Being a wedding planner is at the top of many people’s dream job list, but does the reality match up with the romantic fantasy? In 2014 this was a question that Marie Claire asked the UKAWP and of course we were more than happy to oblige by highlighting the reality of wedding planning as a career.
1. It might surprise you to know that most wedding planners only manage 8-10 weddings per year. Let’s do some maths: multiply 8 x 150 hours = 1,200 hours. Assuming you will take four weeks as holiday per year that’s 25 hours per week organising client weddings. The rest of the working week is spent ‘running your business’ (marketing, accounts, PR, admin). So, a wedding planner needs to make sure she/he is earning enough from those 8-10 weddings per year to cover their wage, tax, and business running costs as a minimum.
2. The role of a wedding planner is 80 per cent administrative. About 150 hours are needed to organise a client’s wedding ensuring all key suppliers have been booked and within the clients budget.
3. You will be working evenings and weekends so make sure your family support you in this. Take a day off in the week instead as a compromise
4. Planning someone else’s wedding is very different to planning your own, mostly because people have such different tastes. Can you deal with that? You need to view the wedding design objectively; does the design suit the personality of the couple? Your job is to make the couple’s dream wedding materialise, it should match their vision perfectly.
5. At times, couples might take their stresses and frustration out on you – do you have the strength to shrug it off? Do you have the patience to guide them through any difficult decisions they are currently experiencing? Do you have the maturity to never take any such stress personally? Remember being the centre of attention to so many can be difficult for a bride and they can get a tad emotional leading up to the wedding. Listen to the concerns of the couple and answer, as succinctly and calmly as you can, this isn’t the time to get argumentative. Are there any duties you can take from the bride to ease the stress?
6. You might be working on eight weddings simultaneously, that’s approximately 120-160 supplier emails, contracts, negotiations, schedules and meetings to arrange! If you’re not organised this isn’t the job for you. It’s not unusual to have two brides with the same name, marrying in the same year, it’s vital you are not mixing the weddings up!
7. You are your brand. Clients hire a planner because they like the person behind the brand. A good planner has the ability to relax a couple within minutes. If you’re shy, timid and lack confidence this isn’t the career for you.
8. On a wedding day a wedding planner is invariably the first person to arrive and last person to leave, frequently never sitting down until late in the evening. But despite being tired a wedding planner always needs to be in control and still look presentable, a couple won’t want to see a wedding planner looking tired and disheveled.
9. Working on your own on so many weddings, invariably within a short timescale of the summer months can be stressful and tiring. Make sure you have the support you need, if you need to hire a virtual assistant and bookkeeper to keep on top of the office admin then do so. Try to book a weekend away once your season has finished, if you’ve had a wedding that weekend then don’t work on the Monday.
10. Although planners have brought everything and all suppliers together, it is important to nurture good supplier relationships, not ‘boss people around’. Teamwork is essential and behind every good planner is an unbreakable team.
This article was originally published for Marie Claire in 2014.
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