Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to high dive into the entrepreneurial pool, and become a WEDDING PLANNER! CHEERS! Welcome to an incredibly rewarding, exciting and challenging career path unlike any other! Make no mistake- there will be twists, turns, epic highs and scary lows along your journey, but if you really take the time to lay a solid foundation for your business at the get-go, the path to a healthy, successful business will be that much smoother for you! Here are my best tips to help you get started!
If you are truly committed to being a Wedding Planner, treat your business like a BUSINESS, not a hobby. Take your business seriously and hire a lawyer. Not only will they help you determine and set up your company infrastructure (will you be a Sole Proprietorship? Partnership? Corporation? What are the pros and cons of each?), but they will also help you draft your client contract, which is VITAL. You will also need business insurance- almost every big city venue requires a certificate of insurance from each vendor, especially after the Pandemic (and you should have insurance on a base level, because you are a professional, after all :). A good place to start would be to reach out to your renters’ or homeowners’ insurance agent and see if they can help. Lastly, even if you plan on handling your own taxes, it may be beneficial to schedule a consultation with an accountant so you can learn about all the tax deductions available to you as a small business owner, such as writing off your phone and internet bills and logging business mileage for your car.
While experience is the greatest teacher, I cannot emphasize the importance of wedding and business education for Planners, new and old, enough. It is SO essential to equip yourself with the knowledge and history of wedding traditions, customs, cultures and etiquette so you can be an asset to your clients and guide them appropriately. Please do yourself (and our industry) a favor and get a certification in a legitimate Wedding Planning course, such as the Association of Bridal Consultants or Penn Foster Wedding Planner Program. Not only will these programs help you learn the ins and outs of our industry, but they also have excellent networking events, nationwide conferences and support for new planners to help further your business and encourage you to grow.
For those of you who live in the Midwest, there may be no greater resource than Half Price Books. A common final destination for those dusty, abandoned wedding planning books after couples tie the knot, a treasure trove of inspiration awaits you. I’ve scored MAJOR deals on beautiful $75+ coffee table books for under $20, such as Vogue Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Colin Cowie and Preston Bailey, Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier and Vera Wang. Besides all the pretty, cozy up with business books such as Start Your Own Business and Marley Majcher’s But Are You Making Any Money? for additional guidance. Research and study, young grasshopper.
If you’re introverted like me, you may read that headline and think- EEEEK networking! Anything but THAT! I’ve been there- when you’re just getting started, it may feel awkward to put yourself out there and talk to strangers and competitors. Hear me out- networking events such as Wedding Wednesdays and Thursday Therapy are a great way to meet other wedding pros at all stages of their businesses. Go in with the goal to connect with just one other business owner you want to follow up with, one-on-one. As you gain more and more experience with events, you realize you are only as strong as your vendor team- getting out there and meeting people from all sides of the industry is a great way to build your network.
You WILL make mistakes. Accept this, and learn from them. Keep picking yourself up, put one foot in front of the other, and try your best.
Expect a revealing behind-the-scenes look at actual Cheers! events and tips and tricks cultivated from over a decade's worth of a-ha moments and lessons learned.