4 Things I, A Certified Wedding Planner, Wish I’d Known When Planning My OWN Wedding
QC Student Ambassador, Nicole Thielmann, is a certified wedding planner and the proud owner of Willow North Events. Today, Nicole reveals 4 lessons she learned through her QC training that she WISHES she knew when organizing her own wedding.
Planning My Own Wedding (With NO Formal Training)
In 2019, I got married to my husband. Our wedding consisted of 100 guests and took place at a really beautiful barn venue in Ontario. To be honest, I couldn’t have dreamed of a better day! To me, it was perfect. What made it even more perfect was the fact that I’d planned the entire thing by myself!
At that time, I had zero prior experience and no professional training as a planner. However, I did have some experience in project management and coordination. I think that these experiences were what really helped me through the wedding planning process. It took me an entire year to plan the whole wedding. Even though it could get stressful at times, the process still went pretty smoothly. Despite my lack of training, I was able to stick to my wedding budget while creating a beautiful event that all of our guests loved.
All that being said… there were definitely some challenges. Something I found difficult was budgeting for decor and florals. The costs can really add up! I faced a lot of stress when trying to figure out how to create a beautiful atmosphere on a lower budget. Luckily, I was able to overcome these obstacles by opting for silk florals instead of real florals. Also, I did a lot of DIY decor to save on costs.
Finding My Calling
Planning my own wedding (and overcoming the hurdles involved) was what made me decide I wanted to become a professional planner. I realized that I was really good at staying organized and on top of things. Plus, I loved seeing my vision turn into reality.
Even though I was able to plan my own wedding without formal training, I knew that if I wanted to do the same thing for others, I was going to need a proper education. I’ve since become a certified wedding and event planner through QC Event School, having earned my International Event and Wedding Planning Professional™ (IEWP®) designation. I’ve also become a certified Destination Wedding Specialist as well.
In retrospect, my professional training has allowed me to reflect back on my own wedding – specifically, a few things that I wish I’d known back then…
4 Things I Know Now as a Certified Wedding Planner (That I Wish I Knew Back Then)
1 – Wedding Insurance
When I was planning my own wedding, I had no idea that wedding insurance was a thing. For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic really drove home the importance of having insurance, what with so many events getting cancelled. I can’t help but think about how much money I would have lost if I’d needed to cancel my own wedding.
My QC training taught me that wedding insurance can protect you from the unexpected. Fires, floods, illnesses, etc. are unlikely, but they can still happen. Most venues and vendors take nonrefundable deposits upfront when you book them. This means that if you don’t have wedding insurance and your celebration is cancelled, you might not be able to get that money back.
2 – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
I remember being so stressed about every little detail of the wedding. I’d spend hours thinking about what type of garland to lay on the guest tables, or which type of chair covers to use during the ceremony. What I later realized was that even though these little details did add to the overall ambiance of the event, nobody really even noticed them on the actual day of the wedding. Not even me.
Yes, I still do think these small details were great. But I don’t think that they were worth the amount of stress I put myself through. In fact, a lot of those stresses could have been avoided if I’d hired a certified wedding planner. My training has allowed me to see both sides of the coin, so to speak.
I’m able to understand the stress that couples face during wedding planning process. I get their desire for everything to be perfect. On the other hand, I also see things through the eyes of a certified wedding planner now. So, I know that things aren’t always perfect… and that this is okay! Most of the time, no one will even notice the minor imperfections.
3 – You Need a Day-Of Coordinator
On my big day, I was absolutely scrambling for some help.
Usually, when you hire a wedding planner, Day-Of services are included as part of your package. This means that your certified wedding planner will be onsite to help things run smoothly all day. I didn’t plan for this during my own wedding. It was easy to forget that without someone helping me out on the day of the wedding, everything would fall on my shoulders. This sounds manageable until it actually happens.
In reality, you’ll likely get stressed out on the day of your wedding for this exact reason. You’ll need to run around all day! Sometimes, you might even forget to enjoy your own wedding (you know, the one you’ve worked so hard to plan). Luckily, in my case, I did end up finding someone last minute to help out. I’m SO glad I did, too!
My formal training in wedding planning has since reinforced this. The happy couple deserves to be fully immersed in their own special day. They shouldn’t have to deal with stress or sweat about the behind-the-scenes stuff. QC Event School taught me exactly how to do this. This way, I can ensure that my clients have the best wedding day ever!
4 – Always Have a Backup Plan
Something I didn’t think about when planning my outdoor wedding ceremony was what I would do if it rained! Most couples pray for no rain on their wedding day, but sometimes, it’s bound to happen. This is why it’s so important to have a plan in place, just in case.
As I trained to become a certified wedding planner, I quickly learned that backup plans are essential! Maybe it’ll be a matter of renting out a tent, in case it rains. Perhaps the solution will be to book a venue that has both indoor and outdoor options. Ultimately, the backup plan you pick will be up to you. What’s important is that you DO consider all of these factors and decide on a backup plan when picking your venue.
As a professionally trained wedding planner, I now know that I was extremely lucky because it didn’t rain on the day of my wedding. This is something I always keep in mind now when planning new events for clients.
Become a Certified Wedding Planner through QC Event School
I chose to get professionally trained in event and wedding planning because I knew that even though I was able to plan my own wedding, I did overlook some very important details that – in hindsight – could have been disastrous! I enrolled with QC Event School because their courses are completely online and self-paced. They also have many different course options available, depending on what you want to learn.
I feel that both aspiring and experienced planners should get professionally trained and certified for 3 reasons:
- You can feel confident in what you’re doing and know that you have professional certification training to back you.
- There’s always something to learn or new perspectives you might not have thought about before.
- The event industry is ever-changing, and training allows you to stay on top of current trends and industry standards.
Becoming a trained, certified wedding planner has helped me to feel confident in what I do. My education provided me with resources that I use on a daily basis. Plus, my credentials also help me stand out from the crowd. If you’re considering becoming an event or wedding planner, I encourage you to make 2021 the year you finally pursue your dream career!
If you’d like more information on my experience with QC Event School, I encourage you to connect with me in the Virtual Classroom on Facebook. I would be happy to answer any of your questions. Thanks for reading!