A wedding planner coordinates all aspects of the big day for a bride and groom. This can involve anything from helping select a dress and developing a theme to securing an appropriate venue and helping plan a catering menu. While many aspects of a wedding planner job are glamorous, it is also a position that requires a good deal of self-confidence, organization and patience, and energy and creativity.
As a wedding planner, the first few months in the business will challenge your ideas of what a wedding planner is. Check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners in Melbourne to help you organise a stress-free wedding.
The daily stresses and personalities that will come with the career will be almost too much to handle at first. Many people see the wedding planning career as romantic and filled with extravagant parties, unlimited budgets, and clients who nod to your every word. This is often the exception, not the norm.
We’ve all seen reality TV shows where a bride-to-be will be looking for the perfect gown to get married in. Or perhaps you’ve seen the reality show where the groom does all the planning, and everything looks like it will be doomed thanks to his not-so-creative wedding flair. What if you were to be the person behind a wedding, making sure everything goes to plan?
Being a wedding planner can be an exciting and rewarding job for many people, but there are a few things you may want to consider if you think it’s your next career choice.
Table of Contents
- 1 Wedding Planner Job Description
- 2 What Does the Job Entail?
- 2.1 Required Skills
- 2.2 Passion and Commitment
- 2.3 Honesty and Integrity
- 2.4 Thinking on Your Feet
- 2.5 Listening and Understanding
- 2.6 Culturally Diverse Understanding
- 2.7 A Goal Setting and Achieving Ability
- 2.8 A Visionary Outlook
- 2.9 Enthusiasm for Emotional Events
- 2.10 Flexibility
- 2.11 Diligence With the Details
- 2.12 Willingness to Do it Yourself
- 3 Will Being a Wedding Planner Suit Me?
- 4 Wedding Planner Pros
- 5 Wedding Planner Cons
- 6 Final Thoughts
Wedding Planner Job Description
A wedding planner might work for a wedding or event planning company or as an independent contractor. Wedding planners are hired for jobs both big and small, which requires the flexibility to work with various-sized budgets. Responsibilities of a wedding planner include helping a bride and groom decide the critical details of their wedding, including location, colours and theme, flowers, clothing, wedding party details, catering and entertainment.
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, a wedding planner also handles details like coordinating different parties, such as the officiating clergy, limousine driver, florist shop, and bakery. In short, a wedding planner addresses all elements of a wedding, so the bride and groom can enjoy the day worry-free.
What Does the Job Entail?
There are quite a few different things you will be required to attend to and look after as a wedding planner. Some of these things include:
- Discussing with couples what they hope to achieve with their wedding day
- Discussing the couple’s wedding budget
- Advising on wedding traditions and customs
- Preparing quotes for your work
- Agreeing on pricing and quotes with suppliers such as florists, photographers, caterers and venues
- Updating the couple with the progress of your planning
- Keeping records of costs to ensure you stay within budget
- Being at the event to ensure everything organized is running to schedule
- Looking after paperwork and scheduling of new clients and appointments
- Updating your business via social media and your website
- Working on more than one project at a time
A wedding planner must be personable and able to communicate and get along well with numerous personality types. You will be charged with keeping the wedding party calm and focused during both wedding pre-planning and preparation, as well as during the event itself. As a planner, you must develop good working relationships with other professionals in the wedding planning industry and be comfortable with a somewhat high-pressure atmosphere.
A background or education in interpersonal communication, event planning, business management or a related field can help you prepare for a career in this industry. Job shadowing or interning with an established wedding planner can also provide great insight into how the industry operates.
Passion and Commitment
One of the most significant differences between a standard job and a career as a wedding planner is the time commitment. If you want to thrive as a planner (both financially and professionally), you have to make yourself available before and after the typical 9-5 workday. Some clients will call you at 9 PM and expect an immediate answer to their burning questions, and if you are new to the business and trying to earn a good reputation, you will need to take that phone call with a smile. And before you say to yourself, “No, not me; I’ll set boundaries from the start,” remember that frantic brides won’t always respect those boundaries, and an unresponsive wedding planner can turn into a very disappointed client, whether it was your fault or not.
My best advice is this: if you have a passion for being a wedding planner, learn to love the calls and the unscheduled consultations. If you are not passionate and learn to roll with the punches, the punches will eventually knock you out, and you’ll begin to look for new employment.
Honesty and Integrity
As a wedding planner, most of your day consists of interacting with clients, the clients’ family and friends, and vendors. Given that you’re interacting with dozens of people for the same event, you may answer the same question ten different times one day. Or you may be asked the dreaded “Does this dress make me look fat?” You have to be able to answer those questions in a way that is honest and appropriate to the person you’re speaking to. Blurting out, “Yes, that dress does make your hips look a bit wide”, is not what any client wants to hear, especially from someone they have hired. Instead, you can try, “I do like that dress, but I think this dress may match your personality more and fit better with your body type.”
