So You Wanna Be a Wedding Planner?

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For those of you who follow this blog, then you already know about the pitfalls to hiring an inexperienced wedding planner.  But for this post, I would like to actually address those who are looking at a potential career in the Wedding Planning field.

Lately there appears to be a huge influx in the number of “wedding planners” in Edmonton (could this be because of the recent launch of “Four Weddings Canada“? I’m going to go with that! ;) ). I receive numerous emails a week from would-be planners who are either looking for advice on how to enter this field, or from people who are looking for me to hire them as an assistant.

Since I don’t like to ignore emails, please take this blog post for what it is: My Advice for Those Wanting to Become Wedding Planners.

1) Get a “Weducation”!

Whatever you do, please, please, PUH-LEASE do this! Professional wedding planners do this for a living. It is a business and we take it very seriously. Having been a bridesmaid in your cousin’s wedding and being an avid watcher of the Slice network does not mean that you have what it takes to be a wedding planner. If you are really serious about a career in wedding planning, please take a course and get certified!

2) Pay Your Dues:

lady hard at work

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I am not referring to your association or membership fees (although you’ll want to make sure that you pay those!). What I mean is: put in your time! Like any newbie starting out in their respective field, be prepared to work your way up. You can’t just expect to book clients as soon as you get your certificate in the mail. You need to pound the pavement and put some hard work into it. Network with others in your industry. Familiarize yourself with local vendors and their products. Research trends, statistics and demographical information for your business area. This is one of the more exhausting parts of getting your business up and running, but it is a very vital part.

3) Humiliate Yourself:

There isn’t enough room on this blog for both you AND your ego, so check that attitude at the door! Humility is a good quality to have – you can still come across as confident and capable without trash-talking those who have been in the industry longer than you. This desperate attempt to build yourself up is exactly that – desperate! In trying to make other people look bad, you just end up ruining your own reputation, that of your company, and you will also lose the respect of your colleagues.

4) Honesty is the Best Policy:

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I hate to bring up this point, but it clearly needs to be addressed. When starting out your business don’t book meetings with other planners by pretending to be a prospective client! Not only is it dishonest and totally sketchy, but it’s a waste of time and money for the planner. This is time that is being taken away from my paying clients, or family, friends…and my cat! (If you could see Delilah‘s sad kitty face when her Mum’s not home, believe me, you would feel guilty!)  If you want to know information about how to price your services, or have general business questions, just ask! Better to be upfront and honest about it than for us to do a background check on you, only to find out that you created a fake email account a week ago and have a Kijiji ad out promoting your services as a planner!

5) Take the High Road:

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Once you start to build your business and begin to get people following your work, it’s a wonderful feeling! However, that success and recognition will also bring out…THE HATERS! These are people who will talk bad about you to vendors, other planners and even clients (and they are people who CLEARLY didn’t follow Step 3!). The sad fact is that this happens to everyone in every line of work once they are acknowledged for something or are recognized for their skills and talent. The wedding industry, largely, is a female-dominated world…and you know how catty some women can get. Therefore, gossip and slander is everywhere. In order to maintain your reputation as a professional, it is very important to resist the temptation to engage in such behaviour. You never know just how small the wedding industry is in your area until some juicy tidbit of information travels down the grapevine. (Just make sure that you didn’t start it, and that you didn’t pass it on!)

 

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All in all, wedding and event planning is a very rewarding and fulfilling career; but it should not be entered into lightly. Reality shows have really thrust what we do into the spotlight and have sensationalized it to some degree. The actual reality is that most of our time is spent in front of the computer – responding to emails, researching vendors and products, balancing budgets and creating timelines. Part of being a Wedding Planner means that you are dealing with a very stressful and emotional time in people’s lives, and there is no do-over. Expectations and tensions can be high, and you are in the thick of it all.

Wedding planning is a fun, rewarding, stressful and exciting career.  It takes strong organization, confidence, creativity, business sense and a lot of hard work to become successful at it.

If after all this, you still think that you want to become a wedding planner, then I wish you all the very best! Maybe I’ll see you at an industry mixer someday! ;)

How I Became a Wedding Planner

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I thought it may be neat to share the story of how I became a Wedding Planner.

It all started with my own wedding, which I immediately started planning as soon as my husband popped the question!

I always had a LOVE for weddings! When I was little, I would take the tablecloth off of our coffee table and grab the fake flowers out of one of my mom’s vases and play “Bride” all day long! Then as I got older, I used to buy Bridal magazines and cut out ideas and pictures that I loved and stuck them all in a scrapbook. So I had a few volumes of “wedding ideas” already at my fingertips when it actually came around to planning my own special day! :)

For the most part, I knew what I wanted and who I wanted when it came to my wedding. I already knew that I wanted cupcakes instead of a wedding cake. I knew who my DJ and hair and make-up stylist was going to be. I knew what theme I wanted to incorporate and which vendors in my area could help me realize that vision.  I think I had about 70% of my whole wedding planned (in my head) about 24 hours after I said “yes”.

But, this is certainly not an example of a “typical” wedding planning process!! Now that I think about it, it was as if I had been planning for my future wedding (and career!) years ago without even realizing it! So when I walked through the doors of my first WPIC certification course, a feeling came over me – I was where I was meant to be. It was such a wonderful epiphany and I embraced it without question!

I know, I know…kinda cheesy, right? But it’s all true! I swear!

It’s only fitting that I should leave this blog post with a couple of photos from my own wedding. So here you go:

Tiffany Blue Wedding

Tiffany Blue Wedding - Edmonton Wedding Coordinator

Tiffany Blue Wedding Cupcakes

Photos by Sarah Mavro Photography