumps.
Being at an actual wedding as a guest can also give you first-hand insights into how the guests feel, which is incredibly valuable information to have in your back pocket for planning future events.
But if you want to stay ahead of the game, and know what the upcoming trends are, like colour schemes, hot destinations, wedding favours, floral designs, and in-demand catering companies, then trade shows should be on your radar.
Not only can attending events help you learn, but they can also help you network, which will lead to securing vendors, venues, and maybe even clients.
5. Secure Clients
You can’t have your own wedding planning business without clients, but you can’t get clients without a wedding planning business — or can you?
One of the biggest professional challenges everyone faces is the endless cycle of “you can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job.”
But there is a solution to this seemingly endless no-experience loop.
- Highlight transferable experience or other types of events you’ve planned
- Emphasize soft skills, like organization, negotiation and attention to detail
- Build a solid network of venues, vendors, and clients
- Take lower-paid or unpaid opportunities, like an internship, even if it’s not as the main event planner
- Work for friends and family, and ask for references & photos for your portfolio in return for services rendered
Of course, there is also the technical side to starting your own wedding planning business, just like there is for any other business:
- Build a detailed Business Plan
- Define your services and set prices
- Register your business
- Secure legal documents, like your event contracts (so important to protect yourself)
- Understand and manage your finances
- Create and build your brand, starting with a logo
- Secure handles on social media platforms
- Get a URL and build your website
- Source, secure, and nurture a network
Now that you’ve got the first 5 steps to starting your own wedding planning business, which one are you going to take first?
Let me know in the comments below…