Did you grow up dreaming of your wedding day? If you’ve had a scrapbook or Pinterest filled with pictures of dresses and floral displays for as long as you can remember, you may be ready to dream beyond your own wedding ceremony and begin a career as a wedding planner.
Luckily, there’s no required training or licensure to become a wedding planner. And getting started on a new career path always takes time and perseverance. However, if you have a passion for helping other couples make their wedding picture-perfect, all you need to get started is a little know-how. This wedding planning business guide gives it to you.
Before you say “I do”…
As any great wedding planner knows, the key to a successful event is making sure you understand the requirements (and expectations) of the job. If you’re thinking of starting your own wedding planning business, you know that the job isn’t all cake tastings and champagne toasts.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have experience in event planning, it may be helpful to get a start working as an assistant to an experienced wedding or event planner. An experienced planner will teach you the lessons they learned early on so you hopefully don’t repeat their same mistakes.
Planning a wedding requires the following traits:
- Great communication skills – Understand the couple’s tastes and preferences, and communicate clearly with your clients, your staff, and your subcontractors.
- Creativity – Everyone wants a unique wedding. Can you come up with a creative, unique solution for each client?
- An eye for detail – A couple is hiring you so they don’t have to worry about the details. It’s important to cross your t’s and dot your i’s. This includes outlining a crisis plan.
Create a business plan
When it comes to how to start a wedding planning business, you may need to secure some start-up funding. Even if you have enough cash on-hand to begin marketing and promoting your services, it’s important to begin with a clear, detailed plan so that you know exactly what you hope to accomplish in your first year of business (and beyond).
A strong business plan will help you with everything from pitching yourself to potential clients to taking on a manageable number of ceremonies. It should answer:
What are your goals and vision? – How does your wedding planning business stand out from your competitors? Do you cater to a niche market, offer flat-rate packages, or have a particular design focus that can woo customers?
What steps will you take to achieve your goals? – Do you have potential business partners? Potential customers? How will you market and promote your services?
What is your budget? – How much money do you need to cover your costs until your business becomes profitable? How many ceremonies will you need to plan before your business turns a profit?
How will you structure your business? – Creating a legal business entity like an LLC can help to protect you from some liability. What other steps will you take to legitimize your business and protect yourself from risk?
Having a clear business plan helps you to set achievable goals and take concrete steps towards them.
Build your online portfolio
A website is the first step in your online marketing campaign and will be your digital portfolio. Thankfully, smart website builders such as Wix and Squarespace make it easier than ever to create an attractive site that reflects your style without needing a development background.
The key elements of any good business website are:
Design – A big part of your job as a wedding planner is creating a ceremony to remember. Make sure your website reflects your style.
Your bio – clients want a planner they can relate to as they’re entrusting their big day in your hands. Your bio should reflect your style and personality – include some fun facts to help you stand out.
Portfolio & client reviews – Clients want to be able to imagine their wedding. Consider planning a friend’s wedding, or even staging a mock wedding with a photographer you’d hire for future events. This can help you to convey professionalism and experience as you’re getting started.
Contact information & form – you need a way for prospective clients to easily contact you. Include a phone number and form so people can submit their details. Don’t forget to call prospective clients back as soon as possible – ideally 24-48 hours.
Social proof – Include links to your profiles on industry organizations or websites such as Wedding Wire or The Knot to help potential clients know you’re legitimate. And, if you’ve received any awards or badges, make sure to include those on your website. Additionally, make sure to link to your social profiles.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how to help your website show up in the search results. The basic setup doesn’t take a marketing degree: simply follow your website builder’s instructions for adding page descriptions, and be sure to include keywords related to your local area so you can show up in local search results.
Once you have a site, start showing it off to your network and updating your social profiles with a link to your website.
Protect your business from risk
Once you land your first gig, it’s important to make sure your business is protected in the event that something goes wrong. As you start your new venture, you’re likely excited, even giddy—but it’s important to come down from cloud nine and assess your risks.
Any time people gather together, there’s the risk that an accident could hurt someone or damage their property. And when it comes to their wedding day, people can become especially litigious. The cost of legal fees alone might burn through your start-up budget.
Most wedding planners can benefit from the following kinds of insurance policies:
General liability insurance provides coverage against client and third-party claims of bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury.
Professional liability insurance, also called errors & omission (E&O) insurance, provides coverage against claims of negligence and errors related to your work.
In addition, make sure you’re working with venues and vendors that carry their own insurance policies.
Tie the knot with Thimble
When you’re just getting started, you may only have a single wedding to plan in the months ahead. It may seem like an annual insurance policy just isn’t worth it or a cost you can spare.
But you don’t have to pay for insurance when you’re not working. That’s why there’s Thimble’s Wedding Planner Insurance. Our fast, flexible policies go by the hour, day, or month. You can take out insurance just for an afternoon of venue tours with your clients, or for an entire wedding weekend.
And while a wedding may take months to plan, you can get insurance in just 60 seconds. All you have to do is enter a few details about your business, and we’ll generate your free quote. Click purchase, and your proof of insurance will arrive in your email inbox right away.
Say goodbye to cold feet
Starting a business can be scary, but with the right steps, you can look forward to a long and happy career as a wedding planner. Remember to:
- Understand the job requirements
- Create a business plan
- Build your online portfolio (your website)
- Protect yourself from risk with insurance
Pop the champagne—you’re ready to be your own boss!