Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Whether they are called wedding planners, wedding coordinators, wedding consultants or bridal consultants, the role of the wedding professional is a big part of the wedding day and a big part of the bridal couple’s lives during the wedding planning process. It can be a very rewarding and fun job. It can also be frustrating and stressful!
If you love weddings and have a knack for organization, planning and budgeting, this might be the small business for you.
Here are some of the details of this business:
What you’ll do: Wedding planners assist the couple in setting the budget, making the schedule, securing vendors, selecting themes, choosing music, flowers, favors, decorations, invitations, --in short, everything involved in the wedding!
In addition to planning, you’ll help with orders, contracts, negotiations and making everything is all set for a beautiful wedding.
You’ll attend the wedding, making sure everyone gets to where they need to be, looks great and has a great time.
What you need to know: You will need to know wedding etiquette. You’ll need reference information on “rules” for addressing invitations, whom to invite, different kinds of ceremonies, locations and vendors in your area. You will need good working relationships with vendors. You will need to know whose work is good and whose work is not.
You also need skills in dealing with people under stress. Brides are notorious for being “difficult” for a reason. If you “take things personally” or have “thin skin”, this might not be the business for you. You need to remain professional at all times.
How to Get Started: You need to learn about the business first. Talk to some wedding planners in your area about what they do. You might be able to “tag along” with them to get an inside look at the real work. Attend weddings! Research wedding sites online to learn timelines, etiquette, questions brides are asking.
One of the best ways to get started in this type of business “on your own” without having worked in the industry is to plan a few weddings for a much reduced fee, or even free. You need references and experience before you’ll get many paying clients.
Alternately, you can apprentice with another wedding planner to get experience.
How You’ll Make Money: You will charge a fee to the bride and groom. There are different ways to charge: by the hour, as a percentage or the budget, or a flat overall fee.
By the hour—you set an hourly rate, keep track of your hours and bill them the total. Usually, you will get a “retainer” to begin, usually based on an estimate of the total hours you’ll work.
As a percentage of the budget—If the total wedding is going to be $15,000, you’d charge anywhere from 10—20%, making your fee anywhere from $1500 to $3000.
As a flat fee—Probably the easiest to sell, the flat fee is just that. You charge the same amount regardless of budget or hours. For example, if your fee is $1,000, then that’s what you’re paid.
*note: Professional wedding planners tend to frown on those who accept commissions from vendors for bringing them wedding business. The belief is that if you accept commissions, you will steer your clients to paying vendors, who may or may not be the best vendors for the bride and groom.
Essential Start-up Basics" Once you have armed yourself with the knowledge and resources you need and are ready to start your wedding planner business, here’s what you’ll need:
--Flyers or brochures for trade shows, vendors, brides describing your services.
--Contracts and fee information so you can sign up business!
And, some additional things that will come in handy:
--Recommendation letters and references
--Scrapbook of wedding ideas (it helps if they are weddings you’ve worked on)
--Vendor lists—a big, fat business card collection!
--Planning guides—either your own or one you’ve purchased
--Calendar and a very reliable organizational system.
Additional wedding planner resources:
Click Here to Discover How to Become a Wedding Planner
Start Your Own Wedding Consultant Business