Wedding Planner Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Learn about a wedding planner's job duties, salary and education requirements. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of wedding planning to see if this career is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Being a Wedding Planner

Becoming a wedding planner offers you the opportunity to contribute to the romance and excitement of a wedding. Read on to see more pros and cons of this career.

Pros of a Wedding Planner Career
High job growth anticipated (33% for event, meeting and convention planners from 2012-2022)*
Minimal training requirements*
Opportunity for self-employment*
May travel to abroad for some weddings*

Cons of a Wedding Planner Career
Intense competition*
Long, irregular hours may be required*
Job availability may depend on economy*
Multi-tasking duties can be fast-paced and demanding*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Info

Job Description and Duties

Wedding planners assist brides and grooms in all aspects of wedding preparation. You may ask clients about their vision for their wedding and use your resources to make that vision a reality. Using your industry knowledge, you may inform clients about wedding trends, which can help them decide on attire, themes, decor and activities. Some wedding planners offer different levels of service, such as organizing most of the event, a portion of the event or just the events on the day of the wedding. Depending on the level of service, some of your specific job duties may include showing venues, contracting vendors, budgeting, planning menus, sending out invitations and keeping the wedding day's events running on time. You must be prepared to meet the needs of demanding clients and juggle multiple tasks.

Since weddings often occur outside of business hours, wedding planners often work weekends and evenings. Wedding planners can work for companies, but many are self-employed. If you choose to work for yourself, you'll need to provide contracts, set fees and find clients. You may also handle bookkeeping, scheduling and developing contacts within your industry.

Job Growth and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't collect data specifically for wedding planners, but it does gather information for meeting, event and convention planners, which includes wedding planners. The anticipated employment growth rate for these professionals is above average at 33% between 2012-2022. However, competition is fierce and opportunities are best for those with the most experience.

The BLS reported a median salary of about $46,000 for meeting, convention and event planners, as of May 2014. But salaries vary greatly among wedding planners and those who are just starting out typically earn less, according to the most recent information available from the BLS. Additionally, wedding planners differ in how they charge clients; some charge by the hour, while others charge a percentage of the wedding costs. According to Payscale.com in 2015, most wedding planners earned about $20,000-$68,000 annually.

What Are the Requirements?

Education

The BLS stated that wedding planners have minimal education requirements. Some don't have education beyond a high school diploma, while others earn degrees in hospitality management, marketing, business or related fields. Still, many complete certificate programs specifically in wedding planning, which are available at many postsecondary schools and professional organizations. Coursework for a certificate in wedding planning may include budgeting, event planning processes, vendor negotiations, decor selection, trends, contracts and timeline preparation.

Career Skills

To be a successful wedding planner, you should be organized, composed and detail-oriented with excellent communication and people skills. Wedding planners are constantly interacting with people, including clients, vendors and other industry professionals, and a good reputation can serve them well. Additionally, having technology skills can be beneficial as well as sales and negotiation abilities.

Job Postings from Real Employers

According to the BLS, 80% of wedding planners are self employed. However, some companies do hire for wedding planners, bridal consultants or wedding coordinators, all of which perform similar duties. Additionally, companies may seek professionals to coordinate all their events, which may include weddings. The list of job postings below highlights the qualifications and characteristics sought by employers in April 2012.

  • A museum in Pennsylvania sought an event planner with experience planning for large venues to coordinate weddings and corporate events. Nights and weekends are required, and applicants with previous management experience and a bachelor's degree are preferred.
  • A venue in California advertised for an event coordinator to perform administrative duties, including marketing, communicating with clients, developing budgets and working with outside contractors. Applicants must have two years of college level business training and culinary or hospitality experience.
  • A wedding planning company hired for a contracted wedding planner in Denver to assist clients in all aspects of wedding planning and work on the company's blog.
  • A national bridal retailer wanted a bridal consultant with good communication and organizational skills to work with vendor partners and help clients plan their weddings.

How to Beat the Competition

Develop Related Skills

Since many wedding planners are self-employed, having business skills can help you get ahead in this field. Bookkeeping, marketing and other necessary skills can be developed through formal education or on-the-job experience. Most wedding certificate programs include coursework on starting and running a business. Other planners gain skills on the job. Many get their start working for others and managing small aspects under the supervision of others.

Join Professional Associations

There are multiple organizations dedicated to wedding professionals, including wedding planners, and these associations can help keep you current on industry trends while providing networking opportunities, leads and other benefits. Some associations offer certification, such as the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP). You can earn one of three credentials by completing their training courses or other AACWP-approved courses.

Alternative Careers

Meeting Planner

If event planning is your dream career, but dealing with the emotion of someone's big day turns you off, consider meeting or convention planning. Job duties for this career are similar to those of a wedding planner, such as meeting with clients, budgeting, finding venues and securing vendors. A bachelor's degree in a field like communications, marketing or hospitality is typically required by employers as well as experience in the hospitality industry. Meeting planners earned average annual salaries of about $50,000, according to 2011 BLS data, and they have a high projected job outlook rate of 44% during 2010-2020.

Public Relations Specialist

If your strengths include writing, communication, organization and research, a career as a public relations manager may be for you. This job may include event coordination, but also requires you to write press releases, generate excitement for your clients and ensure brand continuity. The BLS projected a rapid 23% growth rate for these professionals from 2010-2020. The average salary for this position was about $60,000, as of 2011.

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Featured Schools

The Art Institutes

  • Hospitality Management (BS)
  • Hospitality Management (AAS)
  • Event Management (C)

What is your highest level of education?

Virginia College

  • Associate's - Business Admin
  • Certification - Business Administration
  • Diploma Program - Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Master : Business Admin
  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • AASBA in Food/Hotel Management

Which subject are you interested in?

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Management
  • Bachelors in Business Administration Specialization in Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality Management
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • Master of Business Admin
  • BS - Business Administration - Management
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?