A wedding designer collaborates with couples to help them plan a wedding event. While a postsecondary education is not a requirement of this profession, many designers have either an associate's or bachelor's degree in a field related to event planning. These professionals must be comfortable working under pressure.
Wedding designers create the theme, color scheme and flavor of the event. Usually, they meet with couples to talk about design ideas for the wedding and then produce sketches and models to demonstrate options. Designers work with wedding planners and vendors to implement the design plan. Most wedding designers enter the career field with an undergraduate certificate or degree in a field like event planning, though there's no specific level of education required for the job. Work experience and a portfolio of past wedding designs are important for these professionals.
|Required Education||None specified; certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree is typical|
|Other Requirements||Work experience, design portfolio|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||10% for all event, meeting and convention planners*|
|Median Salary||$46,840 for all event, meeting and convention planners in 2015*; $35,492 for all wedding consultants in 2016**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
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Career Information for Wedding Designers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) refers to wedding planners and designers as specialized event planners (www.bls.gov). As a niche category, wedding designers are different from wedding planners. For instance, designers create the theme and visual look of the wedding, whereas planners deal with the specific details of ordering items and scheduling vendors.
Some designers specialize in particular wedding elements, such as the dress, cake or invitations. Others design everything to fit within an aesthetic idea or color scheme. After meeting with the couple, designers draft theme options and present these sketches and models to the clients. Designers often work with wedding planners who help combine the artistic vision with the reality of the couple's budget and time constraints.
Designers possess an understanding of how to use light, colors and textures within a specific space to create a desired effect. They should also know where to position tables, lighting fixtures and decorations to complement the wedding without interfering with guests. Wedding designers specializing in fashion should stay current with industry trends by researching magazines and bridal shows.
The BLS reports that event, meeting and convention planners, including wedding designers, earned a median annual income of $46,840 as of May 2015. For comparison, PayScale.com gave the median annual salary for wedding consultants - who may also include wedding designers - as $35,492 in 2016. Job growth for event, meeting and convention planners is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations, with a 10% projected employment expansion during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov).
Wedding Designer Requirements
Although there is no industry standard, many wedding designers possess a professional certificate, an associate's or a bachelor's degree. Recent experience in the industry is typically more valuable to clients than coursework; therefore, gaining hands-on experience and building a portfolio while studying is crucial. Designers need to communicate their ideas effectively and be able to work under pressure.
Certificate programs are offered by institutions and industry professionals. Most programs last 1-8 months. Some are provided online through broadcasted webinars. Many certificate programs focus on event planning in general but offer trade-specific courses like wedding trends, bridal fashion and special events design. The majority of these programs include coursework related to the planning side of weddings instead of focusing purely on design.
Several undergraduate degree programs could prove useful to wedding designers, such as majors in fashion merchandising, hospitality or business management. Useful coursework for wedding designers could include textiles, design and merchandising, culinary management, consulting and leadership. These programs usually take 2-4 years to complete.
Possessing a strong design portfolio and planning experience is essential for wedding designers, and a good way to gain hands-on experience can be through a degree or certificate program. Wedding designers need to know how to manipulate specific design elements like lighting and color in order to complement an event's theme. Some wedding designers choose to specialize in a specific aspect of planning, such as focusing on the cake or dress.