Inevitably, some vendors will want to pay you a commission for promoting their services above others. In these situations, remember that you are working for your client, so you must ensure that the vendor you are recommending lines up with your client’s needs and fits within their budget. You must be willing to put your client’s needs above your own, even if that means making a little less commission on the side. In this business, reputation is everything, and it’s certainly not worth risking your image over a few extra dollars.
Thinking on Your Feet
Through years as a wedding planner, you’ll receive phone calls at 6 AM on the morning of a wedding from a vendor stating they cannot fulfil their contractual obligations. Most people would panic at this point (especially your bride if she found out!), but as a wedding planner, your job is to remain calm and immediately begin problem-solving. Whatever you do, don’t tell the bride unless you need to. They hired you to handle any situation that arises, not redirecting all incoming problems back at them.
Building relationships with other vendors is imperative to build a successful referral network and have critical resources that you can call upon at a moment’s notice. Your job above all is to ensure that the client enjoys their wedding day without a hitch, and whenever possible, occluding any problems that arise until after all the festivities are over.
Listening and Understanding
Active listening is one of the essential abilities a wedding planner can have. This is the ability to prompt the people you are talking to for information, participate in a conversation, and find out what they are genuinely trying to communicate.
Sensitivity is key when being a wedding planner. You have to be sensitive to the needs of multiple people involved in the planning of one event. Emotions run high, tempers flare, tears flow and usually, the wedding planner is the one caught in the middle. You must have a calm personality and be a source of comfort for others in high-stress situations. Sometimes you may have a bride and mother who disagree, split family situations, even vendors who do not follow through with their contractual obligation. There will be times that you want to walk out or “tell it like it is,” but your top priority is to extinguish fires, not fuel them. It is not your place to point fingers or place blame, but to be calm during a storm and create an enjoyable experience for everyone involved in the event.
Culturally Diverse Understanding
You should be culturally aware of the potential clients you could come into contact with. You could specialize in certain cultures or clientele, but to be successful, a planner should be able to organize a wedding across a broad spectrum of cultures. Not only would this create an ability to work for anyone, but it would also be tons of fun to see and be involved in the plethora of different cultural wedding experiences.
Suppose you’d like to build your clientele and study weddings across various cultures in your area. If you know more about these cultures and their wedding traditions, you will be able to create a wide assortment of successful and fun weddings.
A Goal Setting and Achieving Ability
You can’t be a wedding planner and not be able to plan. The ability to plan and execute is paramount to a successful wedding and a lasting career. The keys to planning a wedding are nailing down your clients’ needs, establishing a timeframe, and coordinating events and supplies.
Set goals with your clients, and create a timeframe for events. You could break down each event into phases, and as each step is completed, you move to the next one. Each stage should have specific events (goals) to be completed. For example, you may want to set a goal of solidifying the venue location before ordering decorations. As you progress through each phase, sit down with your clients and make sure that they are happy with the progress you have made.
A Visionary Outlook
This is where wedding planners shine. After communicating with your clients, you should begin to develop a vision in your head, seeing the wedding unfold the way the bride does. Use your creative abilities to build the scenario and confer with your clients to ensure it’s what they want. You could try communicating your vision to your clients through sketches, computer graphics, or photos and videos of other weddings you have planned.
Enthusiasm for Emotional Events
If you are not genuinely passionate about every part of wedding planning, clients will detect it. Weddings are about passion, and fun planners know how to harness the power and create an environment around it. Use your enthusiasm to design events that will bring out the emotions of all of those in attendance. As strange as it may sound, this is one of the few careers where you are trying to make people cry. If you can make people cry with the ambience, theme, music, and feeling in the event, you will have had a successful endeavour.
You should love to be involved in weddings and love to be part of your client’s lives—because you will be. Your clients will remember you forever as a particular person who cared about their day as much as they did and made it memorable. Need help planning your wedding? Check out our list of Wedding Event Planners here.
Even the most carefully laid plans may go awry on the wedding day, whether it be a delay in the catering, a stain on the bride’s dress, or an AWOL groomsman.
Planners can solve the problem without panicking and often turn it into the best part of the event. Having back up plans for each phase of the wedding can help keep everyone and everything on track.
Diligence With the Details
“Attention to detail” is a buzz-phrase, but it remains a cornerstone of professional wedding planning. Clients are paying for trained eyes and ears, and planners need to spot problems before they happen.
