Erin Steiner is a regular contributor to the Wedding Chaplain’s Journal. In addition to writing here, she manages her own social media presence and writes for a variety of other websites.
When you first start looking for wedding planners, what you’re most likely looking for is experience. You’ll want to know that your prospective hires have successfully planned and managed weddings before. You will focus on references and the prospective planner’s network – wedding planners are great not just because they help you manage the details of your day but because they can often help you get great deals and discounts with other wedding providers like your florist and your cake, for example.
Hiring the right planner is important!
It is important, though, that you don’t just focus on experience. While an extensive history of good experience can sometimes make up for a lack of formal education, the education your prospective planners have had is very important.
According to “Five High Paying Jobs that are Fun,” event (and, by extension, wedding) planning is one of the best paying, most fun and most satisfying jobs out there. But the article doesn’t just talk about what a great time wedding planning is. There is “fine print” at the end of it that talks about the importance of your wedding planner’s education: “According to the Department of Labor, event planners should have at least a bachelor’s degree and work experience in hotels or planning.”
You should know that there is no set path for people to follow when they want to become wedding planners. Unlike other professions that have specific steps people need to take and goals they need to reach before they can be hired, every wedding planner will bring a unique set of experiences and educational backgrounds to the table.
It is as much about relationships as checklists!
This does not mean, of course, that there aren’t things for which you should look. The aforementioned experience in hospitality or planning are great, of course. Beyond that, look for education in areas like consultation, PR, communications, financial planning or management (this shows that they will know how to work within a set budget), catering or even stage management. Bonus points should be awarded to the potential planners who have earned certifications in event planning or any of the complementary areas of the field.
Really, what you want to have is a mixture of both formal education and experience. Someone who went to school for psychology, for example, but who has interned or apprenticed a well-respected wedding planner should not be discounted simply because at first glance psychology looks like it has nothing to do with weddings (though, if your planner has counseling training, that could come in handy right before your marriage ceremony!).
Ultimately, like with choosing a wedding officiant, you’re going to select someone who makes you feel both comfortable and confident that the details of your day will be seen to and taken care of completely. You’re going to have to meet with a few people before you make your final decision. Hopefully knowing what to look for will help speed the process along!