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Wedding Wednesday Discussions: Why does everyone want to be a wedding planner?
Since I set up Boho Weddings and Events I have always had a lot of people say to me how much they want to be wedding planner, how much they see it as a dream job…oh so glamorous, all those cake tastings and bridal dress meetings! But recently I have been getting more and more and more letters, phone calls and emails from students and budding wedding planners asking me for a job!
I was encouraged to write this post after my friend Josie at Savoir wrote her own post last week ‘The issue of hiring staff – I need a job please’
So I guess I wanted to write something that pretty much said the same thing but back up what her post was about! Plus I guess It’s something I can direct those million and one applicants that come my way each day.
It appears that there has been a huge rise in the number of people wanting to become wedding planners. Yes we are a lot more popular than we were a few years ago and we certainly are a growing breed within the wedding supplier list. However I do feel that the amount of people wanting to be wedding planners is not equivalent to the amount of work there is out there.
So the two main reasons I won’t or can’t take on any staff or have work placements with me is
I have covered the subject of what a wedding planner gets paid in ‘Wedding Planners and the £value of our service!’ so I don’t want to repeat myself to much again. But what I will say to those budding wedding planners out there is that we don’t get paid a lot! And certainly not enough to pay an assistant, or take on staff!
I of course can only speak on behalf of myself and the type of market I attract which is wedding budgets from £2K – £40K maybe the planners covering weddings for the much higher end bride can afford to have assistants and PA’s but the average wedding planner like me it’s just impossible. I only just about make enough money to keep the business going, there for all the jobs have to be done myself.
Most wedding planers I have found since setting up on my own, all have to have another side line to work with the wedding planning, for some it’s hiring out vintage tea sets (very very popular at the moment) for others it’s training up other wedding planners to become planners, for others it’s styling work……for me it’s this blog! So if you are thinking of becoming a wedding planner it’s a pretty sure bet you are going to need more than one string to your bow!
I work from home and I like it that way. I live in a 3 bed semidetached house and we have converted one of the spare rooms into an office. I don’t have a studio space or an outside office,…my spare room is my office and for that reason there is no space for an intern, or an assistant. When I need to meet with a bride I either meet at the wedding venue, or a coffee shop, ideally ones that sells cupcakes, they don’t come to my home and they never will! I have a summer house at the end of the garden that I store all my wedding stuff in, and if the business gets big enough or if I eventually have babies to fill up the 2 spare rooms I can move everything to the end of the garden and set up an office there……maybe then and only then will I have room for an assistant.
BUT till then I LOVE working from home and my spare room, I love the fact that I don’t have to put make up on, I don’t have to wash my hair and I can work in my oversized jeans and sweat tops……………and the best bit is that I get to spend all day with my cat………..see no room for an assistant!
You may think from all my moaning about the job that I don’t enjoy it, please don’t think that as I LOVE my job! Which is just as well as most of the time it really is a labour of love.
For those future wedding planners out there, these are the things that I didn’t know when I first started and the things that no one told me when I was doing my research
So for those event students, those other students with non-related event degrees, those event planners wanting to move into weddings, those stay at home mums…….oh and then really rude women who rang me last week and sounded so surprised and so perturbed when I cut her off mid-sentence……………….I’m really sorry but I don’t have any jobs, any work experience positions, or any placements, and my reasons are stated quite clearly above.
And for those of you who think wedding planning is going to be your dream job…..honestly think about it carefully, you will never make a million, you will work extremely long hours BUT you will have an amazing time!
Now please don’t think me rude if I don’t reply to your last email, letter or phone call, I think I’ve covered it clearly enough in this post!
Good luck with your chosen career.
For further reading on similar subject matters go to:
Wedding Planner and the Value of our service
What does a wedding planner actually do
Should wedding suppliers take discounts
Great post as always Kelly!
Can I just say I have taken two calls already this morning from people that want to set up a business just like mine! Now I’m always happy taking these calls and answering these emails as I really appreciated all the support and advice when I was setting up.
