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Most of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss. But we’re faced with issues such as startup costs and inventory, or building up a successful team. However, when starting a wedding planning business from home, it’s a little different: you don’t need those things to get your business up and running.
In this post, we look at what it means to be a wedding planner, the pros and cons, and how you can become a wedding planner from home.
10 Steps to become a wedding planner from home
- Research and planning
When starting a new business, it is very important that you research the industry, before you enter it. This way, you can determine what you need in order to get started, such as logistics and startup costs.
Also, a lot of planning goes into starting any new kind of venture. This is a good way to plan out what services you plan to offer, who your ideal client is, etc. and work towards achieving that. It’s also a good starting point to look at business plans and work on your own draft version (you can always change and update it as you go along).
On a side note, be sure to research the latest wedding trends, too. And this is something you need to do on a regular basis.
- Check out the competition
If you want to ‘make it’ in this very competitive industry, you need to have a look at what other wedding planners are doing. Social media is great for this, as most wedding planners have a Facebook Page, Instagram Account or LinkedIn profile.
Have a look at bigger companies, as well as the smaller ones, to get an idea of how they run their business, what they post on social media, etc. This will help you to get an idea on how to get your name out there.
- Get formal training or do an online course
You don’t need a qualification to become a wedding planner from home. However, it helps a great deal, especially if you have no idea where to start and how to build a business. Doing a formal course at a wedding planning academy will also teach you a few tips and trick of the industry, and will teach you things like working with difficult clients, managing a busy calendar, building relationships with suppliers, etc.
There are also wonderful online courses which will help you to get started as a wedding planner from home.
However, if you’re just starting out and don’t want to invest in any courses yet, check out YouTube and Pinterest for some helpful pins, videos and tutorials.
- Start building your portfolio
Building a portfolio before you have planned any weddings is a way to develop and show off your skills. You can start with doing some mock-setups at home, where you decorate a table with place settings and stationery.
Speaking of stationery, if you’re good with art and crafts, or you have a keen eye for design, you can create some wonderful wedding stationery sets to showcase in your portfolio.
- Find ways to gain wedding planning experience
It is essential to gain some wedding planning experience in order to develop yourself as a great planner. And there are plenty of ways to do it – we have created a list of 11 things you can do to gain wedding planning experience, here.
- Determine your niche, or target market
The wedding industry is competitive, like we’ve already mentioned, so you need to find a way to get your fair share of clients. You definitely don’t want to be just another wedding planner from (insert your area). Find the kind of client you want to serve.
For instance, will you focus on brides with small budgets, or couples who want to have a destination wedding, or even LGBTQ couples?
- Plan out your services and add-ons
Once you’ve established what niche you want to focus on, you can do some more research on what prices to charge, what packages to offer, and which additional services (add-ons) your market will be interested in.
There are so many add-ons to offer, which you can charge for separately, and on top of your wedding planning fee. This can be anything from budget handling to RSVP guest list management, and even stationery design.
- Determine how you will promote yourself
There are many free, as well as paid ways you can promote your new wedding planning services to potential clients. You can make use of social media such as Facebook and Instagram, and in addition (if you have the budget for it) you can do some promoted posts and ads.
Do proper research before resorting to print media, such as flyers and posters, as they can be unsuccessful and a waste of money in most cases.
- Develop your business branding and voice
Once you’ve chosen your niche and how you want to reach out to them, it’s time to think about your branding look and feel, and develop your brand voice.
There are so many helpful resources when it comes to business branding ideas – just look on Pinterest for inspiration, as a starting point.
- Stay consistent in booking new clients
Many new businesses fail because of the lack of commitment. It takes a lot of effort to keep all of the balls in the air, at least for the first few years, or until you have an effective team and system in place.
So it’s important to stay consistent in all your business aspects, from marketing and promoting, to skill development and business growth. Keep scoping for new potential clients and network with other suppliers and planners in the industry. Get your name out there and focus on building your brand.
