event planning or wedding planning career choice

From the Experts, Your Event Career

Event Planning vs. Wedding Planning: Is There a Difference?

Taking a wedding planner and event management course will open the door for an exciting career in the event industry. As a professional planner, you’ll likely plan a number of unique events through the years. You may choose to keep your resume diverse or choose to specialize in a sect like wedding planning. Wait–you have to specialize in order to plan weddings? Well, yes and no. If you’re confused, not to worry! We’re going to unpack the similarities and differences between the two right now!

Event planning

There are, in fact, some key differences between event planning and wedding planning.

Event planning is the catch-all term describing anyone who plans events and special occasions of any kind. One can become an “event planner” with no particular expertise, coordinating all different types of occasions. Event planners might organize:

If it’s an occasion that involves guests, it can be organized by an event planner! Some event planners choose to never specialize. Who can blame them? With so many different themes, event types, and advancing technologies, having experience in a breadth of different events can lead to a lucrative career in the field. Others, however, specialize in a particular type of event.

For example, you might market yourself as specializing in children’s events, focusing on baby showers, gender reveal parties, and children’s birthday parties. Event planners might also become corporate event planners, with businesses as their main clients.

Event Planning vs. Wedding Planning- Corporate Event and Party Planner

In general, planners who coordinate a wide range of events and have a solid client base don’t often plan weddings. Weddings can be much more complicated and are typically lengthier to plan. The one-year wedding timeline is universally accepted as standard in the wedding industry. Depending on the client, weddings might even be so all-consuming that you don’t have time to handle those and other events at once.

Some planners, however, undergo the training designed for event planners and also specifically for weddings planners in order to maximize their versatility.

Wedding planning

Wedding planners coordinate wedding ceremonies and receptions. They share many of the same skills as event planners. The difference lies in how they tailor their planning process specifically toward a sentimental event. For example, a luxury wedding planner’s knowledge of themes, decor, and types of catering will vary greatly from that of a corporate event planner.

Some experienced wedding planners expand their skills to coordinate other wedding-related events as well. A wedding planner might also coordinate:

Event Planner Jobs vs Becoming a Wedding Planner

Wedding planners might specialize even further. You might train specifically to be a:

Many wedding planners will be specialized in one or more of these fields in order to increase their marketability and to maximize profit.

For the most part, it’s less likely for a destination wedding planner to also plan birthday parties than it is for an event planner to become certified in planning local weddings as well.

Training

Many of the principles that event planners and wedding planners learn in their training are the same. The primary difference is in how they apply those ideas. For example, each type of planner will learn how to conduct a consultation meeting. They’ll both be taught which kinds of questions planners should ask prospective clients in preparation to work together. Event planners, however, are taught the general process of a consultation meeting and then learn to tailor those ideas to different types of events.

Wedding planners, on the other hand, are taught how to conduct a consultation meeting with wedding clients specifically. Depending on the program they take, they might then learn how to tailor that process to clients looking for a specific type of wedding. In general, however, they won’t be taught how to apply those questions and concepts to other types of events like corporate meetings.

Event Planner Jobs vs Becoming a Wedding Planner- Professional Wedding Budget

When a student is studying to become an event planner, their training most often covers different types of events and occasions. They’ll learn about decor, catering, and timelines for planning anniversary parties, conferences, and baby showers in different units. Wedding planners, however, often learn one type of wedding planning per program. Local weddings, destination weddings, and luxury weddings might be covered in separate courses. Course content for any type of event and wedding planning, however, varies depending on where you study.

Certification

In most areas, event planning as a whole is an unregulated industry. This means that you aren’t required to become formally licensed in order to work as an event or wedding planner. You might start as the assistant to an experienced planner and work your way up in the industry through hands on experience. You’ll find, however, that clients are much more hesitant to work with you if you haven’t completed professional training.

Certifcate

Many event and wedding planning programs take one year to complete. You might attend a community college or complete your training online from home. There are, however, degree programs at large colleges and universities for those who wish to get into events management. If, for example, you’re interested in becoming the head wedding and events planner for a reputable hotel or cruise line, you’ll enroll in a degree program focusing on events management and hospitality.

Learn more: Event Planner Certification vs. Degree

Consider your options!

If you love hosting and coordinating parties and events for your friends, you’re probably perfect planner material. Your next step is to investigate your training options and consider the type of event planner you want to be.

Do you picture yourself organizing someone’s dream wedding or handling the details of a big corporate tradeshow?

Do you feel like you’d be more successful studying at a college or online?

Examine your budget and think about your future career goals to help you decide whether event planning, wedding planning, or event and wedding planning is best for you.

Don’t limit yourself to a specific area when you’re just starting out. Getting certified as an Event AND Wedding Planner keeps all doors open as you explore a new industry and start your career. A seemingly “random” event you plan may lead you to your true niche within the industry. So don’t close off any opportunities before you even get started. As your career takes off, you can specialize in one or two key areas. But keep yourself flexible!

Any other differences we missed? Let us know!

Thinking about getting a specialization? Take our quiz to find out what type of events you should specialize in!

