Questions Every New Wedding Planner Should Ask Themselves

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Wedding Planner

Wedding caterers go over details.
Wedding caterers go over details. Tetra Images/Getty Images

There are many great reasons for starting a career in wedding planning. There are also just as many reasons why becoming a wedding planner isn't for just anyone. The best wedding planners have the perfect combination of work ethic, service-orientation, skills, and a passion for what they do. The realities of being a wedding planner are difficult to know outside of the industry. So what is a hopeful future wedding planner to do?

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Wedding Planner

Some of the best advice for prospective wedding planners is to get to know as much about the industry and its expectations for all of the service professionals involved. To do just that, Marsha Ballard, former president and secretary of the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACW) and owner of Stardust Celebrations Corporation in Dallas, Texas advises that all potential wedding planners ask themselves the following questions before starting their dream career.

Who Do You Want to Work For?

“Before considering a career in wedding planning, one should understand that there are only a handful of event companies that can and will hire a wedding planner,” says Ballard. While many event venues will hire catering managers or banquet managers, many do not employ traditional wedding planners or similar roles. While you may have the opportunity to join event planning company as a wedding planner, most wedding planners are independent professionals who have started their own businesses.

Running your own business can be a huge change in pace for many, so deciding who you want to work for (an event venue, an event planning group, or yourself) will do a lot in determining where you might be a fit.

When Do You Want to Work?

In the wedding planning industry, there is no such thing as a 9-5.

Not only do weddings themselves usually take place on the weekends, but most planning meetings with your clients will take place after normal business hours as you will be accommodating their schedules. Wedding planning hopefuls should ask themselves if they are in a position to work weekends and to meet clients after normal business hours. And if so, do they want to?

Can You Afford to Start Your Own Business?

In the likely event that your dream career is best realized as an independent wedding planner, you must ask yourself what you can afford to do to get your business started? How much capital do you need to get started? Wedding planners from all walks of life have started their businesses with anywhere from $1,000 to over $10,000. Will you start wedding planning part-time or jump right in? Continuing to work another steady job when you're just getting started can ensure that you will not experience too deep a drop in income, but it may lead to a very slow business growth rate. If a person can devote full time building their business, they can still expect the business to take about three years before turning a profit.

Are You Ready to Promote Your Business?

You may or may not have an easy time getting your first few clients depending ​on the size of your social network, but what about the second and third and fourth?

Getting your name and services out in the competitive market can be an expensive venture. It's also an ongoing process. Getting a professional website and social media pages up is just the first step. Be diligent in researching the available options for promoting your new business being sure to evaluate the best possible return on your investment.

Are You Going to Get Certified or Join a Professional Association?

As with many professional services, there are educational courses, seminars, and even professional wedding planner certifications available for the new and even the experienced wedding planner.

Will you set aside some money in your business budget to join a professional association or to get certified as a professional wedding planner? As an example, Ballard has been a part of three wedding organizations over the course of her career including AACWP. Be sure to look into your available options to decide what is right for you.

More About the AACWP and Marsha Ballard

AACWP (the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners) was founded in 2006 by seven Dallas wedding planners, and has expanded to include the central region of the country – and intends to serve as a national voice for wedding planning certification and expertise.

Ballard, a registered nurse and holds an MBA, started her firm with her lifelong friend and colleague Jenny Cline after leaving a career in health care management. Established in 2001, Stardust Celebrations Corporation, Dallas, owns two bridal Salons, employs about 40, and serves as wedding planner for more than 20 weddings each year.

For more wedding planning industry insight from Marsha Ballard, be sure to check out the following articles: