How to Become a Wedding Planner:
The Definitive Guide


Do you always get excited when your friends are getting married, only because you want to help plan the wedding?

Do you dream of the day that you will walk down the aisle, just so you can pick the colors, theme, and flowers that you want?

If this sounds like you, then a career as a Wedding Planner may be just what you are looking for.

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What is a Wedding Planner?

A Wedding Planner takes the guesswork out of planning a wedding.

This helps ease the bride from all the stress of dealing with caterers, florists, setting up appointments, and everything else that can cause a bride to freak out on her big day.

The purpose of a Wedding Planner is to take care of all the intricate details of a wedding, so the betrothed couple can enjoy the festivities without all of the worries.

Having a Wedding Planner can make or break a wedding day for anyone, so it’s important to learn the ropes and be the best you can be in this career.

Duties

In order to be a success in this career, you must be keen on details.

Along with helping to pick a florist and cake decorator, a Wedding Planner also:

  • Conduct consultation with clients to find out expectations and desires
  • Discuss wedding details such as venue and photographer
  • Tour venues and meet with vendors
  • Arrange wedding supplies
  • Monitor all wedding day activities to ensure they run smoothly

Salary

Most Wedding Planners in the United States make around $54,000 a year.

For success in this career, look for job opportunities in areas with large populations or with a higher socioeconomic status.

Those that work in states like California make around $59,000 a year, while Wedding Planners that work in Idaho make around $39,000 a year.

With many years of experience, certifications, a good following, a Wedding Planner can make up to $86,000 a year in some areas.

There are possibilities to make more than the average salary when working in a specific niche.

For example, Wedding Planners that work on destination weddings can make much more than someone who works in Michigan.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $54,880

$28K
$37K
$54K
$65K
$86K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$46,840
Alaska$49,460
Arizona$53,010
Arkansas$47,920
California$59,980
Colorado$54,580
Connecticut$61,900
Delaware$52,430
District of Columbia$67,510
Florida$49,400
Georgia$51,330
Hawaii$58,740
Idaho$39,990
Illinois$51,740
Indiana$45,980
Iowa$45,880
Kansas$44,550
Kentucky$42,440
Louisiana$43,730
Maine$48,230
Maryland$55,290
Massachusetts$57,890
Michigan$49,560
Minnesota$52,230
Mississippi$44,560
Missouri$41,700
Montana$46,590
Nebraska$45,980
Nevada$47,650
New Hampshire$50,580
New Jersey$68,590
New Mexico$40,710
New York$69,250
North Carolina$48,200
North Dakota$43,860
Ohio$50,070
Oklahoma$44,330
Oregon$52,650
Pennsylvania$50,860
Rhode Island$62,630
South Carolina$44,180
South Dakota$38,930
Tennessee$51,100
Texas$52,000
Utah$45,380
Vermont$49,330
Virginia$59,650
Washington$62,170
West Virginia$41,630
Wisconsin$48,290
Wyoming$47,660
Guam$49,000
Puerto Rico$27,210

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is New York, where the average salary is $69,250.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New York - $69,250
New Jersey - $68,590
District of Columbia - $67,510
Rhode Island - $62,630
Washington - $62,170
*Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Wedding Planner

Step 1Get Formal Training

There are a few different ways to obtain a bit of education when it comes to working as a Wedding Planner.

Helpful programs and certificates are available online, at some community college or trade schools across the country.

These certificate programs will help students learn about:

  • Budget Management
  • Vendor Relations
  • Wedding Ceremonies
  • Wedding Attire
  • Marketing Strategies

Many of these programs can be finished in 6 weeks, however, there are some that take around 6 months that cover a wider range of topics.

Most courses cost anywhere from $150 to $400, which means it can cost over $2,000 to earn a certificate.

Even though it is not a legal requirement to earn a certificate as a Wedding Planner, this credential shows clients that you are competent in the career, and that will give them reassurance when they hire you.

Step 2Gain Experience

After you learn all of the ins and outs of becoming a Wedding Planner, it’s time to put your new skills into action.

There are several ways to gain experience as a Wedding Planner, you can join someone else’s company, or you can venture out on your own.

If you decide to venture out on your own, think about supplying Wedding Planner services to friends and family for free or a reduced cost to gain experience, reviews, and critiques before you go live.

If you’d rather gain experience working for someone else, then finding a Wedding Planning company to intern, shadow, or work to gain hands-on involvement.

Many clients won’t hire a Wedding Planner that doesn’t have some sort of portfolio or website to check out, so gaining experience is key.

Step 3Find a Niche

Now that you have a couple of years of work experience, there may be a chance you want to move on to a specialty within the Wedding Planner community.

Having a specific area of expertise will help you shine throughout your career.

