How do I break into wedding consulting?

I get this question several times a week…

 

The answer is: You don’t!

 

Just like anything else it takes time, there are no overnight sensations here…

 

Just because you planned your own wedding doesn’t mean you’re ready to tackle others. Planning your own or ‘helping a friend’ might be a good start, but it’s only part of the picture.

 

First I recommend researching a professional association – there are nearly a dozen associations across the US – you’ll need to find the one in your region which offers you the best educational opportunities, networking groups and fits your budget.

 

I also highly recommend you roll up your sleeves and get a part time job working for a local banquet facility or off premise caterer as a server. This is a great way to see how 50% of the average wedding budget comes together – you’ll see the behind the scenes rush to the finish to get everything looking flawless before guests arrive.

 

It will teach you timing, organization and also how to be humble as guests are no nicer to wedding consultants than they are banquet servers.

 

If you have any background in business, you have an advantage… if not I recommend a local community college course on bookkeeping and business.

 

Other recommendations are to do some part time work at a florist – you’ll get to do fun stuff like strip and prep flowers, scrub buckets and answer phones…but you’ll learn a lot.

 

Hopefully you’ll advance to prepping fresh cut /wrapped bouquets, learn how to do boutonnieres, corsages, and green up arrangements or maybe even bouquets!

 

Or, maybe a bridal salon – coming from a food and beverage background I knew nothing about gowns, veils, or headpieces…a year at a bridal salon was amazing for me…I met designers, learned about fabric and cuts of gowns, and also got to meet and talk to brides to be….

 

Having the desire to be a wedding planner is more than just having fun planning a few parties… it takes more than coming up with a name and designing a cool looking business card.

 

In addition to the fact that in order to make a living at it you have to work with 15-18 couples a year…which in and of itself is a slow build.

 

You have to establish relationships and earn the trust of other wedding professionals so that they refer to you… and unless you are independently wealthy coming into this career – you will need to be able to research, write, market, network, book keep, respond to emails, interview….all by yourself.

 

A majority of wedding consulting firms are owner operated, maybe a partnership…a few have full time planning staffs….many have assistants for ‘day of’…

 

If you expect you’ll just send an email to a company and they’ll have a bunch of consulting positions open…. WRONGO!

 

You’ll actually stand a better chance with a catering venue, hotel or caterer – once you have some experience in catering…

 

You’re likely to be one of a dozen people emailing any given planner on any given week – experience sets you apart…so does doing something memorable…

 

Great stationary, a well written letter, good experience all make you stand out…DO YOUR RESEARCH – when people look at my site and address anything ‘ to whom it may concern’ or dear sir or madam’ – just shows me they have no attention to detail or research skills or are just blasting the market with emails…

You might then get a chance to intern with an existing consulting company.

 

As I said, there are no overnight sensations… the learning process is slow, as are building relationships, building name recognition, and getting enough referrals to earn a living…

 

 

If you’re willing to take the right steps, you’ll be a success… if you think you’ll jump in, take all the short cuts and be the next best thing… you might be sadly mistaken