How to Become a Wedding Planner for the Offbeat Client
So you love planning traditional weddings – a classic white dress, a spotlight first dance, and some subtle decor. But maybe you want to try expanding your clientele and taking on more offbeat themes and clients. It’s intimidating, for sure, but we’re here to help!
Read on for some tips on how to become a wedding planner for the offbeat client!
Use Your Skills
It’s going to be different, but you’re not starting from scratch! You’ll still need to make many of the same arrangements, like hiring a photographer, finding a location, handling catering, and doing the day-of coordination. So you can take a breather because there will be a lot of familiar elements that you’ve already mastered through experience and training.
Start off by getting to know your client and their theme more intimately. This means using your communication skills to figure out how far they actually want to go with their offbeat elements. Some people want a full-on Game of Thrones-style wedding with guests in costumes and book quotes in their vows. Others want a more subtler touch, requesting guests show up with just quirky shoes and having themed table centerpieces. You need to know what they are really looking for so you don’t under or overdo it.
Another time you’ll use your current knowledge is when discussing the budget. Just because they want all the bells and whistles doesn’t necessarily mean that it can be done. If they don’t have the money to spend on floor-to-ceiling decor, focus on the elements they want the most. It’s always better to have a more subtle and well-done theme than to end up with lots of cheap and tacky elements.
Lastly, use your creativity! We’re sure you’ve got this in spades. From coming up with creative solutions for last minute problems to having some handy DIY decor up your sleeve, wedding planners are full of creativity. Use it! Offbeat clients offer a great opportunity to try out things that other clients might be unwilling to consider.
Build Your Base
You’ll likely have a lot of vendors that you can use no matter who the client is, such as a photographer or caterer. But you should try to diversify your vendor network to properly service your new clients and their needs. This might mean looking for a cake decorator who specializes in special effects wedding cakes or forming a relationship with different venue owners to add unusual locations to your portfolio. It’s all about building on what you currently have. You’ll be able to really meet client expectations, and not worry about making your preferred vendors uncomfortable, too. Not all cake decorators want to move away from making their favorite gum paste flowers to attempt tiny chocolate bride and groom sculptures for a Colosseum-shaped cake.
Entertainment is also a great area to bring in some more offbeat business. Stand out from your competition by creating ties to some more diverse entertainment options such as:
- Petting zoos
- Bouncy castles
- Circus performers
- Dance troupes
Start Out Slowly
If you’re feeling nervous, try something smaller, like a birthday party for a friend or an eccentric bachelorette party. You can even suggest some unusual touches to your regular clients. This way, you can start adding photos to your portfolio that will appeal to offbeat clients. For example, experimenting with:
- Color schemes
- Themed photo shoots
Another option is to start off with a lower budget, more subtle wedding. You won’t need to figure out how to orchestrate having your client parachute down to the altar. Instead, you can just focus on become a wedding planner that makes the best steampunk bouquets your budget can buy.
It’s also a good idea to start off with themes or concepts that you’re a little more familiar with. It takes more thinking, more phone calls, and more creative solutions to pull off an out-of-the-box wedding, so give yourself a chance to get into this new rhythm!
Prepare yourself as best as you can! There are a ton of resources you can check out before you dive into offbeat event planning. Networking is a big one. Go out to planning conventions, workshops, and trade shows. Meet your vendor’s vendors. Ask people you trust for referrals. It’s always a good idea to ask for references when you’re finding an expert in an unusual field. You want to make sure that you’re achieving real networking results and not just a “yes-man” who can’t deliver.
Go online! I’m sure we don’t have to mention this, but the internet is a vast, unending land of help! You can look at websites, blogs, and social networks – for example, Pinterest – to get inspiration and advice on niche wedding elements.
Finally, attend any offbeat wedding you can! If your friend/florist/whoever you know has a plus one for a Shrek-themed wedding, ask if you can join! Firsthand experience is a great way to learn about different elements that can go wrong, so you’ll know what to do when it’s your turn. Say it with us: attend, attend, attend!
Trust Your Client
You’re the expert at weddings, but they’re the expert at their theme. Or at least they are for now. If you’re in doubt, follow up with your client to ensure you’re on the right track. This doesn’t mean calling them every time an idea pops into your head. But when you have a clear vision of something you think they’re going to love, it doesn’t hurt to check in before you get too far along. You’ll save a lot of time and money in the long run.
Did we miss any tips on how to become a wedding planner in the niche wedding business? Let us know in a comment below!