To be a wedding planner, you must be knowledgeable of weddings and traditions, adept at project management, able to run a small business and good at communicating. There is no requirement to have a college degree, but there are colleges that offer training specific to wedding planning such as the Certified Wedding Planner program at the University of Central Florida. There are also professional organizations offering training and certification, including the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners and the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Planners.
Running a Business
You will be running a small business as a wedding planner, and your responsibilities will include preparing a budget, setting prices, negotiating contracts, billing vendors, invoicing couples and doing basic accounting. The best college courses for preparing you for these tasks are found in a business department. You could consider courses in financial management or managerial accounting, but a course in business management to provide you with operational knowledge and an entrepreneurship course to cover start-up issues would be particularly beneficial.
Getting your business off the ground entails marketing. People have to know about you and your business, and they have to have a reason to choose you. Branding yourself and writing professional promotional materials are essential. It is important to network, build a social media presence and utilize media outlets. Several college courses provide relevant knowledge, such as marketing, communications, public relations, advertising and promotions, but an introduction to marketing course along with a business writing course should be sufficient.
A wedding planner is an event planner and event producer. You need to be skilled at preparing a timeline and knowing when to select venues, negotiate with vendors and execute contracts. It is important to be able to manage the expectations of others and delegate or contract out duties when necessary. Some instruction in project management is critical. Look for courses with titles such as project leadership, project execution, project management and event coordination.
You are expected to have expertise in such areas as wedding gown styles, what jewelry and accessories are most complementary to a particular look and how a theme is carried through from food and decorations to music. These skills are associated with fashion and styling. Courses that can enhance these skills are fashion design, merchandising or decorating. However, most of this knowledge is going to come from experience and involvement in the profession.