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11 Things you can do to gain wedding planning experience

11 Things you can do to gain wedding planning experience
11 Simple things you can do to gain experience as a wedding planner   We’ve all been there before: No experience = no job offerings or potential clients. People want to hire individuals who have certain skills and experience, because they have more trust in said individuals’ services. Even if you have a superb qualification, you will still have to start out at the bottom of the food chain, because the theoretical aspects differ greatly from the practical aspects in a job.   So, we have compiled a short but effective strategy for you to gain experience in many ways, and doing so, you can start working on your portfolio to showcase all of your skills and talents to your clients. And if they’re impressed, they will be more willing to hire you.   So here we go: How to Gain Experience as a Wedding Planner.  

11 Simple Things you can do to gain Experience as a wedding planner


1 | Start Spreading the News

If you are well on your way to make it official that you are now a wedding planner, why not start by telling people? In the wedding industry, word-of-mouth is your best advertising tool, and letting all your friends, family and acquaintances know, might just get you somewhere. Imagine: “Hey, I know a friend, who knows a friend, who is a wedding planner” That’s you!   {If you are really serious about being a planner and gaining experience, then opportunities will come to you. But never try to promote yourself and not take it seriously. It might damage your reputation and throw many curve balls at you when you do eventually try to be a wedding planner...}  

2 | Fake it Until You Make It

These wise words are starting to sound very cliché, but they are so useful and true when it comes to pursuing a career in which you have zero experience. If you start to eat, sleep and breathe wedding planning, then you will become more like one and people will start to notice.   {Why not start collecting interesting articles by other wedding planners or wedding bloggers in the industry? Just Google wedding websites and search through them. You will discover a trove full of wedding jewels worth reading over and over again!}  

3 | Promote Yourself

Networking is so important in business, especially if you’re self-employed or part of a small team or business. Make an effort to really put yourself out there and meet people in the industry. If you don’t know where to start, look to Facebook as a first step. There are so many other people, just like you, who want to survive in the self-employed department and they thought it well to join various groups and pages on Facebook. Take a few hours, and search for the best ones!   {Regretably, fuzzy cat groups and grandma’s recipes pages will not count towards you earning networking experience. Make sure you stay focused and really filter through those Facebook pages and groups. Make yourself known by commenting on other people’s posts, or even on blogs and websites.}

4 | Create Mock Setups

This is one of the most well-known ways to add something to your portfolio. It may not count a lot towards your experience, unless you do an all out styled shoot with some suppliers and professionals.   {Creating a mock setup doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Look around the house for some interesting additions and basics such as dinnerware. Be creative and think outside of the box. Also, make sure to take decent, high quality images for a professional look. Learn some photo editing skills or go to PicMonkey and Canva.com to edit your images for free.}  

5 | Get on the List

Most venues only use certain wedding planners, for quality and professional purposes of course. If you are a well-known planner with loads of experience and good ratings and feedback, chances are, they will put you on a list of planners that they approve of. However, you don’t have experience yet…   {So, if you have the money, you can pay a monthly fee at some venues to put you on their list of recommended planners. It will most likely be very expensive, but it might be worth it in the end.}

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6 | Freelance

If you’re really struggling to find your first few clients and get your first salary, why not offer separate wedding-related skills to some clients? If you’re really good at, let’s say, arranging flowers, then why not promote that skill only? Some people might not be able afford a wedding planner, but they will need someone to do flowers, or the cake, or be a DJ, etc.   {As soon as you are getting enough clients by freelancing, why not expand your services to be able to offer more? Tell your clients that you also have other services and skills to offer, in case they are interested.}  

7 | Help Out

Even if you’re not getting paid, maybe offer to help out at a wedding? This will definitely count towards experience and maybe even a few goodies to add to your portfolio.   {Important note: Always ask the person in charge, the bride, photographer, venue coordinator, etc. for permission to use images and references in your portfolio, on your website, or wherever else you’re going to use things from that wedding.}  

8 | Intern

Another unpaid method, but this may be one of the golden ways of gaining experience as a wedding planner. Search for any wedding related internships, create a kick-ass cover letter and CV/resume, and hope for the best. {Start interning at venues, hotels or lodges, and work your way up from there. Even if you start out small, at least you will have a foot in the door...}

9 | Get a mentor

It is definitely easier said than done, and you really have to find someone who is a perfect fit. But getting a mentor might not be the worst idea if you’re trying to get experience.   {A mentor is someone who is doing the same thing as you, but on a higher level and with more experience. It can be someone who is older than you, or even the same age (peer mentoring).}  

10 | Complete a Course

Courses are expensive, yes, but you can learn so much from it. And, you will more often than not be taught by professionals in the industry who have gained so much experience and are willing to share.   {Why not check out some of the online course platforms? If the area you live in don’t have any physical colleges or schools where there is an applicable course, this may be your best option. Start out by searching on Udemy.com or Teachable. If your funds are low, you can also search on YouTube!}

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11 | Research

We cannot stress this enough. Even well-off wedding planners who have years of experience still need to research to stay ahead of their game. If you research enough, people will also notice that you know what you’re talking about, so there is a good chance that you will get more clients.    

by Tanya Guilfoyle

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tanya has been an active contributor and planner in the wedding industry since 2016. When not writing useful content for brides and wedding professionals, she can be found designing templates for her Etsy shop, TWCprintables