Monday, August 29, 2011
I get a lot of people asking me this same question, so I thought maybe it would be a good idea to post it on the blog.
First realize that being a wedding planner is very different than planning your own wedding. It takes about 250 hours to plan a single wedding; you will be planning multiple weddings at the same time. It takes a very special person, you have to be very organized, very outgoing, very willing to do all kinds of tasks. We have done everything from sewing bridesmaids’ dresses together at the last minute to cleaning snake skins out of bathrooms. I can not emphasis enough that it is not the glamorous job you see on TV. In fact, CNN Money just named it the second most stressful job. They also said the average salary was less than $35,000. Weddings days will start very early in the morning, usually about 9:00 for a 5:00 wedding and you will be on your feet until well after midnight.
Also remember, you have to give up most of your nights, weekends and holidays. These are when brides are out of school or off work and want to do their planning. Daytime you are meeting with vendors.
If that hasn’t scared you off, then first thing you will need to do is take one of certification courses in wedding planning that are offered. There are many out there, be sure you pick a good one. ABC is very well known. Next you will need to intern either with a planner, a hotel or a florist to really see what goes on behind the scenes. Once you have accomplished that you will need to look at setting up the company. This involves hiring a lawyer and deciding if you want to be an LLC or Corporation. You will need to research and trademark a name. Purchase liability insurance of over 1 million dollars of coverage. Look at errors and omission insurance and buy a business license for each city in SC/NC where you plan on doing business. This means if you do a wedding in Mauldin, you have to have a Mauldin license, Clemson a Clemson license, Greer a Greer business license and so on. You also need a license for wherever you are located. As you can tell it is not cheap to start up. You will need to have your contracts drawn up by a lawyer also.
You will need to hire help for each wedding. We have at least 5 people at a wedding, some with the bride, some at the church and some at the reception setting up. We also have a crew that comes in just to unload and at the end tear down and pack up. That means you will either have to have salaries or hire workers as contract workers. Be sure to check the tax laws, they are very detailed about this. You are going to need either a good accountant or someone that is very good at keeping the books.
I’m not trying to be discouraging, but so many people start this business thinking that it will be easy, sort of like a hobby and it isn’t. It is a business and you are dealing with other professionals and the public so you have to be committed to it and prepared for it.
Later this year we will be possibily teaching some classes on just this subject. You can keep checking the blog for more information.