Managing a large group of wedding guests and vendors, maintaining a timeline, and making sure that everyone and everything looks great at all times is no easy task and would be impossible for someone who wasn’t naturally vigilant about even the most minor details.
Willingness to Do it Yourself
Movies with weddings always depict an impeccably dressed wedding planner flitting about with their clipboard while other vendors scurry to meet their demands. In reality, the job is much more hands-on than that.
Professional wedding planners spend their time doing everything from folding programs to assembling favours, hauling boxes, or pinning table skirts. They are on their knees helping to bustle a bride’s dress, rushing discarded napkins and dirty glasses away from a food display, so they don’t ruin the photos, and, at times, practically sprinting from one end of a venue to the other—smiling the entire time.
Will Being a Wedding Planner Suit Me?
Some people seem like they were almost born to be wedding planners. Some people may have a passion for weddings, and it’s an excellent fit for their career. What kinds of skills and traits should you have if thinking about being a wedding planner?
You’re a Planner
You’re not much for spontaneity and like to ensure everything is set in stone and planned accordingly. You may be highly organized and want to be the leader within your group of friends for providing that everyone knows when your outing is, what time you’ll be meeting up and exactly where. You’re efficient, and some may feel like you take things too far when organizing events. But, this kind of trait is perfect for wedding planning. If you love planning out events and like to know that you are on top of everything, wedding planning may be the job for you.
You Are Committed
Weddings can sometimes bring out the worst in people. We’ve all heard of nightmare stories of “Bridezilla’s” where almost everything wasn’t right or to the bride’s standard. This is where it is essential to be committed. Just like the groom, you’re going to see it through to the wedding day and ensure everything goes to plan. Even if your client is almost unbearable to work with, you need to ensure that you are committed to the couple, and you’ll be there right through to the end.
You Love Weddings
It would help if you were pretty passionate about weddings. From the clothing, the dress, the suits and the flowers to the food, the music and the venues, you need to be passionate about it all. You love reading and finding out more about wedding trends and what couples are looking for on their big day. If you love everything about weddings, this could be what you need to do.
You’re a Great Negotiator
Even if you’re in a store with set prices, you’re likely to be that person still trying to squeeze a deal out of the salesperson. Whether it be a free couple of pillows with your bed purchase, free window tinting with a car purchase or a discounted price on some clothing, you’re usually the person asking for a bit of a sweeter deal. If you love negotiating, you may find that being a wedding planner is a great fit. You’ll be able to negotiate with clients and suppliers for all of the best prices to remain competitive and stay within budget.
You’re an Orchestrator of Chaos
Wedding planners are conductors, people that bring an unorganized group of instruments together to create something extraordinary. Their organizational skills allow them to deal with a tremendous amount of paperwork, client appointments, vendor issues, transportation problems, or any other issues inherent in wedding planning and coordination.
Wedding Planner Pros
A wedding planner can charge a flat fee for services or tack a percentage on the vital wedding expenditures. For example, a USD10,000 wedding with a 10 per cent fee would earn the planner USD1,000. In this sense, the larger and more elaborate a wedding, the higher the potential for earnings.
Benefits of a wedding planner career include having the opportunity to travel to exotic locations for destination weddings and sampling a wide range of gourmet foods – the cost of which is covered as part of her operating expenses. If you enjoy planning parties and special events and don’t find the details to be troublesome but rather exciting, fun and challenging, this could be a good line of work for you.
Wedding Planner Cons
A wedding planner must often deal with a bride and groom’s extended friends and family. This can sometimes be a contentious group of individuals, with two families having competing views of what a wedding should be like. A wedding planner often runs interference on behalf of the bridal couple to ensure their wishes are being met during the planning process.
Additionally, weddings can be emotional, high-stress and expensive affairs. A bridesmaid who forgets her dress, flower bouquets that don’t come out as expected or a wedding cake that falls apart in the back of the bakery delivery van are all potential landmines that can disrupt a wedding. Everyone involved will look to you for quick thinking and action to handle problems when they arise. Weddings are generally held on the weekend; wedding planning is not a typical 9-to-5 work life that allows you to have evenings and weekends free.
The ability to stay on schedule, prioritize tasks and goals, keep records of transactions, ensure all supplies and people are present and accounted for while guiding them through the different phases of the wedding plan and event can be trying. Looking for a Wedding Event Planner? Look no further, Vines of the Yarra Valley have you covered.
The last characteristic of a fun and successful wedding planner is patience. With patience, it will all work out. With patience, all the work and emotions that have gone into the wedding planner will pay off, as you see the focus of your work whisked away at the end of the event to begin their life together.