You are so right about having a side line to wedding planning! Mine is indeed Vintage crockery and lots of other pretty vintage bits!
The work is incredibly hard and demanding, but like you said, very very rewarding and I wouldn’t change my job for a second!
Thank-you Kelly for a really lovely honest blog post xxx
The thought of being a wedding planner makes my blood run cold….you’re either very brave or utterly insane. Probably both :)
Interesting read as always Kelly. It’s a similar situation with many wedding related businesses I reckon. Weddings are so lovely that they appeal to many as a viable employment option. We used to work in recruitment (hospitality) and I can’t tell you how many of the candidates we met who wanted to become wedding planners. No basis to that they just wanted to be a wedding planner! It seems you have to dream job that most people want to do x
Funny you should write this today as I’ve had 3 enquiries already today! I just basically told a girl on the phone everything you say here. It is amazing that wedding planning interests so many people, i jut think they need to do their research before they get in touch with us, as there’s more to being a wedding planner than being like J-Lo ;)
A good post as always Kelly and as someone trying to break into this industry one I read with great interest.
For quite a while now I have been learning, networking, researching, making contacts, building my own blog etc – to ensure I know enough about wedding planning, and have the right industry connections, before jumping in head first and setting up my own business and saying I’m an expert wedding planner – which I’m not. And yes it is true that I look to experienced professionals for guidance and inspiration as you were once in some small way ‘in my shoes’.
But I am not doing this on the back of just a love for ‘weddings’ and to make a quick buck, but a desire to work for myself, doing something that I feel passionate about, know in my heart that I am good at and that is totally rewarding.
I have years and years of marketing, project and event management experience and I feel I have the right expertise to offer to people. Without that experience and expertise I think it would be very difficult for me to even consider this as an option and I know plenty of people who plan one wedding (usually their own) and think that makes them a wedding planning expert!
Yes I do LOVE this industry and the creativity involved but I know it’s not something anyone can just play at. One thing I do know for sure is that working for yourself is HARD WORK, (for me that’s just common sense) there is no doubt about it and it is true in any industry, self-employment is never going to be an easy ride, sacrifices have to be made, you are on demand 24/7 and it is a lifestyle not a job. That much I know. But as more and more people are faced with difficulties in life, like job losses then I can see why a career such as wedding planning seems an attractive or easy option. But like you and Josie have pointed out it is important people do their research first and understand this is never going to be plain sailing or make you into the next Bill Gates.
What would be amazing to see is more collaborative working and hands-on support in the industry. Everyone has something to teach and so many want to learn, for me hands-on experience is critical to my development and far more valuable than anything a course or textbook can teach me. And I will continue to put myself out there in the hope someone will see the benefit of working collaboratively with me and utilizing the skills I have in return for mentoring me and providing an insight into their ‘world’.
Sorry the response got a bit long-winded I am very passionate about this!
Really interesting read as usual kelly, and I can draw so many parallels with wedding photography. Some weeks you end up with more enquiries from students wanting to be photographers than you do from prospective clients and I think that in itself tells you quite a lot about the uk wedding market.
Quite often have a few brides who say they would like to be a wedding planner on the basis of planning their own wedding but I think many see it through rose tinted glasses and don’t realise a) the margins involved b) the time and effort required to promote yourself and c) the organisationl skills required to manage multiple weddings. To the best of my knowledge none of them have actually made the leap.
Kelly I couldn’t agree more, its crazy the amount of people thinking they can “plan a wedding “.
Also I’m sure you hear this a lot ” you have the best job in the world. you just get to work with pretty things all day “. As if it was that easy !.
I wouldn’t change my job for the world though, great post x
Kelly, the last time I checked I think I was on £3.87 an hour…..love or madness I can’t decide but nothing beats working for yourself and working within this wonderful industry and its ‘community’ and ‘network’ of suppliers.
