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EdubbsWife™
Master October 2011

If you are a wedding planner, please read and comment on this thread.

EdubbsWife™, on February 8, 2013 at 8:19 PM Posted in Planning 0 32
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All you wedding planners out there, I need your input. I am considering taking up wedding planning as a side job. But I want to do it right. Where do you suggest I get training/certification? I am not getting another Masters... I have a PhD already and I LOVE my full time job but want a part-time gig that I love. I have planned nonprofit events for the last 15 years or so and do a lot of entertaining. I am tired of hearing "You missed your calling" or "You should do this for a living" so I am ready to step out but I want consultation. Some people have pointed me to online certifications. Some have said apprentice (I do have a planner I can work with). Some have said get a Project Management Certification. I want good solid advice. What to do?

32 Comments

Latest activity by rohit, on May 13, 2019 at 4:59 AM
  • Legacy
    VIP June 2013
    Legacy ·
    • Flag

    So I struggled with this as well. I've been planning events for the past 10 years with a business partner. We are no longer doing events but I still enjoy it all. I never ended up doing the certification (I considered ABC, Assoc of Bridal Consultants), but I did consider going back to school for entertainment law, which could give me the law background. I decided against that for personal reasons, mostly I hate school lol.

    We started our company, created the LLC, got the tax ID # and just started planning. I still love it and may go back to it but I'm trying to decide on some personal/life stuff in the mean time...you know!

  • EdubbsWife™
    Master October 2011
    EdubbsWife™ ·
    • Flag

    Legacy, thanks for the feedback. I have done several parties and I am doing a friend's wedding simply because they asked me to. But I want to get some formal training. I know there is so much I don't know. I know I could jump in both feet but I find that doing it that way will lead me to doing things the hard way. I am hoping some training will save me some headache.

    I am looking at Ashworth and PennFoster, which both get you ABC certification. I tell my students who have been practicing in the field for years that I am giving them the theory of WHY we do things a certain way and that sometimes makes it easier. Not that they couldn't do it without an education but understanding the whys and wherefores simplifies things tremendously!

  • HRH Mags
    Master March 2014
    HRH Mags ·
    • Flag

    I am no help really just wanted to say HI!!! Smiley smile Miss seeing you here!

  • EdubbsWife™
    Master October 2011
    EdubbsWife™ ·
    • Flag

    Hey Mags! Thanks for reaching out! That is you right? Everybody's new! I miss you ladies and try to get on at least from time to time! If I do this wedding planning thing, I will be on more -- at least after I finish the training.

  • Carrie
    Master December 2011
    Carrie ·
    • Flag

    I read Preston Bailey's blog and he has covered this a few times. He recommends taking a planning course then helping another company part time before venturing off on your own. FWIW all planners I interviewed had previous planning experience in various areas (catering, hotel, fashion etc.) before starting their own independent company. So I think it can be an easy transition for you if you have the right tools.

    Attending networking events such as NACE, ISES, ISS will help with the networking aspect.

    http://www.inspiresmartsuccess.com/

    http://www.prestonbailey.com/course/prestons-wedding-and-event-planning-certification-program/

  • Lizz M.
    Master March 2013
    Lizz M. ·
    • Flag

    Edubbswife, have you contacted Cydney J? she is on Facebook, I can PM you the info if you would like. She can definitely help you along with SamanthaRenee.

  • ForeverMyLove
    Master December 2014
    ForeverMyLove ·
    • Flag

    Edubbswife, I am looking into this as well. I have reached out to several experienced wedding planners (some did not even respond) requesting information on how they got started and if I could intern with them. Those that responded have provided invaluable information. One advised I take some courses on floral/fashion design and taking an online course in wedding planning would be a good way to information on the interworkings of wedding planning.

  • Kathy
    Master July 2010
    Kathy ·
    • Flag

    Samantha has given you some great advice.

    I am not a wedding planner, but I am/have been doing some event planning. So far, I have taken a few online courses, through a local Community College. These are basic courses that have given me extra information.

    I also signed up for a sample course through the Special Events Institute. http://www.specialeventsinstitute.org/

    Also, read, read, read. I have picked up books at my local library on Event Planning, Table Settings, Napkin Folding, Business Management and such.

  • Meghan
    Master August 2011
    Meghan ·
    • Flag

    I'm not a wedding or an event planner. I was a bride, and I interviewed a few wedding planners.

    From me perspective, I don't give two flips if you have a certification. I want to know you're creative, can work within my budget and will recreate MY vision, not yours. If I were in your shoes and contemplating this, I'd work with a local planner. I'd try to see if I could join the team. What you need to be a successful wedding planner is good connections with local vendors- from venues to photographers to DJS to caterers to linen rentals. As a bride, I want to know you are competively priced for everything.

