Let’s face it. Most little girls are raised on a daily dose of fairy tales and happy endings. As early as five years old, most girls believe that their lives are akin to any of those Disney princesses – right down to the part where they meet Prince Charming who’ll undoubtedly sweep them off their dainty feet. It is no wonder then that these same girls have grand, elaborate wedding plans even before they reached puberty. And like Cinderella, they often see themselves being helped by a ‘magical godmother’. In the real world, the next best thing to a fairy godmother would be a wedding planner.
Also known as bridal consultants, wedding coordinators or wedding consultants, as the name implies, they are considered as professionals in terms of planning, designing, organizing and managing a client’s wedding for a fee. Brides who want to celebrate their wedding as smooth and as perfectly as humanly possible usually retain the services of a wedding planner.
Not everybody can become a wedding planner. Unlike, say, becoming a police officer or a flight attendant, there is no special course or subject that you can take up in college to be a resounding success. What’s required for this job is a specific set of skills that can relieve the stress produced by the upcoming event and thus will prevent the bride (or the in-laws, for that matter) from ever transforming into a bride-zilla.
Of course, one might have reservations in pursuing this highly lucrative career. After all, will the money be enough to compensate the physical and mental duress that a bride inevitably transfers to her wedding planner? The answer varies on a number of factors but it is quite established that wedding planner salaries have a wide range from $100K to a bare minimum of $15K a year. The great difference in expected salaries usually depends on the following factors:
Expertise – The number of years that you spent in the business plays a big factor on your profitability. It usually takes two to four years to fully jump start your business and for your calendar to be teeming with clients’ names. This is the main reason why most wedding planners start out as part-time coordinators before thinking of opening a business of their own. Aside from gaining experience, it is also a great way of establishing ties and accumulating credentials which you can exploit for future use when you finally decide to strike on your own.
Business Knowledge – Though as said earlier, there is no special requirement in becoming a wedding planner, veteran wedding consultants advises those who thinks of opening their own wedding planning business to obtain a degree in either hospitality or business (or both) and to attend trainings and certifications that several legitimate professional associations offer. A business degree does come in handy as planners, nowadays, offer services in tiers wherein a full service generates an income of 10 to 15% of the the total wedding cost while partial service generates a specified amount or hourly rate.
Connections – As Jennifer Lopez’ movie, ‘Maid in Manhattan’ once pointed out: “It is not what you do. It’s who you know and what they can do”. Wedding planners need a vast number of contacts if they want to stay afloat in the business. Caterers, bakers, florists, musicians, photographers, printers – these are a wedding planner’s best friend. Aside from making the workload a little lighter, they even offer discounts that often are a saving grace in budgeting the event. Furthermore, referrals and word-of-the-mouth from previous clients, client’s guests or other wedding professionals are the bread and butter of a wedding planner. Good reputation, connection and location are the key ingredients for success in this business.
Advertising your self – Invest in printing calling cards, portfolios and brochures, even creating a website that promotes your business. Join bridal fairs that can expose your business to future brides and showcase your services. It would also help if you join specific organizations that offers a support network and assist you in fulfilling requirements such as your license and business insurance. Also, clients are more likely to be impressed if you affiliated yourself with certified organizations because it oozes professionalism on your end.
Just remember the golden rule in the wedding planning business: Patience is a virtue. Don’t fret if you are not being overwhelmed by clients at the start. Having a single client and planning her wedding is also a form of advertisement. A satisfied client will tell her friends how wonderful and perfect her wedding was and would probably speak of your services in high, flying colors.
Planning your own wedding can be stressful but undeniably it is fun too. This feeling can occur even to the calmest and cool bride to be. There are many instances wherein your patience can be tested by members of the entourage or even your own mother or anyone who has something to say about the wedding. Whoever and whatever it is that makes you lose your composure and poise, here are some notes that will bring back your sanity while planning and anticipating that wedding of yours.
Plan a night with your groom to be. Make it romantic but no wedding talks this time around. You can even bring him to a spa and have your finger nails manicured; you two can get a massage, a hair treatment, do something that is soothing and indulge yourselves into the relaxing effect this spa time gives you both. Go and make massages a weekly ritual with your fiancé. Buy some scented oil and lotions and take turns in massaging your body.
Meet with your friends. Again, no wedding talk allowed. Laugh and dance with your girl friends just like the way you did before. Social time is important to keep you sane. Laugh, it creates feel good attitude.
Exercising is for de-stressing. Do yoga classes or evening walks. Do not skip these things just because you are planning your wedding. Making time to exercise keeps your mind relaxes and gives you energy to handle all the things that must be done.
Bond with nature and be sure to leave your cellular phone behind. Go for a walk at the beach or in the woods or at the park. Breathe the fresh air and make notice of the green leaves and tall trees. Take a look at the waves and think about something relaxing than your wedding. You can also stop by the park and watch the kids play on the ground. You can even call your nephews and nieces to watch them play. Listen to the children’s laughter and the joy they take while playing. This can be really fun.
Pay your relatives a visit. Just stop by for a coffee with your grandmother and update what is happening with her.
Surprise your fiancé by booking an overnight stay at a hotel. Create a mini vacation for you two. Order a room service and watch a movie together in bed.
Ask your fiancé to go for a drive through upscale neighbourhoods in your area, see beautiful landscape and dream of the future you will have together.
Reading a good book is nice thing to do too, find something that is funny or a book that will interest you. No wedding oriented; nothing stressful in that way.
Allot time to play and watch a cultural festival, a concert play or a dance performance. Look for events that are free and check out the newspapers for a list of festivals going on your area.
Play with your fiancé to de-stress. A snowball fight, a board game like scrabble or monopoly can ease out the stress you are feeling.
Keep notes of things that has been going right with your wedding planning and in your life. Look back to it often when you need to de-stress a little bit.