How to Land Your First Wedding Planner Job
Becoming a wedding planner and starting your own business can be super scary to most. Once you’ve landed a few clients, however, you start to settle into your groove and become more confident in your professional role.
But how do you land that first wedding planning job? Who would take a chance on a planner who has zero professional experience? Here’s a secret: it’s not that hard! Let’s go through some dos and don’ts.
1: Being Certified
Wedding planning isn’t a regulated profession. This means you don’t need any specific type of qualification, degree, or license to get a job as a professional wedding planner. Becoming certified in wedding planning, however, is a huge reassurance to your clients that you know what you’re doing.
If you worry about how you’ll land your first wedding planning job, just imagine how much harder it would be if you didn’t even have a certification or professional designation to your name!
2: Use your Network
Do you have friends, family, or acquaintances who recently got engaged? Could they use a wedding planner, even one to help plan part of their wedding? Contacts you have some sort of association with are definitely easier targets for your first wedding planner jobs. Approach them with a soft pitch and see if they’d be willing to give you a chance!
- The more of a connection you have with the engaged couple, the less awkward it will be to reach out to them. Try your luck with family and close friends before you attempt to reach out to your old high school volleyball teammate.
- Remain professional at all Your goal is to land your first client, and for them to be a reference after their wedding.
- Don’t act entitled: the couple doesn’t owe you anything. They’re allowed to refuse your offer or go in a different direction.
- Accept No for an answer: don’t act upset, don’t push back. Gracefully thank the couple for considering you, and ask them to keep the door open for you in other ways (maybe they want to hire you to plan the engagement party?)
3: Have a Strong Portfolio
“But what do I put in my wedding planning portfolio if I don’t have any experience?”
Lots, actually. And this is where your wedding planner training will help you! Your portfolio will evolve over time to showcase more and more of your paid wedding planner jobs. But to start, your portfolio can feature some of your more visual school assignments, volunteer work, internships you’ve done, etc.
Running a styled photo shoot is also an excellent way to get portfolio-quality photos and showcase your abilities to plan and execute an event with multiple vendors including florists, decorators, caterers, photographers, makeup artists, etc.
4: Have a Strong Brand
Your brand is how you’ll sell your services. If you have a polished professional website that hosts a nice-looking portfolio, and you present yourself as a confident and certified wedding planner, most clients won’t even know that you’ve never had a wedding planning job before!
Your online brand should reflect the personalities of the clients you’re looking to attract. Are you looking to come off as sophisticated? Fun? Environmentally-friendly? Having a unique angle might help attract a niche clientele, however having a focus that most couples can identify with might make it easier to land that oh-so-important first job.
5: Have a Useful Website
This is a big mistake that a lot of first-time wedding planners make. Your website should sell your brand and feature your amazing portfolio, yes. But it should also (and arguably more importantly) be a website that future clients can use to effectively gauge your abilities and connect with you.
You won’t land a wedding planning job without getting potential clients to contact you. And very few people will contact you unless your website contains the following:
- A clear description of your services: Don’t be vague and don’t leave anything up to interpretation. Be very clear about what services you can offer your clients. Use bullet lists, samples of timetables, etc. This is where secondary website pages are incredibly handy: make the information useful for people who are looking for it, but don’t make it overwhelming for those who aren’t.
- Your prices: Clients hate not seeing prices on your website! Yes, wedding planning is an extremely customized service… but you can at least give price ranges based on the types of services clients are looking for.
- Pictures of your work: Your portfolio should be displayed proudly on your site
- A contact form: Hosting your phone number and email address on your site is fine. But having a “contact us” form that clients can fill out will greatly increase the amount of contacts you receive! (Fair warning: you’ll get a lot of spam from this form, but that’s a low price to pay for extra potential clients.)
- An easy way to schedule a consultation: Let’s face it. These days more and more people loathe having to get on the phone with a business. While a “contact form” on your website is wonderful, having an easy method for clients to actually book a consultation with you via your website is even better! There are many free or almost-free tools online that can help you make this happen.
6: Don’t give up
It takes time to establish a new business. Most wedding planners will only have 2 or 3 jobs in their entire first year of business. Focus on improving your brand, making connections, and looking at other areas that you can polish. While you’re hunting for your first job, don’t be afraid to explore other avenues. Look for internships or volunteer work that can also help make you more appealing to potential clients.
Bonus #7: Listen to feedback!
If you’re getting website visitors, or you have many connections but none of them are willing to hire you, see if you can get some honest feedback about why they went in a different direction. A client’s honest feedback can be priceless.