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The pros and cons of being a wedding planner from home
As with most careers, there are many pros and cons of being a wedding planner. And it’s important to look at these before you make the drastic career change, or decide to start your own wedding planning business from home.
The disadvantages of being a wedding planner:
- Getting clients to pay
People always look for a bargain, and weddings are become more and more expensive to plan. So you can bet on those who are going to ask for discount or have difficulty making payments.
That’s why it’s so important to have a contract in place which clients should sign, before you conduct any services.
- Long hours on your feet
A wedding is the type of event that lasts the entire day. And from the day before the wedding (in preparation for the event) until the morning after, you will run around and be on your feet most of the time.
- Distant traveling
Most wedding planners have a problem here, especially if they have a family or a spouse waiting for them back home.
- Difficult clients
As with nearly all businesses, you will get those clients who are harder to please, no matter what you do and how far out of your way you are willing to go.
- Murphy’s Law
There will always be something that will go wrong at a wedding, no matter how big or small. It’s best to be prepared with an emergency kit, and also, read this post (even though it is for brides, you will find some useful tips).
- Seasonal business
Weddings are seasonal. So you will need to find something to keep your cash flow rolling in during the “off-peak months”. A good side line is to do other types of events, too.
- Being expected to perform miracles
Clients will lean on you to make the impossible happen, because in their minds “that is what they pay you for”. So if they want to rearrange the seating plan on the morning of the wedding, you will need to make it happen.
- Fierce competition
Even though there is a huge market for wedding planners, it is quite competitive and you might face challenges to get ahead in the game.
- It’s not your wedding
You might have beautiful ideas for this and gorgeous ideas for that, but it is the client’s wedding, not yours. So even if they have a dull ideas they insist on including in their wedding, you need to find a way to make it happen. A happy client will likely recommend you to others.
- Dealing with others’ emotions
Weddings are emotional events, there will most likely be drama, but plenty of tears of joy. And people will expect you to listen to their issues and comfort their emotions.
- It won’t make you super rich
Unless you’re a high end celebrity wedding planner, you won’t make a ton of cash or become a millionaire with wedding planning. But it can be a profitable venture if you can manage to get fully booked and manage your business effectively.
The advantages of being a wedding planner:
- The market is huge
There are plenty of opportunities for wedding planners in the industry.
- You’re part of someone’s happiness
Being partially responsible for someone’s happy day is rewarding and you won’t find this reward in a lot of other businesses.
- Many business tools and resources
In this tech age that we’re living in, there are so many apps and resources to help you plan a wedding.
- You get to meet people by networking
You get to network with other industry professionals, and build valuable supplier relations. This can help your business in the long run.
- You can be a day coordinator
You don’t have to be a full-time wedding planner. A day coordinator is someone who is present on the day of the wedding, to help pull all of the strings together. You won’t get the same amount of money as a full wedding planner, but there are plenty of advantages to this type of service.
- You can provide additional services (add-ons)
Many wedding planners make use of add-on services for that extra bit of income. A few popular ones are: wedding budget handling, RSVP guest management, venue scouting and supplier sourcing. These can all be charged for in addition to your wedding planner packages.
- Part-time and full-time options
You can be a full-time wedding planner – which means it will be your only, active income, or your daily 9-5 as we put it. A part-time wedding planner have more flexibility, but will likely have to work many evenings.
Most people choose to become part-time wedding planners at first, in addition to their day job, before transitioning to an established full-time wedding planner.
- Determine the pricing of your services
You can decide your own salary, and determine your own pricing for clients. Start with competitive pricing to build your business up, then slowly increase your prices as the years go by.
- You can fire clients
When a client proves to be to difficult or you struggle to get your payment out of them, you can “fire” them. Just make sure that you have these type of clauses in your contract.
- You’re your own boss
Another perk of having your own business! However, there is much more responsibility, and you have to be dedicated to your business.
