Do you get a thrill out of working hard to make other people's wishes come true? Then a career as a wedding planner or bridal consultant just may be in your future. From an outside perspective, wedding planning is all about cascading floral arrangements, sumptuous cuisine, and romantic table-scapes. In... real life, wedding planning may be slightly less glamorous.
Wedding planners often work long hours — up to 100 or more per event — and must be willing to get their hands dirty with glue gun projects or chocolate fountain mishaps. Wedding planners ensure that every detail meets the couple's expectations, often intervening when vendors aren't delivering on their promises. Many wedding planners say they love the hard work though, because they are able to build a career by making others happy.
In the past, many wedding planners got their start with jobs in hotels, resorts, and catering halls. While hands-on experience in the service industry is still useful for landing a job in wedding planning, wedding professionals are increasingly pursuing formal training in the field. You might choose to earn a bachelor degree or an advanced degree in business or marketing, with a focus on event planning, to prepare for a career in the wedding industry. Other students complete online wedding planning certificate programs, which are expressly concentrated on wedding budgeting, bookings, customs and traditions.
Some online certificate programs in wedding planning may be endorsed by regional or national organizations. Finding a program that is affiliated with a hospitality or event planning organization may ensure that your coursework is informed by current industry standards. You might study topics as diverse as floral arrangement, menu planning, contract preparation, accounting, business communication, and legal issues. Since experience is so essential in preparing for a successful career as a wedding planner, both campus-based and online certificate programs often help you coordinate internships that might allow you to observe professionals in related fields.
Overall, employment in event planning and similar occupations is expected to grow 44 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.* However, job prospects for wedding planners can be greatly affected by changes in the overall economy. Thus, if the economy falters, you can expect there to be less demand for professional wedding planners as individuals scale back on their wedding budgets. To offset the impact of seasonality (most weddings are spring through fall affairs) or economic downturns, you may wish to study professional planning that includes topics in general event planning. This way, your client base may also include companies and nonprofit organizations.
* The preceding information was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) online resource, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition," available at: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm
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