Ah, the wedding. They can be one of the most significant events in an individual’s life! Most of us know what it’s like to attend a wedding as a guest, but when it comes to one’s own, the perspective is wildly different. Even people with event planning experience can be overwhelmed.
Cue the wedding planner. It’s a tough job, but also a tremendously rewarding one. Getting certified is a fantastic way to get a leg up on the competition and ensure that you’ve been exposed to the many facets of this dynamic job. It is important to find the right certification program for you. This guide focuses on what skill training and courses you can expect to encounter along the way.
Landing a wedding planning job
There are two common paths to becoming a successful wedding planner. Either you run your own business or work as part of someone else’s. Both are valid, and both require specific personal traits as well as professional skills.
Many employers do require a certificate, but you don’t technically need one to start your own business. However, there is a ton of value in making the investment. We discuss this further below.
A wedding planner’s personal traits
- Empathy: Understanding how other people feel and being able to feel it yourself. This is arguably the number one trait you must cultivate to succeed as a wedding planner. Your betrothed clients may be in high emotional states, there are family and friends whizzing around, suppliers and venue coordinators… all human beings who could be having a terrible day. You need to be able to pick up on this, manage the bad, channel the good.
- Cool head under pressure. It’s going to get crazy. Thousands of moving pieces, inevitable setbacks, panicking clients. This is a trait that’s tough to teach: practice and a steadfast mindset are the keys to improvement.
Professional skills: the wedding planner certificate
The value of a certification is its signal. It tells potential clients and employers that you’ve run the gamut on the wide variety of elements that make a wonderful wedding possible. But do not forget the signal it gives to you. Your wedding planning certificate should always be a reminder of the foundational education that marked the evolution of your journey into the profession!
No two programs are exactly the same, but we’ve attempted to organize the bulk of what you’ll learn into three overarching categories.
1. Project management mastery
This is the guts of it all, the “thousand moving pieces” aspect of the job. Orchestrating the timing and cost of catering, supplies, communication, music, photography, guests and more requires outstanding organization and negotiation tactics.
Your courses should:
- Show you how to architect the whole production.
- Arm you with the tools you’ll need. In today’s day and age, you better believe a lot of them will be digital!
- Prepare you for what each standard stakeholder (e.g. catering) expects and needs.
- Train you in budgeting, contracting and negotiation tactics.
- Expose you to range of potential roadblocks and how to deal with them.
2. Business acumen
Even if you’re not planning on being self-employed, every good wedding planner needs to understand the fundamentals of the business itself. This is more of the “behind the scenes” part of the job: what you’re doing when not actively bringing a wedding together.
Your courses should:
- Familiarize you with event laws and regulations, and how to identify which apply at State or Municipal levels.
- Develop your sales and presentation skills–critical for generating new business.
- Give you a foundational understanding of event marketing, which includes leveraging public relations and social media.
- Help you set up a legal business (if this is what you’re aiming for) and introduce business structure basics.
- Get you started on developing a professional portfolio.
3. Design & culture
Last but not least is the art of the craft. Your clients will undoubtedly have some kind of vision for their special day, and it will be your job to help them realize it. This may be building up a visual moodboard from the ground up, or sticking the landing on a wacky theme. Either way, it’ll be important for you to have an eye for design and a strong knowledge of cultural norms.
Your courses should:
- Cover various types of etiquette and styles.
- Provide an overview of common cultural wedding expectations.
- Offer optional modules in classic wedding design elements, such as floral arrangement or bridal fashion.
Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute
We built our suite of core courses on these three elements, and also offer expansions into areas like fashion show production and corporate event planning as well. When choosing your program, it’s a good idea to scout the courses in detail. If you’re interested in our catalog, you can access a preview here.
To recap: good wedding planners need to have high levels of empathy and know how to act under pressure. This often improves with experience. They also need to be on the top of their game when it comes to project management, business operations (e.g. marketing, sales, legalities) and design.
A quality certification program provides the tools you need to learn and improve upon these skills.
We wish you the best of luck on this journey!