With weddings costing an average of $28,000 each, it seems there is a lot of money to be made in the bridal industry.
A wedding planner stands to make a decent amount of money through their work. It is becoming more and more common for brides to enlist the help of wedding planners from start to finish in executing their big day.
They consult with a wedding planner on everything from the invitations and the dress to the timing of the ceremony and signing their marriage license. All that is to say, a wedding planner can earn a substantial fee if they do their job well.
Plus, if a wedding planner builds relationships with local businesses that are willing to offer a finder’s fee for sending work their way, it can be an even more profitable career.
With many planning jobs, it seems like they need a degree from an accredited college or university. This can make it difficult to get such jobs, especially for those who don’t already have the degree, or a similar one.
So do you need a degree to become a wedding planner?
You Don’t Need A Degree At All!
Unlike being a cosmetologist or an electrician, there is no formal education requirement if you would like to open your very own wedding planning business. There is no wedding planner degree required.
In fact, the only requirement for starting your own wedding planning business is that you pay whatever local business fees are applicable and get a business license (which is different than a wedding planner license; a business license simply allows you to open and run a business in your locality). Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
However, because you can begin your very own wedding planning business, that doesn’t mean doing so is a good idea.
Without experience or knowledge, you’re not likely to be able to attract clients. If you’ve yet to plan a wedding, it is not likely to find yourself doing so without any practice or knowledge to be a simple thing.
So, in theory at least, you don’t need a degree to become a wedding planner. But while there are no wedding planner education requirements, learning the ropes of event planning and other aspects of the wedding industry will enable you to become a skillful wedding planner.
But You Should Have SOME Education
Just because you CAN open your own wedding planning business without any wedding planner schooling, it does not mean that you should.
A lack of basic education in wedding planning is not going to be an asset to you or to your clients. It’s going to hinder you as you attempt to grow your business and follow business regulations and taxes.
It can also hinder you as you attempt to interface with other businesses to arrange the wedding.
Luckily, you can earn this kind of education easier than you might think.
Community colleges and distance learning programs offer flexible ways to obtain this knowledge. Further, expert wedding planners will often share some of their secrets and take on interns who want to learn the ins and outs of wedding planning.
Our recommendation? Start with some basic wedding planner education before launching your career.
How Years of Experience Affects Wedding Planner Pay
The main draw of a degree for a wedding planner is potential salary. However, wedding planners with more experience tend to receive higher pay.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for wedding planners changes depending on the number of years of experience they have.
In the US, wedding planners with virtually no experience earn an average salary of $45,585. This doesn’t include any additional forms of compensation like bonuses, sales commissions, etc.
The next step up is entry level, or 1-3 years of experience. In this category, wedding planners make about 7% more than those with no experience, or around $48,622. In addition, many wedding planners report earning even more through additional commissions.
So how does the salary stack up far into the future? Apparently, wedding planners with more than 15 years of experience earn the most, with a base salary of $65,632 and upwards of $40,271 in additional pay.
Based on this information, it’s safe to say that education isn’t the most important factor when it comes to your success as a wedding planner.
What Kind of Wedding Planner Education Could Be Helpful?
There are a wide variety of educations that could be beneficial in your quest to become a wedding planner. What kind of education you choose to seek is up to you, but the following can be of the most use to you.
Education in Event Planning
Weddings are, at their core, large events with many moving parts. If you can plan a benefit dinner or a charity auction event, you can apply those same skills to planning a wedding. If you can plan a concert with a rented venue and known bands, you can plan a wedding.
However, as you know as an aspiring wedding planner, a wedding is the most important day in the couple’s life. When a couple hires a wedding planner, they are trusting that person to help them think of the little details and make sure the day runs smoothly.
Do you need a degree to be a wedding planner? No. But, that doesn’t mean you can just fly blind into the profession. Taking the time to understand all that goes into planning such a large event will benefit your wedding planning business in the long run.
A great way to get some wedding planning experience is to find a mentor or complete an internship with an established wedding planner.
There are many tricks of the trade that you can sometimes only learn from other wedding planners. This unofficial wedding planner education requirement may help you be the best wedding planner possible.
General Business Education
Understanding how to run a business in general will be a useful skill in running your very own business.
Included in this broad range of topics is how to balance your accounting books, file business taxes, ensure your budget encompasses all your expenses, and organize client data.
Being smart on the basics of business can help you keep your wedding planning gig running smoothly so you can focus on planning the actual wedding!
Religious or Sociological Education
Understanding the role that weddings play in society, as well as how they’re viewed by different groups is important. It helps sculpt a wedding to specific needs. A wedding for a Hindu family is likely to be a much different experience than a Catholic wedding.
While this isn’t the traditional schooling you think of when wondering about wedding planner education requirements, being educated on cultural norms and expectations for various clients can help your wedding planning business secure more clients.
Education in Fields Related to the Wedding
Fields like photography, floral arrangements, and other similar fields can help you to understand what you can and cannot expect from the people who help to put together the wedding.
For example, knowing when the photographer needs to arrive to realistically snap all the shots the bride and groom will want is valuable knowledge you can share with your client.
Similarly, being familiar with the price of floral arrangements and having alternative suggestions can be a budget-saver for your client. These little details will make your wedding planning services unique and desirable.
Does Wedding Planner Education Include Certification?
While certification isn’t necessary to become a wedding planner, it is a great step for those who already have some experience. Essentially, a certification is a professional credential that helps ensure potential clients of your expertise.
Currently, the largest provider of certifications is The American Association of Certified Wedding Planners or AACWP.
They offer three options for those aspiring toward a wedding planner certification: in-house training, online group training, and a self-led program. While these options are less expensive than getting a traditional degree, they are still more pricey than other forms of education.
In addition, the course provides only the basic Trained Wedding Planner title rather than a fully-fledged certification. Remember that these programs are mostly for individuals who have some experience working in the wedding industry.
For those just starting out, it might be best to do a course that teaches the fundamentals of design, coordination, setup, takedown, and business management.
At Stratford Career Institute, we cover all of the basics of wedding planning, from running your own business to collaborating with other vendors.
Start Your Wedding Planner Career Today
If you have an interest in becoming a wedding planner, or even just want some guidance in planning your own wedding, you can begin with a thorough and affordable distance learning Wedding Consultant Course offered by Stratford Career Institute.