Certificate programs, often available online, offer information on every aspect of planning a wedding. Students learn about wedding traditions, get training in organizational skills, and learn about running their own wedding planning business.
Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in hospitality and tourism often offer a concentration in event planning or the option of earning a certificate in event planning. Courses in these 2- and 4-year programs are sometimes available online, but on-campus courses are more widely available. To apply, students must have a high-school diploma or its equivalent.
Certificate in Wedding Planning
Wedding planners need to have a solid understanding of wedding traditions, be well organized, and be able to create and maintain schedules and budgets. Certificate programs are designed to help students create and maintain their own wedding consulting business. A background in business or hospitality is helpful but not necessary to be admitted to a program.
Classes may be taken online in some programs and are designed for the schedules of working students. Students study many business skills such as budgeting, contracts and professional etiquette. Some programs offer internships. Possible class topics include:
- Wedding protocols
- Organizing the event
- Creating a contract
- Pricing and payment options
- Small business management
Associate Degree in Hospitality and Tourism
Students interested in planning weddings may choose to study for an associate's degree in hospitality and tourism. Many programs offer an event planning emphasis or provide certificate opportunities. An associate's degree can help recipients qualify for management and supervisory positions.
Event planning courses teach students research, advertising, event design and business skills. Some programs provide mock events or simulated businesses that their students practice managing. Check below for some likely course topics:
- Interpersonal communication
- Business management
- Hospitality software applications
- Event catering
- Events: inception to implementation
Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management
Hospitality, tourism and event management programs focus on the business of making events less stressful for clients. Enrollees may benefit from a minor, dual major or certificate in business. Students with a bachelor's degree are prepared to enter management positions with hotels, resorts, and catering companies, convention centers and more.
Students learn business management, event planning and hospitality skills. Some programs require an internship with a study-abroad option. A hands-on hospitality business capstone may be required. Common course topics are listed below:
- Food and beverage management
- Business finance
- Hospitality location operations
- Sanitation rules and regulations
- Event management duties
Certificate recipients don't have to start their own wedding consultation business. The information presented in these programs can be used for a number of other related occupations. Some alternate job titles are listed below:
- Special events caterer
- Bridal consultant
- Weddings writer
- Bridal shop manager
Students with an associate's or bachelor's degree have the skills to open their own business or join the staff at any hospitality location. Job titles may include:
- Convention coordinator
- Catering specialist
- Guest services representative
- Hotel steward
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that job opportunities for meeting, convention and event planners will grow by 10% between 2014 and 2024, faster than average (www.bls.gov). BLS tied growth in these fields to increased demand for conventions and meetings due to businesses expanding internationally.
In May 2015, the BLS reported a median salary of $46,840 a year for meeting, convention and event planners. The highest paid planners received salaries of $82,050 and up, while the lowest paid workers received $25,680 or less per year (www.bls.gov).
Certificate programs provide students with the skills and education necessary to plan both the business and operational aspects specifically of weddings. Degree programs are more comprehensive, teaching wedding planning as well as the management of other types of events, and include general education coursework. Both certificate and degree programs give individuals the ability to work in a variety of related fields or even open their own business.