If you're planning weddings professionally, do you need to be a certified wedding planner?
I get that question a lot.
Currently, there are no licensing requirements if you want to charge for your professional wedding planner services. So the answer, technically, is no.
This partly explains why being a professional wedding planner is such a popular career choice. With such a low barrier of entry, anyone who believes that they have the necessary skills (whether they truly do or not) can create a website, print a batch of wedding planner business cards and voila!
Truth is, many of the high-profile and celebrity wedding planners that you see and hear about are not actually certified. Because, honestly, being a certified wedding planner is only as good as the wedding planner certification program that you take.
You can learn a lot about being a wedding planner by simply immersing yourself and, well, planning weddings and other special occasions.
Hands-on Planning Experience is Priceless
While being a certified wedding planner lets the world know that you're serious about what you're doing, don't underestimate the importance of learning everything you can about weddings on your own.
Each one of those social events, weddings, parties and showers that you're passionately helping your sister and/or friends with, count!
As you work on these types of events you should:
- Build your wedding planner portfolio.
- Track how many hours it takes you do certain tasks (very important when you're ready to price your wedding planner services)
- Collect glowing written testimonials from the host of each event that you work on, in exchange for your labor of love
- Objectively decide whether or not you could imagine doing this for a living
Continue your self-imposed learning sessions by reading wedding planner books–wedding etiquette books are a treasure trove of info.
Keep an eye on what's trending in national and, more importantly regional and local wedding planning and bridal magazines.
Get out there and talk to and offer to help local professional wedding vendors (not just the wedding planners).
Attend wedding industry events…immerse yourself in the wedding industry while you decide whether certification is for you or not.
Do your research.
And, if you're certain that wedding planner certification is a must for you, be sure to do your due diligence. There are so many wedding planner training courses available; it's enough to boggle the mind!
Take the time to compare wedding planner certification syllabuses — i.e. the specifics of each lesson that's being taught.
Get the true story by connecting with active and recently-graduated students. Ask:
- Is/Was the course worth the money?
- Is the wedding planner certification program focused on wedding planning theory? Or, does the course involve hands-on wedding planner training and activities, too?
- How knowledgeable were the course instructors?
- Is the certification course affiliated with or recommended by any of the established wedding planner associations? (A good sign)
Again, wedding planner certification is a good move in the right direction, but it certainly isn't required.