destination wedding planning career

From the Experts

Your Wedding Planning Career: How to Find Your Specialization

Amira Harris is the owner and destination wedding specialist of Aisle Travel™ based in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Aisle Travel™ provides Canadian couples with full group travel services, destination wedding planning, and customized wedding group experiences.

Once you’ve made that decision to embark on a new career or even a new business, the hard work and long hours really begin. As you start to put pencil to paper, or fingers to keyboard, with ideas on your new business, consider the types of services you’ll be offering.

Will it be…

It’s best to be very specific and narrow down your niche and offerings before getting started. If your goal is to be a wedding planner and offer planning services, your services won’t be for everyone, nor is every bride your client.

Narrow down your wedding planning services

wedding rings hanging off a branch professional wedding photography

When you’re brand new to wedding planning, ideally you’re eager to do anything and everything to obtain your first client. Most wedding planners want to plan, design and execute weddings. When you’re new and need to get some experience under your belt, doing day-of or month-of coordination gives you some hands-on experience along with a look into one aspect of the planning process.

In my first couple years of business, the majority of the services I provided was exactly this. Sure, I wanted to do more full planning clients; however, many brides aren’t open to being a guinea pig for your new business. It makes sense—their wedding is such an important milestone in their lives! It was imperative that I got experience, education and executed their wedding flawlessly on the day-of to be able to provide the next level of services.

You might decide that you only want to do day-of or month-of coordination. You would need to set up a price for how you will execute these weddings. That doesn’t mean that you can’t evolve further down the line or increase your service offerings. Once you’ve mastered one thing, it’s easier to move on or add on to the next.

You’ll know when you’re ready to add a specialization. Some figure it out in months and others in years—it’s not an overnight process. It’s based on trust and experience. If you’re patient, market yourself, and work hard, those wedding planning clients will come.

Who is your ideal wedding client?

cultural wedding specialization

If you want to be successful in the wedding planning business, you need to identify your ideal client and target market. In this case, it’s your bride. Who is she? Where do you find her? Research is key! You need to know and understand the type of bride you want to tailor your services for. Although you’re selling your services to brides, it doesn’t mean that every bride is your client or that you’re the perfect wedding planner for every bride either.

A bride who wants an over-the-top luxury wedding would look for planners who specialize in those services. Whereas a bride with a shoestring budget and many DIY elements isn’t your ideal client when you’re a luxury wedding planner.

Whatever you decide to specialize in, make sure it’s clear in your marketing and all your branding. It will save you a lot of time and, most importantly, keep you on the right path.

Never stop learning

I’m a big believer in education and always learning.  Whether that means taking wedding planner courses online, at my local college or university, or just listening to an expert speak at a lunch. Attend as many courses, conferences, and seminars your wallet can handle. Every year, when I’m putting together my business budget, I allocate funds to education. Even with being in the wedding industry for 13 years, I don’t know it all. But I understand the value in learning.

wedding ring put on bride's finger by groom during wedding ceremony

When you first start a business and a career in wedding planning, there’s going to be a lot you don’t know. You don’t have to figure everything out overnight or on your own. Take as many business courses as possible since so many are offered. That also goes for wedding-related courses offered by QC Event School or your local college that offers an event management course.

Network with as many venues and vendors as possible. Interning is also a valuable experience. Find a mentor and connect with as many entrepreneurs and experts in your field as possible. They may not have time to answer all your questions, however, a lot of them are on social media and love to teach and provide tips.

The most rewarding business relationships I have are with my colleagues. Some that even have become my mentors over the years. I didn’t find them until I started asking others for advice and put myself out there to learn. Find your tribe—they’ll never let you down. Over the years I have built an amazing network of support; however, they are also a great source to learn, bounce ideas off of, and so much more.

Take baby steps

destination wedding couple after getting married hands in the air

You don’t have to figure it all out right away. Over time, you’ll see what’s working and what’s not working for you. You can and will make adjustments along the way. The great thing about finding your niche is that it helps you to stay focused—this is a just what you need to master your craft. When launching your business, it’s so easy to lose that focus and drive when you’re all over the place. Honing in on your niche will help you to stay on track with your goals. You’ll be able to maintain focus, establish yourself, and get closer toward success.

Do you have any tips to share about finding your specialization? Share them in a comment!

At some point, you may need to join forces with other planners for big events. Here are the pros and cons of partnering with other planning businesses!

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