Wedding Planner: Job Duties, Occupational Outlook, and Education Requirements
Are you passionate about weddings and want to help others plan them? If so, you can become a wedding planner and manage all aspects of weddings and receptions as intended on the day of the big event. Read here to find out how you can become a wedding planner. Schools offering Hospitality Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Would My Job Duties as a Wedding Planner Be?
Wedding planners, often referred to as bridal consultants, create wedding schedules, manage vendor relationships, respond to client needs and manage paperwork. Your job is to ensure that the overall vision of the bride and groom is executed, which could include consulting with clients about the wedding's theme and décor, the ceremony and reception.
As a wedding planner, your role could vary from handling all the details of an event, to creating timelines and offering suggestions, to coordinating the wedding day only. Your client's budget must always be considered, so you should have excellent networking and negotiation skills.
If you choose to specialize in specific area of wedding planning, like destination weddings, ethnic weddings or wedding-day-only coordination, it could help you corner a niche in this competitive market.
What Education and Experience Do I Need?
A high school diploma is generally all that's needed to work as a wedding planner. Experience in the industry is the most important tool for getting jobs and career advancement. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of convention, event and meeting planners (which includes wedding planners) with educational training is increasing due to stiff competition for jobs (www.bls.gov).
Wedding planning continuing education certificates are available at many community and technical colleges. These certificates typically meet for a few hours a week over a period of few weeks or months. You may learn the basics of research, design, wedding customs and etiquette, budgeting and vendor management.
Associate and bachelor degree programs in event planning and management, as well as professional certificate programs, are offered at a number of 4-year colleges and universities. These programs often have wedding planning as a part of the curriculum, in addition to classes in marketing and management, destination planning, food and wine selection, green event planning and entertainment.
Are Any Certifications Available?
National credentialing is generally not available for wedding planning. However, a certification in event management, such as the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) offered by the International Special Events Society, may be helpful for career and pay advancement, as well as giving you a competitive edge. The CSEP certification requires that you have at least three years of professional experience in planning special events (www.ises.com).
What Is the Career Outlook?
According to the BLS, the outlook for careers in event management was projected to increase by 16% during 2008-2018, which was faster than the national average for all professions. Wedding planner salaries vary greatly by region, but according to PayScale.com in May 2011, most starting salaries range between $11,920-$90,000. However, most special event planners earn $20,134-$59,598.
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