A lot of people get into the wedding business because they are drawn to the beauty of what they see on social media. Places like Pinterest, Instagram and other social media platforms are always showing the end result, but very few understand the hard work that is involved when it comes to the events industry.
When I conduct interviews for prospective planners, I always have in depth and meaningful conversations. As much as planning experience is important, it is not required. My discussions are built around their thought process and whether or not they have the grit to make it in this business. It’s important to understand your why’s and your how’s before stepping into the events game. Below are the questions you should ask yourself:
Why do you like wedding planning? What part about it?
Do you have income to supplement for the next few years?
How much time can you dedicate to the business?
Once you answer these questions, you will know if you are ready for this journey.
Let’s talk about the first question: Why do you like wedding planning? Many of the responses have always been:
It looks so fun
I planned my own wedding and I loved it so much so I think I would do well in it.
Oh I love design
I am a really good at project planning
Determining your why’s will help you understand which part of the business you would excel in. But in truth, wedding planning is both project planning and design running in parallel with each other. Some days you may do one counterpart and not the other, yet both matters quite significantly
For instance, I’ve had many gals come ringing in with excitement claiming wedding planning is exactly what they wanted to do. And then they realize the customer service, organization, and project planning components drove them insane. It’s like they are shocked or something. I’m dumbfounded when I hear complaints like:
Wait….you mean I have to send follow up summaries each time—WHAT?
I have to hand hold this much- WHAT?
I have to do this much research- WHAT?
Why am I at fault for this… this and this…?? ( this is the zinger right here)
It is clear as day, that these folks only liked the pretty decoration part of it. And it’s perfectly ok if you only want to own the styling and décor piece of the wedding gig, but make sure you aren’t signing up to be a wedding planner. Wedding planning is a beast on it’s own.
With wedding planning, you are creating a master blueprint for your clients. They need to clearly understand the timeline, expectations of roles and goals, while being handheld along the way. While that is running as the main page, you still have open tabs running as well. Amongst the many other details, you must be emotionally and mentally capable for your clients.
If you don’t clarify the roles you will be in for a big surprise!
Second Point: Do you have supplemental income?
Do not think for one second you are going to be rich off this profession in a short time. Much like how Rome was not built in one night. You will need some type of financial back up as you are building your business. As you are starting, it’s really difficult to gain clientele if you are charging over the top premium, so you must look at the market rate and charge a little bit lower to entice your initial audience. Use this as a tool to gain advantage in the market. This is a great strategy as you gain footing and traction. Remember that you are in this for the long run. I know many wedding and event planners that only do this part time and eventually became a full-time gig. There are dangers of having a full-time job while running your wedding business, but this is where open communication, trust and balance is key. Understand that if wedding or event planning is your chosen career, ensure you have the financial support ( and emotional support) to keep you going. You don’t want to experience economic hardship that may put a damper on your journey. That alone will stop anyone in their tracks. Having solid support steadies your focus on your business so you can achieve your place in the industry.
Third point: How much time can you dedicate to the business?
They all say we are all given the same amount of hours, so what you do with those hours matter. Remember how many hours you put into your business will mean how successful it will be in the future. Now, I am not talking about busy work, I am talking about your willingness to sacrifice your play time, because weddings and events are a weekend thing! You will be working on the planning part during the week and then conducting the gigs on the weekend. Know that if you aren’t willing to sacrifice your weekend, this profession is not for you, my dear. I have never seen planners that worked “just enough” and are still in the game. The most successful ones were the ones that went the extra mile because they knew that every inch led to a mile.
Wedding planning also means that your client cannot talk to you until after work hours. As much as you want to have a balanced workday you will need to sacrifice that. I am all about mental health and a balanced life, but that’s a separate article. No business or company starts out successful by just doing a regular 8-5pm work week. Before every launch and the following years after, many owners are pulling crazy work hours. It doesn’t mean that it has to be this way 365 days out of the year, but if you aren’t prepared to sacrifice, you can kiss your wedding and event planning dreams goodbye after the first year.
In summary, I know this all sounds harsh. But nothing worth it is ever easy, correct? I am not hear to sugar coat anything, especially when this is a life changing decision. If you are ready to take on this profession, answering the questions previously mentioned will gauge how ready you are. And if you can confidently check these off, and fear is the only thing holding you back? Strike it down because your success is on the other side of your fears.
Can you be successful at this? Absolutely 100%.
Does this take hard work and dedication? Yes.
Is it worth it? Yes yes yes.