There is no doubt that being a wedding planner can be fun and incredibly rewarding. Going to catering and cake tastings, choosing linens and helping clients decide on the perfect centerpieces are absolutely fun. Seeing months of hard work come together on a perfect wedding day is one of the most rewarding experiences many planners experience in their careers. Being a wedding planner also has great perks such as being invited to all the industry parties, going to uber fun conferences and staying at incredible hotels while you “tour” the event space. We also get to work with wonderful clients on one of the most important days in their life. Having a career as a wedding planner can seem pretty glamorous but there are definitely reasons why you wouldn’t want to become a wedding planner. There are days when I can hardly believe I get paid to do something I love so much but there are also days when there is not enough money in the world to make me plan or coordinate a particular wedding again. Here are twelve things to seriously consider before you start a career as a wedding planner:
1. Weekend and evening work
Weekend events and evening client meetings take time away from family and friends. Being a wedding planner means having a work schedule that doesn’t match the standard 9-5 week day gig. If you own your business, you can set boundaries to help with this and plan other types of events to balance your schedule. However the reality is that 95% of weddings happen on Saturdays and many of your clients need to meet after work for planning meetings.
2. Physical and mental hard work
Working on the wedding day is HARD work. I remember my first wedding so well… I was beyond excited to work with my first clients but had no idea I would be so completely exhausted at the end of the night. Spending 10-15 hours on your feet and being mentally “on” is exhausting no matter how good of shape you are in. And it gets harder as you get older.
3. Wedding hangover
It’s how you feel the day after a wedding. It’s like you ran a race then went out drinking all night. In reality, you are dehydrated, sore and tired from working a wedding (see #2).
4. Tough clients
As much as you try to weed out the clients who aren’t your ideal clients, there will be some who slip through the cracks. Having difficult clients can take its toll mentally. It’s already a stressful job but when you have clients who add to that stress, you will question why you chose this career. You have to be able to walk away from the wrong client when your intuition tells you something is wrong.
5. Emotional connection
It’s an intense industry with emotional brides and emotional mothers on a very emotional day. Many planners grow close to their clients which means you work harder because you care so much (this is a good thing). On the flip side, it is hard not to take it personally if something goes wrong or if your clients are not 100% happy with your services or ideas. If you get your feelings hurt easily, this might not be the profession for you.
6. It’s not your wedding
Working with clients means making THEIR dream and vision come true. This can be a challenge for some event planners who want to keep recreating their own wedding or imposing their vision on clients. You will end up planning a wedding that doesn’t fit your style or taste and you have to be okay with that.
7. Extreme patience
If you don’t have patience, determination and thick skin, a career in wedding planning is probably not a good fit. It will take a few years before you are comfortable in your business and comfortable working with brides. Then it will take a few more years to get your name established, make a decent living and start seeing referrals.
8. You are not a “people” person
Planners work with many different kinds of clients and vendors. The wedding industry is very social and being a planner is probably the most social vendor category in the industry. If you are introverted, shy or don’t like to be around people, being a planner could be a difficult career choice. This isn’t to say that you can’t overcome those personality traits but it is something to consider. Being an event planner may be the encouragement you need to overcome shyness.
9. Not able to handle stress
Being an event coordinator was just listed on Forbes.com as the 6th most stressful career. Out of ALL careers! Many of us choose this career because we thrive on the excitement, the challenge and the madness that happens on the wedding day. We live to solve problems, keep everything on time and manage 20+ vendors without breaking a sweat. If you can handle stress AND keep your cool, this might be a good career for you.
10. Multi-tasking and organization
Being a wedding planner takes multi-tasking and organization to a whole new level. Not only do you have to multi-task and remember the million things on your mind, you have to think and act quickly. During the planning process, you could be working with 10-20 different couples at a time. If you aren’t extremely organized, it will show in your work and in your reputation.
Confidence in yourself is a big key to your success in event planning. A big ego is not.
12. No passion
Don’t embark on a wedding planning career unless you are passionate about it. To be successful and thrive, you have to LOVE what you do. Many planners make incredible sacrifices to be successful. This just doesn’t happen without BIG passion. Along with passion, integrity is just as important.
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