Advice for New Wedding Planners

wedding+planner Advice for New Wedding Planners

I often received emails from novice wedding planners asking for advice and tips.  While we do offer hourly career counseling for novice planners, I wanted to share some tips and advice.

  • Treat your vendors well when you are coordinating a wedding.  If you have professional vendors, they do not need to be micromanaged.  Check with your photographer and caterer when making your time lines to ensure they have enough time to do their job.  Then let them do what they do best.
  • Learn to say no.  There will be clients who are just not the best fit for you.  You can recommend other planners and save yourself a year of stress.  Aletha from Pearls Events wrote an excellent blog post about this topic here.
  • Be yourself.  Brides are hiring you for who you are. Whether you have a quirky personality or superstar design skills, show it off. It is always better to be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of someone else.
  • Integrity is essential in this business.  This seems like a simple concept but I am amazed at how often I hear about other business owners not delivering what they promised, not showing up to meetings or just being “flaky” with their clients.   If you know you can’t deliver something, don’t promise it to your clients. 
  • You cannot be a professional planner if you have only planned your own wedding. Take classes from ABC, work for a caterer, do an internship with an event planner, go to network events, read wedding blogs, meet with vendors, follow wedding planners on twitter, go to conferences, create your business plan.  These are all things that will help you learn more about the industry and help grow your expertise and business skills so that you can be a professional planner.
  • Charge what you are worth.  Take time to figure out how much money you want to make per hour then multiply it times 3.  That is a very rough estimate of what your clients need to pay you.   You will pay almost 30% for taxes alone plus all your business expenses before you can pay yourself.  For example, if you charge $500 for wedding day coordination that includes the final walk-through, rehearsal and 10 hours on the wedding day plus a few meetings with your bride, creating time lines and confirming vendors, you end up with around $25 or so per hour before taxes/expenses.  Take your taxes and business expenses from that and you make about $8-$9 hour.  AND that does not include paying an assistant.   Isn’t all your hard work worth more than that? I sure hope so, even as a novice.

Debbie Orwat
Denver Wedding Planner

3 comments on “Advice for New Wedding Planners

  1. what a great article debbie. i think this really can be taken on all levels of the wedding industry and beyond! wanna-be photogs, cake decorators, etc… it takes much more then just wanting to do it. and YES! just because you planned your own wedding does not make you a pro! 😉

  2. I love this post – you are spot-on with your advice to new and wannabe planners. Thanks for your insight.

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