If you're committed to being a phenomenal wedding planner then it's important for you to know what the heck you're doing when a couple hires you!
However you choose to obtain your wedding planner training — paid wedding planner certification or the school of real life (and self-study) — here are four (4) essentials to be a professional wedding planner.
Essential #1: Know What Happens at a Wedding
Most mainstream weddings follow a typical process. Do you know what that process is? If your goal is to offer either full-service, partial or day-of wedding coordination then your answer to this question should be an emphatic ‘yes'!
If your response was slightly unsure, then please take a moment to listen to Confetti Episode #315: ‘What Happens at a Wedding' for a refresher.
Essential #2: Be a Wedding Details and Wedding Etiquette Guru
A wedding has several moving parts and your clients will expect you to know what each moving part does and how, when, and if, they should (or shouldn't) use said part. So, it's important that you possess a solid understanding of every detail of a wedding, from the wording of the wedding invitation to the timing of the toasts at the wedding reception.
Thankfully, it's never been easier to learn this wedding essential. Amazon and your local library are excellent resources to get you started.
Essential #3: Have a System or Workflow to Manage each Wedding
Without a logical system or workflow for each event you plan, you'll quickly begin to lose control. When you're in charge of an event that's as complex as a wedding, you should always know what your next step will be. To give you an idea of what I'm referring to, check out the 25-step system that I use and shared during a Confetti episode:
Essential #4: Get Hands-On Wedding Experience
Don't kid yourself, no one wants to be your guinea pig. The more hands-on experience you have with weddings and special events, the better.
Couples want to know that you've worked on several weddings before they hire you for theirs.
And while shadowing or interning with an established wedding planner sounds like the perfect way to get the hands-on experience you need, the truth is most wedding planners aren't too keen to have you along for the ride.
Instead, go out and meet/interview other area wedding professionals — photographers, florists, officiants, caterers, etc.. If you like their style, ask if you can, perhaps, help them out for a few hours, unpaid, on one of their upcoming weddings.
This way you get to see how well (or not) the vendor does what they do, the vendor loves you and will likely refer future clients to you as a result, and you get to work a real-life wedding that I'm sure you'll learn lots from.