Some of the niches that you can get involved in include:

  • Destination ceremonies
  • Honeymoons
  • Ceremonies are specific areas of the country
  • A certain theme, i.e. farmhouse/country
  • Wedding shower planning
  • Bachelorette party planning
  • Same-sex weddings
  • Quick weddings
  • Ethnic ceremonies

Once you decide which niche you pick, live up to it and make it the most it can be.

Step 4Become Certified

There is no law that states you need any type of degree or certification to work in this industry.

However, who wants to hire someone that doesn’t have any references, education credentials, or certifications to show they know what they are doing?

Not many people, that’s for sure.

That’s why it is important to have a certification as a Wedding Planner.

The American Association of Certified Wedding Planners offers certification that you can obtain online or in person.

This association has three certifications available:

  • Trained Wedding Planner
  • Certified Wedding Planner
  • Certified Master Wedding Planner

Courses take about two weeks and it costs around $100 for the entire program.


Education

There are a ton of programs online, and even through your local community college or community center, for people who want to become Wedding Planners.

A typical online certificate program can take anywhere from 6 weeks to several months, depending on the type of program you choose.

Even though this is not a degree, a certificate program will provide you with the knowledge you need in order to have a successful career as a Wedding Planner.

Some of the topics that you can expect to cover during a Wedding Planner program include:

  • Services provided by a Wedding Planner
  • Organization
  • Preparing for a ceremony
  • Planning a reception
  • How to start your own Wedding Planner business
  • Marketing tools and techniques
  • Client consultations

Depending on where you enroll, costs per course can range anywhere from $150 to $400.

You may be interested in earning a higher education, like a Bachelor’s degree.

Even though it’s not legally necessary, some Wedding Planners obtain a degree to show their competence in the field as well.

A Bachelor’s degree can take around four years to finish and will provide students with the appropriate information to build a great Wedding Planner career.

Some of the Bachelor’s degree majors that could be of interested to a Wedding Planner are:

  • Hospitality
  • Business
  • Management
  • Business Administration
  • Organizational Leadership

There will be many of the same types of courses within each of these majors, and some of the courses that you can expect in the average business or business management programs include:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Project Management
  • Marketing

The hospitality major will consist of more hotel and travel-related courses, such as:

  • Food Service Management
  • Quality Service
  • Finance
  • Property Management
  • Hospitality and Tourism Fundamentals

Consider the niche that you want to go into once you become a Wedding Planner.

This will help you decide what types of classes, certificates, or degrees you should think about.

Video About The Career


Certification

After gaining some education on the topic of Wedding Planning, it’s possible you are interested in becoming certified as well.

It’s not a requirement to have a certification as a Wedding Planner, but owning a credential shows future clients and employers that you know what you are doing in the career.

There are some great programs to look into, like from the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners.

The AACWP hosts three certifications:

  • Trained Wedding Planner
  • Certified Wedding Planner
  • Certified Master Wedding Planner

All of these programs can be found online and they can also be taken in-house at the AACWP Texas location.

Most of the online courses take about four weeks to finish.

The Trained Wedding Planner certification is the entry-level certification for this career.

Some of the things that you will learn through a Trained Wedding Planner certification program include:

  • Etiquette for Wedding Planning Professionals
  • Wedding Business Basics
  • Rehearsal to Reception
  • Planning and Consulting

The Certified Wedding Planner certification is for those who already have a career as a Wedding Planner, but want to become more professional with credentials.

This certification will focus on:

  • Sales
  • Business Fundamentals
  • Business Plans
  • Ceremonies and Planning

Becoming a Certified Master Wedding Planner is the ultimate in the Wedding Planner world.

This program will teach you:

  • History of Bridal Fashion
  • Party Planning 101
  • Wedding and Event Design
  • Event Law

In order to complete all of these certifications, you must attend every class, take all of the necessary tests, and complete and pass all of the assigned homework.

It’s important to understand entrepreneurship and business when working in this field, so try and attend some courses or webinars on that as well.

There are certifications in business or entrepreneurship beyond Wedding Planning, which could be something else to look into.

Certification Example:

wedding planning certificate

Average Training Program Duration: 0-6 Months

Most of the programs for Wedding Planner certification are online.

There are several certification courses that are anywhere from 4-6 weeks.

There are also some that are self-paced, which means it can take as little time, or as long as you need in order to become certified.

Whether or not you become certified is up to you, however, a credential looks great to clients and employers.

Other certifications for Wedding Planners can be found at community colleges or universities and can take about 6-12 weeks to finish.

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Job Outlook

People love to get married, which means that Wedding Planners should have no problem finding employment in the near future.

Over the next ten years, this career will grow by around 7 percent.

Along with all types of event planners, Wedding Planners will see an uptick due to people leaving their careers or retiring.