    Then, it comes down to personality. Do we "click"? What ideas are you providing to add to the ones I had already? You need to build a portfolio and get experience. That's what I want- experience! Your event planning will definitely help!

  • Meghan
    Master August 2011
    Meghan ·
    • Flag

    Samantha, I agree that not every designer is a planner. However, there has to be a level of creativity in the planning process. Creativity isn't just overall design. It's problem solving on the fly. It's helping me stretch my budget and giving me new ideas for old traditions. The ideas don't neccessarily have to be their own. But they have to know a creative way to keep my guests happy and occupied when my DJ blows a speaker and there is a delay replacing it...

  • Len Woelfel
    October 2020
    Len Woelfel ·
    • Flag

    Go get a job working for someone else. Or just volunteer to help out on an occasional wedding. As someone who had side jobs for years, working all week, then on the weekend sucks IF YOU HAVE TO DO IT EVERY WEEKEND. Starting, building your own company would mean exactly that, and more.

    Degrees and certification are fine, but experience, empathy, skill, talent, and all the other attributes of a good planner/designer are more important.

  • Kathy
    Master July 2010
    Kathy ·
    • Flag

    *sigh*.

    Whoops, double post, second one "hidden".

  • EdubbsWife™
    Master October 2011
    EdubbsWife™ ·
    • Flag

    Thanks everyone. This is helpful. I am not so much interested in certifications to attract brides. I want the knowledge base. I realize there is a lot I don't know and I want to do it right. I don't want any bride to have the experience I did... A wedding planner who talked a good game but turned out to be a hot mess.

    I have a planner who would like me to work with her. I will start doing that soon. We are meeting next week to develop our agreement and strategy for working together.

    Samantha I will be contacting you later today! Thank you (and everyone else) for the advice. If anyone else has ideas, I want to hear them!

  • Amanda
    Master August 2013
    Amanda ·
    • Flag

    Hi Edubbs,

    I'm not a planner, but looking to jump into the industry as you are. I worked as a wedding coordinator and event planner in college, so luckily I do have some experience! Like you, my plan is to get certified to have that foundation of knowledge. I'm also going to ask my own DOC if I can shadow her for awhile. Then I'll start the business part time and go from there! There is such an untapped wedding market in my town (even my DOC lives an hour up the road!), and I truly feel like I've missed my calling. Best of luck to you!

  • EdubbsWife™
    Master October 2011
    EdubbsWife™ ·
    • Flag

    Thanks Amanda. Let me know where you will go to get certified. I am looking at Ashworth or PennFoster, in that order.

  • Amanda
    Master August 2013
    Amanda ·
    • Flag

    I've looked into the Wedding Planning Institute's online program; I'll have to check out Ashworth and PennFoster as well. Whatever program I choose will need to be completely online due to my rural area and already busy schedule, but I'm very wary of signing up for anything without significant research.

  • Nancy Taussig
    October 2020
    Nancy Taussig ·
    • Flag

    How many brides are 'put off' if they can't reach their planner because she is working her 'real' full time job?

  • EdubbsWife™
    Master October 2011
    EdubbsWife™ ·
    • Flag

    Nancy, I definitely thought of that. I hope to do only a few events a year and one full service at a time -- at least to start.

    I make my own "real" full time job schedule and only HAVE to be anywhere for 3 hours on Tuesdays (when I am in the classroom) and 2 hours one Wednesday a month. All other times for my job I determine. I am very blessed to have a very satisfying and autonomous job that can be done from anywhere just about anytime.

    Sure there will be lots of juggling but this is exactly the kind of thing I want to make sure I have taken into account.

  • Amanda
    Master August 2013
    Amanda ·
    • Flag

    @Nancy, that's certainly a fair point. For me, it would be fairly easy to at the least take a bride's call during working hours. At a minimum, I would be able to get in touch within an hour or two if I were stuck in a meeting. However, I would also think that I wouldn't charge as much as a full-time planner while still working my current job. Not only because I'd still be gaining experience, but also because, as you said, I'm simply not 100% available to them 24/7.

    I'd be curious to hear from anyone who has just left their career and switched to an entirely new field, all while starting their own business. I'm currently the breadwinner in our house, so there's just no way we could give up my entire salary. I certainly envy anyone who is able to do that!

  • Nicole Keesler
    October 2020
    Nicole Keesler ·
    • Flag

    I would also recommend getting some business training as well. Having your own business is great, but it is really hard.

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