I asked you guys yesterday on what you would like me to chat about in this simple little blog, and a few people requested the path it takes to be a wedding planner. First things first, skin of steel, my friends. Make sure you have the personality that can handle being loved and hated at the same time. All while keeping a smile on your face (the most important part of being successful).
Alicia Lacey Photography
I got certified to be a planner 15 years ago online at Penn Foster. In my opinion, it was an absolute waste of my time because the lesson was so out of date. If I was starting now, I would go to their event planning classes at George Mason or some place similar. I don’t care what they did in 1973. Which is when I think the last time the Penn Foster classes were updated when I attended.
Do you HAVE to be certified? No. Would it help if you have no idea what road to go down? Yes. I know several wedding planners who have gone to be certified, then quit after a couple years because the passion was gone. I advise you intern or assist for another planner (but be careful if you want to go out on your own, I make my entire team sign a non-compete). You have to start from the ground up to get the amount of knowledge to be comfortable running a wedding day that this one person dreamed of their entire life and over $100,000 has been saved and poured into.
This is what I did:
My grandmother owned a wedding boutique that I was in all the time! We went to bridal shows and were in the nitty gritty, behind the scenes. I was hooked. I knew I needed to know every element of this world. I assisted photographers, became a server for caterers, assisted DJ’s and even bar tended. I knew it was important to know every detail of what vendors needed if I was going to help make the day run successfully. It is not just having a timeline. It is curating, researching, reading, following up, then creating a timeline that will become your wedding day god-send. And everyone else’s too. I took cheap/thankless jobs that I can’t even discuss here (but will be bringing up in Confessions of a Wedding Planner), and worked for next to nothing for years. I got my break when a near by vineyard asked me to help out with weddings. Then the real learning began. I pushed through and eventually started my own business. It took me 15 years to get from just me to 8 total fabulous, hard working babes!
Bottom line, if you have the personality, passion and persistence, you will be able to find your dream job!