The wedding planner job takes more than a wedding planning checklist

Before the post-World War II bridal boom, wedding event planning for most Americans getting married was a straightforward matter of consulting a wedding etiquette book, following a wedding planning checklist, and dressing up for the occasion. But by the 1950s, Madison Avenue advertisers were mass-marketing the dream of a 'traditional' white wedding to America's newly affluent middle class. As a result, wedding event planning became a commodity-driven enterprise, involving more products, more services, and more complexity than before. Planning a wedding was no longer painless, getting married was no longer simple, and weddings were no longer modest family affairs. Industry statistics vary widely, but today's two-income couples are believed to spend an average of $20,000-$28,000 to get married, with 15%-20% of couples employing a professional wedding planner, coordinator, or consultant to help manage the process. But fewer couples are planning an expensive wedding, more are waiting longer to get married, and the Internet has put instant wedding planning information at everyone's fingertips. To be successful, today's professional wedding planner job demands marketing skills and technological proficiency, as well as expertise in time-tested wedding-planner profession tools and techniques. Now more than ever, learning how to be a wedding planner requires mentoring by a sympathetic veteran who will flag potential problems, share successful solutions, and provide timely advice about a vibrant vocation that recently celebrated its 60th birthday.

Photo courtesy Kiet Do

To Learn How to Be a Wedding Planner, Find Mentors with Experience and Learn from Their Mistakes

Mass-market films like 'The Wedding Planner' (2001) and 'Wedding Wars' (2007) continue to misrepresent the wedding planner profession, stereotyping planners and clients, perpetuating myths about marriage, and depicting the wedding planner job as a life of high drama, low comedy, and occasional romance. But couples getting married comprehend the true complexity of the wedding planner job the moment they review an online wedding planning checklist, recognize the time investment required for careful wedding event planning, and research the endless options they will confront at every step. Busy couples who realize that having too little time with too many options is both crazy and counter-productive often turn to a wedding event planning professional for security, sanity, and support. As a result, the wedding planner profession has a bright future. But our past is prologue, and new wedding planners must learn their profession's origins, culture, and history before capitalizing on its future. Some things never change, and the voice of experience is still the best teacher.

Course Video Tutorial: 'Two Wedding Planners Teach
The Wedding Planner Job and Wedding Planner Profession' (39:20)

Between them, veteran wedding planners Lillian Benson and Crystal Lequang have 65 years of successful wedding planner job experience. Lillian opened her wedding business in 1950 as the first wedding event planning professional in Flint, Michigan. Crystal formed Amazae Special Events, her Silicon Valley wedding event planning firm, in 2004. Each started her wedding event planning career by staging theme parties for corporations: Lillian for General Motors, where her father worked, and Crystal for the technology company where she was employed. Each then experimented with how to be a wedding planner by planning her own wedding. Each eventually realized that she could make a living doing what she most enjoyed: planning creative wedding events using unique skills and talents that can't be learned from a wedding planning checklist. In this course video tutorial, Lillian and Crystal teach Members the ins and outs of the wedding event planning business from 1950 to the present, sharing trade secrets, war stories, and practical advice needed by anybody entering the wedding planner profession or taking a new wedding planner job.

Lillian Benson and Crystal LeQuang, Professional Wedding Planners

Learn 12 essential elements of the wedding planner job and profession, yesterday and today:

  • Wedding coordinators, wedding planners, and wedding consultants
  • Four levels of professional wedding planning service
  • How to balance organization and imagination
  • How to find and keep dependable vendors
  • How the role of the caterer has increased in importance
  • How referrals work and why they're vital in building your wedding business
  • Why charging a flat fee is more profitable in the long run than taking a percentage
  • Treating clients ethically and building credibility by refusing kickbacks and commissions
  • How to develop brand identity and foster client confidence
  • How to structure consultations, contracts, and payment options
  • How to set boundaries and manage emergencies on the wedding planner job
  • How to avoid disruption and liability as a member of the wedding planner profession

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