Every year we learn and build our knowledge, our skills, our service, our friends. As the industry flutters and changes, our businesses grow organically and sometimes you get enquiries for behind the scenes info, phone calls that can become interviews, questionaires that appear on the doorstep, when all you want to do is finish your deadlines that you were in the middle of when they phoned or emailed. I will, hands on heart, help everyone and anyone who want to get into this fabulous business but only if they are sincere and appear to have done a little ground work before contacting yourself for advice.
I really enjoyed reading your interesting and honest post Kelly and have just discovered your wednesday discussions!!!!
Good post Kelly, I agree with Matt, wedding photographers get loads of vacancy/experience emails. I remember sending out quite a few when I was after an assisting role. Turned out one of the blokes I asked to assist ended up being the infamous wedding photographer who was all over the sun not so long back, so probably best I got ignored!
I can totally relate to your reasons for wanting to keep the business just to yourself…especially the sweatshirt and unwashed hair lol! I have two Collie assistants as well so no room for any staff. I think people think being a wedding planner is a nice easy career,they see the fun bits in films etc but dont realise all the hours of hard work behind the sceanes and at all hours of the day and night. Great post.
Great post Kelly (again!). We too get many CV’s and enquiries and I tell them exactly the same things which you have said except that I also have to factor in my full time job which I am still doing alongside this at present! We too have made the move to diversify into other things to supplement the income and that is with a candy buffet and chair cover service which are both popular but without them we would really struggle. All the money we are earning at present is being put back into the company to buy stock, pay for wedding fairs and advertising etc so there is definitely none left over for additional staff!
I must say though that placements for students are thin on the ground and we have recently offered some help to an event management student. I think you can be taught some very valuable and informative things in a classroom but the real learning actually comes from being involved in the process! (She is working for free)
Thanks and keep up the good work.
Yes! I agree with your post, Great post…Hiring a wedding planner it’s very important
I totally agree with you. I get emails and even snail mail requests for internships along with resumes (complete with salary demands). While I have 15 years of experience in the event/wedding industry, I have been out on my own for only a year. I am still trying to establish clientele and in this industry, it can take a while. My office is a small space in my great room and my “assistant” is my fiancee. I can’t stress enough that those seeking internships, etc. need to be willing to learn and work for nothing or only work when there is an actual event where a planner needs an assistant. I have colleagues who have established wedding planning businesses that still don’t have assistants or paid interns. If you love this industry as much as I do and you seriously want to learn and go out and be on your own eventually, there is definitely some sacrifices you have to be willing to make.
Agreeing with the guys up top! Love the post Kelly and yes many parrallels to photography in general nevermind weddings!
Thanks for posting
Great post, agree with all your comments. I truly now have the most admiration for anyone who keeps themselves with their own income. Earning you own money is soooo! hard. The job is extremely satisfying and i love the brides I work with. One thing for sure though is you will never be rich. Many strings to your bow is the key as you say.
Hi, I’m a student for events management, and I would like to put across the other side of the story.
Throughout our University experience we are told time and time again how a degree is not enough to get a job after education, please think about how rubbish that feels when you are paying £9000 a year to learn and with maintenance costs on top of this. So what we do is email companies and businesses and ask for any work experience or paid work (because we have no money) to boost our CV’s and learn.
I am currently searching for a years placement which is compulsory for my course and in our introduction session we were told that 100 applications and tentative inquiries was not enough or even unusual! I chose to do Event Management because it suits my skill set and the degree is business based but with a spin on it, but it is so hard to get experience because people assume you are time wasters or get frustrated because they don’t understand your situation. You should feel honored you are getting the calls because this means that there are people looking at your page and thinking here is a successful business they might have time for me.
Yes the industry is small for weddings but often students don’t know what they want and want to try out all areas before making a decision. Thank you for reading and I hope its not too long winded, this is not meant as a mean statement, just to make you think and possible be a bit more understanding and calm with people who are really just trying to be the best they can be.
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