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Wedding Planner: Job Duties, Occupational Outlook, and Education Requirements

Research what it takes to become a wedding planner. Learn about job duties, education requirements, and occupational outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

What Is a Wedding Planner?

A wedding planner is a specialized type of event planner that coordinates wedding details. Wedding planners must often create schedules, communicate with vendors, and manage any necessary paperwork. They work within the specifications of the client, helping them scout locations and decide on the arrangements. Their level of involvement is wholly dependent on the client. It has a reputation for being a strenuous job as it can involve around-the-clock work hours.

See the table below for information on education requirements, job outlook, and salary for this career.

Degree Required Diploma or equivalent; Bachelor's or associate's degree helpful
Education Field of Study Event planning and management
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 7% for all meeting, convention, and event planners
Median Annual Salary (2019)** $41,665

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Would My Job Duties as a Wedding Planner Be?

Wedding planners, often referred to as bridal consultants, create wedding schedules, manage vendor relationships, respond to client needs and manage paperwork. Your job is to ensure that the overall vision of the bride and groom is executed, which could include consulting with clients about the wedding's theme and décor, the ceremony and reception.

As a wedding planner, your role could vary from handling all the details of an event, to creating timelines and offering suggestions, to coordinating the wedding day only. Your client's budget must always be considered, so you should have excellent networking and negotiation skills.

If you choose to specialize in specific area of wedding planning, like destination weddings, ethnic weddings or wedding-day-only coordination, it could help you corner a niche in this competitive market.

What Education and Experience Do I Need?

A high school diploma is generally all that's needed to work as a wedding planner. Experience in the industry is the most important tool for getting jobs and career advancement. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of convention, event and meeting planners (which includes wedding planners) with educational training is increasing due to stiff competition for jobs.

Wedding planning continuing education certificates are available at many community and technical colleges. These certificates typically meet for a few hours a week over a period of few weeks or months. You may learn the basics of research, design, wedding customs and etiquette, budgeting and vendor management.

Associate and bachelor degree programs in event planning and management, as well as professional certificate programs, are offered at a number of 4-year colleges and universities. These programs often have wedding planning as a part of the curriculum, in addition to classes in marketing and management, destination planning, food and wine selection, green event planning and entertainment.

Are Any Certifications Available?

National credentialing is generally not available for wedding planning. However, a certification in event management, such as the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) offered by the International Special Events Society, may be helpful for career and pay advancement, as well as giving you a competitive edge. The CSEP certification requires that you have at least three years of professional experience in planning special events (www.ises.com).

What Is the Career Outlook?

According to the BLS, the number of jobs in meeting, convention, and event planning is projected to increase by 7% between 2018 and 2028, which is faster than the national average for all professions. Wedding planner salaries vary greatly depending on region and experience, but according to PayScale.com, the median salary was $41,665 as of November 2019, though some professionals earned up to $78,000.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You might consider branching out into more broad planning areas, typically referred to as just event planning or coordinating. If you enjoy the organizational aspect of wedding planning, you may like a career as a director of operations. A director of operations may handle employee productivity, research and development sectors, and other administrative tasks. Unlike a wedding planner, someone in this occupation requires a college degree and extensive experience. Given the nature of these jobs, negotiation skills are a must. Another job that only requires a high school diploma like wedding planning is that of a travel agent. These professionals advise clients on their travel plans and may arrange accommodations or build itineraries for them.