Those that have Bachelor’s degrees should expect to find employment easier than someone who does not hold a degree.

Having experience in hospitality can also provide employment opportunities for Wedding Planners.

Employment Growth Projection: 7%

134,100
2018
143,800
2028

That's a higher than average projected growth of 9,700 jobs.

Wedding Planner: Interest Over Time


Should You Become a Wedding Planner?

Overall Satisfaction: High

Overall Satisfaction

The great thing about working as a Wedding Planner is that there are so many opportunities for upward mobility.

This means many raises and promotions, which is something that people who work in this career really enjoy.

One of the downfalls of this career is that there is a lot of stress, especially when you are trying to make someone else’s big day perfect.

Even though it can be stressful, most Wedding Planners love their jobs because they are helping others make their dreams come true.

Average Salary: High

Average Salary

On average in the United States, Wedding Planners make about $54,000 a year.

Considering the area in which you work and the type of clients that you get, it’s possible to make as little as $35,000 a year as a Wedding Planner, or over $100,000 a year.

Some of the factors that determine your salary include the population of where you work, the socio-economic status of that population, as well as the area in which you live.

Areas that have higher salaries include:

  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Bahamas
  • California

Job Growth Outlook: Medium

Job Growth Outlook

It’s possible that we will always need Wedding Planners.

This is true, at least for the foreseeable future.

This career will rise around 7 percent in the coming decade, which is higher than many other careers in this field.

Thanks to the legalization of same-sex marriage, more people are tying the knot, which means more need for Wedding Planners.

People retiring or quitting this career also has a lot to do with the rise in job opportunities.

There should be many opportunities for Wedding Planners in niches like destination weddings.

Education Duration: 0-6 Months

Education Duration

Even though it is not a legal requirement to earn a degree in order to become a Wedding Planner, more people are expecting at least a Bachelor’s degree before they will hire someone for their event.

A Bachelor’s degree can take around four years to finish, but there are some accelerated programs online that can take as little as two years.

There are some certificate programs that can help a Wedding Planner gain clients, which can take anywhere from 9 months to 18 months.

Earning a Bachelor’s degree will gain more job opportunities, but will take more time at around four years.

A certificate can provide entry-level jobs for Wedding Planners and can take around a year to finish.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

Planning a wedding can be stressful but planning someone else’s wedding can be chaotic.

That’s why a Wedding Planner needs to have a level head, as well as these other traits:

  • Charisma
  • Budgeting skills
  • Organization skills
  • Communication skills
  • Trend and fashion skills
  • Creativity
  • Ability to negotiate
  • Listening skills
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Knowledge of the industry
  • Connections with venues/vendors

It’s important to know wedding etiquette and how to act in a business situation, especially when dealing with a couple who is getting married.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the average salary of a Wedding Planner?

Having a career as a Wedding Planner can make you very successful.

There are many Wedding Planners who make around $54,000 a year on average in the United States.

However, there are some Wedding Planners who work in large populations or with high socio-economic status clients who can make over $100,000 a year.

Those who are just starting out in this career will typically make a little less, at around $39,000 a year.

With certification, specializations, and more clients, the pay can improve quite a lot.

Q. How long does it take to become a Wedding Planner?

You could walk outside right now and claim to be a Wedding Planner, however, it may take some time to actually learn what you are doing.

A typical Wedding Planner course can take around 6 weeks to finish.

This will earn you a certificate, which shows clients and employers that you know what you are doing.

Many Wedding Planners opt to shadow or intern another Wedding Planner before beginning their career, this way they get a little experience and client practice first.

Q. What does a Wedding Planner do?

A Wedding Planner talks to engaged couples about what types of things they would like on their wedding day.

This goes for the venue, the type of flowers, the style of dress, colors, basically any little detail that will make the special day even more special.

Then, the Wedding Planner gets all of that organized and makes sure everyone is where they need to be on the wedding day.

The job can be stressful, but it’s often a very fun and exciting time for everyone.

Q. What is the demand for Wedding Planners?

Due to the legalization of same-sex marriages, there will likely be even more weddings coming up in the near future.

This means that there will certainly be more need for Wedding Planners!

Most event planning careers, especially Wedding Planning, should see a growth in job opportunities at around 7 percent.

This is quite a bit more than many other careers in the same field.

Q. How much does it cost to become a Wedding Planner?

If you want to earn an education to become a Wedding Planner, it can cost you a bit of money.

The average Wedding Planner certificate program online costs anywhere from $150-$400.

If you choose to earn an Associate’s degree, this can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the school that you attend.

Most certifications for Wedding Planners cost around $100 as well.

It can cost anywhere from $150-$15,000 or more to become a Wedding Planner.


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