- Run your business from home
You can start your wedding planning business from home, without needing things like stock and a hefty startup capital.
- Very little startup costs
Which bring us to our last point, it won’t cost a lot to start your wedding planning business from home. You will need basic internet access to promote your business on social media and to do research, of course, among other things.
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How much do wedding planners make?
It depends on where you are located and how big the weddings are that you’re planning. City wedding planners make more than rural wedding planners. On average, wedding planners make around $5k-$10k per wedding as a side hustle, but as a full-time wedding planner you can make anything from $65,000 a year.
Also, this depends on how much you charge your clients, and if you provide add-on services as an additional income. You also need to factor in that some wedding planners do less weddings a year, but with bigger budgets – such as celebrity weddings.
When charging for your wedding planning services, you can either ask a set price for your services, or a percentage commission of the couple’s budget, say, 8-12%. You can also do tailored planning packages where you build your wedding planning package around the client’s specific needs.
Which skills do wedding planners need?
To become a successful wedding planner, there are important skills to learn and master. These can range for basic skills which are easy to learn, to more advanced “tricks of the trade”. The most important skills wedding planners need, are:
- Being resourceful
- Creative skills
- Organizational skills
- The ability to communicate effectively
- Being objective to clients’ needs
- Administrative skills
- Professionalism and etiquette
- Time management skills
- Logistical skills
- Teamwork and leadership
- Ability to liaise with other professionals in the industry
- To stay calm under pressure
- Technical skills such as working with MS Office Suite
- Meeting skills
- Marketing skills
There are just the tip of the iceberg, and like you probably guessed, most of these have relevant sub-skills you also need to learn and develop. It’s your duty as business owner to research and develop as many skills as you possibly can to ensure the success of your business.
Do I need a qualification to become a wedding planner?
We’ve mentioned before that it isn’t compulsory or necessary to do a formal wedding planner qualification, but it really does help to start with one if you’re clueless about starting a wedding planning business from home.
Also, you can complete online courses for acquiring wedding planning skills, and even watch some tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube.
How do I get experience as a new wedding planner?
Getting experience is important in order to become the best version of yourself, as a wedding planner. So you need to find ways to do this if you’re just starting out. It’s also necessary for your wedding planning portfolio, which potential clients will want to see.
We’ve written this post on 11 ways you can get wedding planning experience.
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Should I work part-time or full-time as a wedding planner?
Whether you want to do this as a full time job or as a side hustle, is totally up to you. You need to weigh out the pros and cons before you decide how you want to do it.
Being a part-time wedding planner allows you to only take on the clients you want to, provided you have another form of income. You can also become a day-coordinator, which means you’re only being paid for wedding services on the day of the couple’s wedding.
If you’re aiming to become a full-time wedding planner, you will build your business much faster, and be able to handle more clients at a time, which will yield more income.
How do I get started as a wedding planner?
- Prepare your portfolio
Get some items to add to your wedding planner portfolio, such as mock-setup photos which you’ve done at home, create proposals for imaginary clients, design some stationery in Canva, etc.
- Find ways to market your new wedding planning businesses
Make use of social media to promote your business. Also be sure to tell family and friends about your new business, so that they can recommend you to other people.
- Find opportunities in your area
Whether there is an opportunity to help out at a nearby venue, or planning a friend’s wedding, find ways to gain that extra experience, even if you won’t earn a lot.
- Create a business plan
New businesses start out with a business plan for a reason. In this way, you can determine your business mission and vision statement, financial aspects, marketing aspects, and so on.
Find other professionals in the industry and get to know them and their business. You don’t need to aim for a golden friendship right off the bat, but be sure to connect with them on their social media and on LinkedIn. Also, try to find opportunities for collaboration with other professionals in the industry.
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5 Reasons why you should start a wedding planner home business
- You need little to no startup capital to get started
- You don’t have to keep inventory and stock for your business
- You determine your own hours
- You choose the clients you want to work with
- You can work from the comfort of your own home