Weddings are a multi-billion dollar industry, and wedding planners help brides and grooms prepare for the big day by organizing vendors, reserving locations and directing the events of the day. The average wedding can cost around $27,000, according to the Association of Bridal Consultants. Before breaking into the wedding industry, be sure to get the training and experience required to be a successful wedding planner.
Only a few schools offer degrees in wedding planning, however, numerous wedding coordinator certification courses are available online, by mail correspondence and in classroom settings. College students studying for a degree and who seek a future in wedding planning may benefit from a business major, as wedding consulting requires good business management skills. Certifications are available through schools, as well as through national wedding planner associations, such as the Association of Professional Wedding Consultants.
When clients choose a wedding planner, they may be more concerned about the coordinator's experience than her education. Wedding planners must keep portfolios and referrals from previously planned weddings for examples of expertise. Novice coordinators can participate in an internship under another, more well-known wedding planner. Though the internship means working for free, those clients can provide the recommendations and referrals needed to start a wedding planning business.
A successful wedding planner's personal characteristics must match her skill set. A wedding coordinator must be a quick thinker, capable of reorganizing an event if there are last minute set backs. She must also have an approachable personality capable of cooperating with the demands of any bride, mother of the bride or complaining wedding guest. It doesn't hurt to have a knack for bargaining either, as the coordinator is responsible for negotiating the best possible prices from wedding vendors.
Regardless of a wedding planner's education and experience, brides and grooms are often concerned with a consultant's professional affiliations. Many coordinators choose to register with national wedding consultant registries. These registries offer lists of certified consultants who willingly submit themselves to a code of ethics, as well as commit to ongoing wedding planning education in industry trends and developments. Admission into a professional association is based on education and referrals, and it may also require and annual membership fee, as well as personal attendance at wedding coordinator workshops or conferences.