Wedding Coordinator Career Info
|Education||None; specialized training program may improve career outlook|
|Training||Credentialing and training courses offered through professional organizations|
|Licensure/Certification||Business license is required; voluntary certifications are available|
|Key Skills||Strong organizational, communication, customer-service, negotiation, problem-solving, business, and marketing skills; proficiency in database and budgeting software; familiarity with social networking|
|Salary||$38,417 (2016 median annual wage for wedding planners)|
Sources: American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com
Wedding coordinators, also known as wedding planners or bridal consultants, are specialized event planners who focus solely on the logistics and details of wedding ceremonies and receptions. They may assist couples in everything from picking a venue to choosing a color scheme for decorations and attire. Typically, a wedding coordinator will work with a couple for the entire duration of their wedding planning process.
Event planners usually work for private companies, and about one in ten of these professionals were self-employed in 2014, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wedding coordination can be hectic and demanding, but also very rewarding as planners help couples create their dream wedding. Coordinators are in greater demand during peak wedding season in the spring and summer and may work long hours during this period.
Wedding coordinators should have strong organizational skills, as well as strong communication skills, strong customer service skills, strong problem-solving and negotiation skills, proficiency in database and budgeting software, and familiarity with social networking. According to PayScale.com, in 2016, wedding planners made a median annual salary of $38,417 in the United States.
Step 1: Attend a Training Program
Becoming a wedding coordinator doesn't require a college degree or specialized training. However, a number of professional wedding planning organizations offer courses and credentialing opportunities for aspiring bridal consultants. Training may be offered online or through on-site seminars and workshops. Students who undergo specialized training in wedding coordination can expect to take classes that cover topics like budgetary management, vendor appointments, religious ceremonies, wedding attire, wedding stationery, and wedding etiquette.
Depending on the type of training, successful completion of a program may result in earning a specialized credential, like the Certified Wedding Planner or Professional Wedding Consultant designation. Earning such credentials may give coordinators an edge in this competitive job market.
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Step 2: Develop a Business Plan and Obtain Licensing
A successful wedding coordinator operates as a small business. As with any business endeavor, drawing up a detailed business plan with important milestones is essential. City, county, or state regulations for business licenses vary, although they are generally not difficult to obtain.
Contracts should be a part of every wedding coordinator's business plan to ensure that both the planner and the couple are protected legally. The contract should include pricing, payment arrangements, and services, as well as any other elements or provisions the planner wishes to include.
To succeed as a wedding coordinator, professional relationships with more than one vendor in any given service should be developed. The more vendors a coordinator has established relationships and potential discounts with, the more clients he or she may attract. Having a professional website can make it easier for a coordinator to promote his or her services through social networking.
Wedding coordinators also need to have a strong portfolio that demonstrates their best work. The portfolio should include photographs of weddings they have planned. If a coordinator has a website, they can include their portfolio on the site to make it easy for potential clients to see weddings the coordinator has planned.
Step 3: Join a Professional Organization
Membership with an organization, such as the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP), may provide networking opportunities to evaluate and establish an affiliation with reputable vendors and service providers. These organizations usually offer certification options, which may further the reputation of an aspiring wedding coordinator. Professional organizations offer other benefits to members, including client referrals and legal support.
Step 4: Consider Certification
While certification is not required in this field, obtaining a voluntary certification can help a wedding coordinator stand out. For example, the AACWP offers the Certified Wedding Planner certification, which requires the completion of an AACWP-approved training course, proof of a business license, proof of planning three weddings in an 18-month period, and evidence of advertising.
Step 5: Continue Education
Wedding coordinators can continue their education through classes, workshops, or seminars. Continuing education can help a coordinator stay current on trends in the wedding industry, as well as help him or her continue to improve sales and marketing skills. Continuing education options are commonly available through professional organizations.
While there are no formal education requirements for an aspiring wedding coordinator, those interested in working in the field may want to concentrate on building a social network, taking some relevant courses, developing a business plan, and earning a business license.