How to Be Successful as a Wedding Planner

For a lot of people, being a wedding planner is the dream: you get an unconventional schedule, can run your own business, and get to help people plan and carry out what can be the most exciting day of their lives to date. After all, who doesn’t want to make a living celebrating love and happiness?

However, there are many less-than-exciting aspects of being a wedding planner that many people don’t consider. From 3 AM phone calls from panicked brides to herding inebriated family members on the big day, it takes a lot of flexibility, organization, and other characteristics to be an effective wedding planner. Here are a few ways to make sure your wedding planning business is successful.

Get Valuable Experience

Note that valuable experience doesn’t mean any experience; there are certain skills you must gain when building your profession to help you rise to the top in this highly-competitive industry.

This doesn’t mean that you need to be an assistant to a wedding planner in order to be successful building your own practice – although that is one excellent way to gain the experience you need. Many effective wedding planners worked as hotel event coordinators, florists, caterers, photographers, travel agents, and fashion designers before starting their wedding planning businesses. Experience in these fields not only gains you mastery in some integral aspects of contemporary weddings but also helps you form connections with vendors you’ll need later on as you build your business.

Unfortunately, many aspiring wedding planners rely just on schooling – whether through a college major in event planning or an online wedding planning certification – to prepare themselves to start a business. Although reading and learning about the field is certainly helpful, nothing replaces the expertise you gain through hands-on work in the industry.

Build the Right Characteristics

Anyone with the right amount of smarts, organization, and dedication can become successful in the wedding planning industry. However, there are certain intrinsic characteristics you’ll need to have an especially fruitful experience if you don’t come by these characteristics naturally.

For instance, sensitivity, empathy, and calmness are key traits in almost all effective wedding planners. Emotions run higher in the wedding industry than in practically any other event industry, as weddings often involve multiple people trying to plan out one event and tempers can flare. This means that to be successful, you’ll need to manage a crying bride on one arm and an angry mother-in-law on the other, all while a vendor is calling you to say that the cake won’t be ready on time. If you maintain a calm demeanor and can be a source of comfort for people in high-stress situations, you can create an enjoyable experience for everyone involved and word will spread about your effectiveness.

Think Outside of the Box

The best wedding planners are extremely even-keeled and come up with innovative solutions in the most trying situations. Even the most planned-out and organized weddings will have hiccups, and you need to manage these issues with minimal stress on the bridal party.

Essentially, almost anything can go wrong on the big day, and it’s your job to be the knight in shining armor by getting creative. Sometimes a vendor will let you know the morning of a wedding that they can’t fulfill their obligation, or the bride’s dress doesn’t fit, or an uninvited guest is causing a ruckus at the reception. Instead of panicking or letting the bridal party handle it, a successful wedding planner quickly finds a replacement vendor (or tasks someone with running to the store), devises a beautiful cover-up for a too-tight outfit, and whisks away disruptive wedding crashers with minimal theatrics.

In other words, you need to think on your feet and always have a backup plan to manage last-minute issues and maintain your good reputation.

Get a Portfolio

Finally, you must build up your professional portfolio and references to succeed as a wedding planner. Start out by planning friends’ and family weddings for free, and put together a portfolio to showcase your talents to potential clients.

When you’re working on a friend’s or family member’s wedding, treat it as a paid gig. If you act professionally and put on a beautiful wedding, you can then ask that loved one to be a reference for you. This way, they will start spreading the word about your business – word of mouth is one of the best ways to market yourself in this industry – and you can start gaining new, paid clients.

You can also use photos from these early weddings you do for free to put together your portfolio. Find a nice photo album and take aesthetically pleasing pictures of your work – from decorations to people boogying on the dance floor. You can add a narrative of your background in weddings to put at the front to convince potential customers that you’re the best person for the job.

As tough a career as it may be, being a wedding planner is extremely rewarding for the right type of person. By paying attention to certain necessary aspects of building up a successful business, you can be on your way to nuptial bliss as a professional.

In what other ways can a wedding planner be especially effective?


Jason Friedman has 13+ years of safety professional and also in that time managed five figure monthly PPC account and SEO for safety consulting firm. His knowledge comes from real world hands on results.

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