Wedding planning can be a good business opportunity for someone who’s good at working with people and who has a keen eye for beauty. It is also important to have a keen eye for detail and be able to manage the sometimes crazy bridezillas. So if you feel you have the necessary skill set here are some strategies to help you get started.
Job shadow with a pro
To learn the ropes, find a wedding planner willing to let you tag along. Since you’ll be the competition one day, you might try to find one in another area, such as when you go to visit family or friends in another region, for example. Let the wedding planner know you’re looking to enter the field -- and that you’ll be living elsewhere -- and ask to follow them around for a day, or even during the entire wedding planning process.
Ask lots of questions about networking, how they find clients, do’s and dont’s of booking caterers, musicians and other contractors -- but also try to be helpful and don’t overload this already-busy professional.
Work in the business
You might even seek out part-time work as a wedding planner’s assistant, but don’t be surprised when your boss is less than pleased to find out you’ve been making plans to strike out on your own.
Offer to do a freebie or two
If you have a friend or family member who can’t afford a full-fledged wedding planner, this is your chance to get some experience and referrals. Offer to do the job for free -- or accept a work-trade opportunity such as trading for whatever services the bride and groom can offer -- with the caveat that they also refer you to five friends, and that they write you a review for your website and social media channels.
Put together a portfolio
Reviews won’t be enough to entire future clients, however. As you plan weddings, add photos to a portfolio that you can show to prospective couples. Develop a quality website that displays some of the images from your portfolio, but also bring the physical portfolio to meetings you have with prospective clients.
Network with people in the business
Many cities have bridal shows and other bridal events throughout the year, which can be great places to meet people offering wedding spaces as well as caterers, dress shop owners, florists, musicians, DJs, hotels, and other people you’ll need to hire on behalf of your clients.
Print up some nice-looking business cards and pass them around -- and then start keeping your own contact list. As you get going, create an email newsletter for your business, and send information about special deals, wedding ideas and other information to the people on the list. As you start to make good connections with these contractors, ask to develop partnerships with them, where they’ll promote you on their own websites in exchange for you doing the same.
And speaking of bridal shows, set up your own booth there as well -- chances are you’ll get at least a few prospective clients out of the deal.
Be where the brides are
Also join the chamber of commerce, women’s social clubs or other business networking groups in your area, where you can meet potential clients and contractors. Think of other places you can meet brides or mothers of the bride, such as exercise classes or women’s bridge clubs, and visit them often.
Like most businesses, your wedding planning enterprise will probably build slowly, but by continuing to place your focus on networking and creating the dream weddings couples desire, you’ll have a very good chance of success.