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Wedding Planner and Happy CoupleAlong with photographers, bakers, caterers, and florists, event planners have slowly become a staple of the wedding industry. For nearly 40 years, these professionals have helped couples pull together a whole range of disparate elements and craft well-executed nuptial celebrations. Where did these miracle workers come from, and how do they play such an important part in the big day? The answers to these questions may surprise you.

The History of Wedding Planners 

Industry resource Weddings for a Living traces the origins of the wedding planner to the early 1980s. Lavish affairs became more of the norm after the televised nuptials of Prince Charles to then Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. This event likely provided a shot in the arm to the wedding industry, but female relatives working behind the scenes still sometimes handled organizing these celebrations. This would change in 2001 with the release of the movie “The Wedding Planner,” once again bringing these professionals to the spotlight, and their popularity may have been fueled by television shows such as “Bridezillas” and “Say Yes to the Dress.”

With couples marrying later and both careers and education taking center stage in their lives, wedding planners rose up to fill an important need for time-crunched individuals. While there aren’t any clear statistics on the number of wedding consultants in the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that more than 116,000 event planners were actively working in 2016. That number is expected to increase by 11 percent until 2026, but wedding planners themselves may face new challenges due to more couples turning to apps and other tools to organize their celebrations on their own.

A Special Blend of Skills and Expertise 

As The Balance writer Dawn Rosenberg McKay explains, many wedding planners are self-employed. Those who don’t can seek employment with existing firms, with some earning commissions based on the services they sell instead of earning fixed salaries. For those who want to take the entrepreneurial route, it’s essential to have enough capital for initial expenses and understand how to effectively run a business. Entrepreneur currently estimates that startup costs run under $2,000 for most consultants.

Higher education isn’t a necessity to become a wedding planner, but Rosenberg McKay points out that several professional associations offer their own training and certification programs. Consultants who want formal schooling usually opt for event management programs, but the BLS also lists communications, business, business management, and hospitality management as other top curricula choices. These professionals pull from a wide range of skill sets to deliver services to their clients:

  • Problem solving
  • Time management
  • Communication and negotiation
  • Budgeting
  • Organization

In addition, most planners will need expertise in aesthetic design, have a working knowledge of relevant religious and cultural customs, stay on top of trends, remain calm under pressure, and be willing to research to fill in knowledge gaps as needed.

A Network of Consummate Professionals

Several domestic and international professional organizations exist for wedding consultants. Some cater to niche segments of the industry while others have a more generic focus. The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants is one of the most well-known, along with the Association of Bridal Consultants and the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners across the pond. These groups offer training, seminars, and certification along with networking opportunities, directory services, and other benefits for their members.

The wedding planning vocation has existed for less than four decades, but these individuals play an integral role in helping couples bring their visions to life. A consultant brings a unique collection of skills to hire vendors, negotiate contracts and pricing, organize logistics, and stay within budget. For busy adults, this professional can be an indispensable part of ensuring that the big day goes off without a hitch.



Category: Wedding Planning

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