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15 responses to “Event Planning vs. Wedding Planning: Is There a Difference?”

  1. Tiffany Shaw says:

    A little nervous when the time comes to do any of these professionally and not just for frinds and family

  2. Hello Corina,
    Thanks for your great blog. You already explained both term.
    I just add some of my experience and knowledge regarding wedding planning and event management.
    According to me “Each wedding planning is an Event, All event is not wedding planning”
    In other word, event planning is broad term . it can be associated with many types of programed. However, Wedding planner is very narrow term.
    Besides, Wedding planning is so stressful than normal event planning .

    Cheers
    Ben

  3. Wow, I had no idea that there are planners who focus on things like tradeshows and baby showers. That’s actually really nice! After all, baby showers can be tough to plan when working with an expecting mother. It would be a lot easier to just leave everything to a professional who will get everything right.

  4. Tony says:

    Good read! And I would just like to give everyone a simple analogy. A Doctor and a Specialized Doctor. Both are physicians nonetheless however, when it comes into a specific point of expertise, both of them are relatively different.

    An Event Planner is like a Doctor while a Wedding Planner is like a Specialized Doctor. All wedding ceremonies are seen as an Event as a whole but not all Events are related to Wedding ceremonies.

    So, having that said, an Event Planner is a general and often a broad term while a Wedding Planner deals with a specific area of event planning.

    Hope I have contributed to your article. Cheers!

  5. Pooja says:

    Information about event management and wedding decors.. Which one has more career options

    1. Katie Deck says:

      Hi Pooja,

      That’s a great question! In Event and Wedding planning, there are a variety of different carer paths to choose from. If you have a more in depth look at our Event and Wedding course, you’ll find out the different topics you can learn about – which may help in deciding which career direction you’d like to go in! Check out the course here: https://www.qceventplanning.com/online-event-courses/event-and-wedding-planning/.

      As always, feel free to contact us if you’d like more information on which course is best for you! 🙂

      The QC Team

  6. Julia says:

    I would like to thanks all the comments that i have read,my question is ,I have my event coordinotor certificate, so do i need to stady agai for wedding course as i like also to do the wedding,
    Thank you
    Julia

    1. Katie Deck says:

      Hi Julia!
      Depending on what you learned in your event coordinator training, you’ll probably benefit by taking a wedding-specific course. Our advice would be to look into the training you’ll receive in a wedding planner class, because it might cover important topics that you didn’t get to in your event coordinator course! Take a peak at the course outline for QC’s wedding planning course to get a better idea on the skills you’ll gain.

      Let us know if you have any other questions! 🙂

  7. recently i have started my business as a wedding planner i want to learn about how to talk with clients and how to get clients can please help me

    1. Katie Deck says:

      Hi Vamshi 🙂

      We’re happy to help you out with some advice on finding wedding planning clients! We have a great article on this topic, where you’ll find some different ways that you can network and attract new clients for your business. You can check it out here.

      You can also see what QC tutor, Candice Coppola, says about attracting your first client in this post!

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  8. Sakura says:

    Really a great post. Worth reading. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Steve says:

    Wedding is very much specific, much more stress, details and work then any other type of event! Thanks for this article, you did a great job!

  10. Event planning is the process of managing a project such as a meeting, convention, trade show, ceremony team building activity, party, or convention. While this is a high-level overview of some of the steps you’ll need to follow when developing an event, we can’t identify all of the details you’ll need to think about starting point for your event planning. Considering the types of event you must choose a event planner according to that.

  11. shelby leonard says:

    Being a senior in college who is interested in going into the field of Hospitality, this blog post really helped me distinguish event planning vs. wedding planning. I don’t want to close any doors and thats why I think I would not want a specialize in a certain field because I feel like there are so many more options to make money that way. I am a Communications major and I have been thinking of getting a event planning certificate or even getting a masters in Hospitality to help me stand out from the rest of future event planners. Do you have an idea of which one I should choose? Obviously a big chunk of money is going to be involved in this decision and thats why I am asking an outside source. Thank you so much for sharing this and bringing the differences of the two to light.

    1. Celina Feng says:

      Hi Shelby! Thank you so much for your comment 🙂 You mentioned that you do not want to close any doors for yourself. In that case, I would recommend enrolling in a joint event & wedding planning course. This way, you’ll learn all the overlapping event planning concepts as well as any nuanced differences in the planning process between the two. While it is crucial to ensure you get a general background before specializing, earning a specialization down the line will let you charge more for your services. More qualifications = more pay! That isn’t to say that you’ll be trapped in a niche part of planning, you can promote yourself and your skills however you wish.

      With respect to education, you don’t need any sort of formal training to be an event planner or wedding planner in North America. It’s not a regulated field, so you don’t technically need any education, certificate, degree, diploma, etc. The reason why you should get training is to stand out and ensure you actually have the skills to do the job. Don’t feel like you need to shell out thousands upon thousands of dollars in tuition just to become a professional planner. An industry-recognized certification will do. You can check out the Event & Wedding Planning course outline here: https://www.qceventplanning.com/online-event-courses/event-and-wedding-planning/ I hope this helps!

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