Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails and phone calls from students and aspiring wedding planners looking to gain knowledge and experience in the wedding planning field. I’ve met many of these people over coffee, and some have even shadowed me or worked as a wedding day assistant at a wedding or two. What all of these people have in common is excitement about the industry, which I completely understand. It’s such a fun world to work in between the cake tastings, flower consultations, hours on Pinterest and ultimately attending weekly parties all summer.
Enthusiasm is a good place to start (that’s what got me started at the beginning of my career), but over time and through trial, error and countless weddings, I’ve learned that being a wedding planner takes a lot more than a love for weddings. While I am not the perfect embodiment of these qualities (we’re all human), here are six traits that I believe any person seriously interested in the field of wedding planning should have and/or be working on:
Almost more than any other thing you can do for your clients, few things will instill more confidence and trust in you as their planner than being in regular, timely communication with them. Brides need to know that a) you care about their wedding b) you’re on top of things and c) you’ll be there when/if they need you. So, if you are not willing and able to log many, many hours on email and the phone, this may not be in the industry for you.
Be consistent. Another important ingredient for success in wedding planning is consistency — showing up on time to meetings, canceling engagements only in emergency scenarios, and doing what you say you’ll do. I’ll admit, when I was just getting out of college, I was a bit flaky — I would sometimes cancel plans with friends or forget to put things on my calendar. At that time, I was not ready to be a wedding planner — I didn’t have the follow-through or the ability to take 100% ownership of my work. Fortunately, the years have taught me valuable lessons in the importance of consistency and follow-through that prepared me for my work in wedding planning. If you are thinking about becoming a wedding planner, take an honest look at your lifestyle — do you show up on time? Do you cancel plans? Do you meet deadlines? If not, this may not be the industry for you.
Organization is hard work, and it’s taken me years to streamline how I organize emails, contracts and contact information. It’s often tedious work, but 100% necessary to deliver the quality work that weddings demand. My husband can tell you that our apartment is not always neat and tidy, but my email inbox always is. So, before you venture into wedding planning, take a look at your email inbox and determine if you are willing to master the organization that will ultimately be required of you.
While a great deal of wedding planning is dealing with beautiful things like wedding gowns, flowers and table linens, at times the job is not so glamorous. A lot of sweat goes into a wedding day — I am often lifting and moving furniture, hanging decorations, and much more. By the end of a wedding day, I’m usually a sweaty mess — and not from dancing. Also, some parts of this job can be downright dirty — I once had to slap some garbage bags over my arms and unclog a port-a-potty trailer because of a hose malfunction. And sometimes, the wedding planner needs to be the person to tell an unruly wedding guest to get their act together on behalf of the bride and groom. Glamorous? Certainly not. But someone’s gotta do the dirty work on the wedding day, and if you’re not willing to take on some dirty work, wedding planning may not be for you.
Both clients and other vendors in the industry need to know that the wedding planner has their back at all times. A planner should be a person who builds up the work and ideas of others instead of tearing them down. Nothing pains me more than hearing wedding professionals say negative things about a client or another wedding vendor. Trust me — wedding world is small, and talk gets around and hurts people. If you want to be a wedding planner, do yourself, your clients and vendor buddies a favor and adopt a no-bashing policy.
Wedding planning is without a doubt the hardest work I have ever done, but it has also been the most rewarding work I have ever done. The blood, sweat and tears involved in working in this industry pale in comparison to the joy it brings you if you love it — but only if you love it. Test the waters, shadow some planners and some wedding professionals and look for traces of joy you get from the work. If you find that you don’t love it — that’s fine. But if you do — go for it. Fewer things are more attractive to an engaged couple than a wedding vendor who is in love with her work.
I love this work and hope to encourage many more like-minded people to get their hands dirty in the beautiful world of wedding planning. Interested in feeling out the industry? Email me. I’m always looking to add names to my day-of assistant list as wedding season draws near.