By: Tracey Manailescu
In our WPIC certification classes we find such a diverse group of students. Some are retired, some are newly married, some are fresh out of university, some are working for venues and resorts, some work for decorators, catering companies, or for other established wedding planners, some are established wedding planners already, and some have no experience in the wedding industry, whatsoever. This blog is for you!
Everyone needs to starts off somewhere, right? Below are some tips that should ease your mind and get you headed in the right direction.
Volunteer: The WPIC Alumni Association (which is *free to all graduates of The Wedding Planners Institute of Coordination) has a volunteer program in place to help you get more experience. We recommend that all new grads utilize this program. This is a great chance to find out how other WPIC’ers run their wedding planning companies and work with clients. It is an opportunity to see firsthand how valuable a wedding planner is to a couple. It is also a great chance to see what you might do differently when working with your own clients after this experience. Hopefully the planner you will be working for will provide useful tips and guidance to you during the process. It is expected that you will fulfill requested duties, and be able to think and act quickly on your own with the information and timelines provided. You must have a signed contract in place between you and the planner. You need to remember that you will be working for someone else, and therefore need to represent that planner’s company, only. You are not there to promote yourself. We also have paid positions for those who already have experience but would like to know more about a certain culture or want to see how other planners do things.
Show That You are Interested in Learning: You need to let potential clients know that you are interested in learning more. Let them know about industry conferences that you have attended, or are going to attend. Have you attended any industry events around the city? Are you up to date on current wedding trends? Have you taken any courses that will help you in wedding planning such as business administration, book keeping, sketching, project management, floral design, wedding planning or event planning certifications? Are you a part of any industry related associations? Have you read any books that will help you have a better understanding of certain cultures and their requirements/guidelines in regards to customs and rituals for wedding ceremonies/receptions. Sometimes having a desire and passion for something can be far better than experience.
On a personal note, last year when we were looking for a new Office Manager at WPIC, our focus was not on finding someone who had wedding planning experience. We were much more interested in finding someone who was willing to learn, who had good organizational skills, was a true people person and who could speak Spanish. We got everything we were looking for, except the part about speaking Spanish with Kaley Campbell, LOL!
Positive Attitude: This really should go without saying. I am saying it anyways because it is so very darned important! Sometimes little to no experience in something can be totally dismissed or overlooked, because of a willingness to learn and a positive attitude. Clients might just get a good vibe from you (and you know that when you go with your gut it usually works out). Having a certain calmness in tricky or stressful situations, being able to see the best in people, and always looking on the bright side, along with a go get’em attitude might be just what some clients are looking for. This will come in handy when dealing with difficult family members or friends. Heck, this might just be the thing that wins them over completely!
You Connect With The Couple: Do you get along and just seem to really fit with the couple on a personal level? You are going to work harder, better, faster and more efficiently if you are trying to please someone and keep them happy. Think about it. Sometimes people are willing to take a chance on someone because of the personal connection and sense of understanding or trust that you have established. Make it a personal challenge to yourself to absolutely ROCK this wedding and be everything that they need.
Ask Questions and Get to Know More Experienced Planners: Ask for help from your peers, join Facebook groups, attend industry mixers, utilize the WPIC Alumni Boards by asking questions, searching past articles, and finding the best and newest questionnaires, contracts, check lists and organizational systems. Have a welcome package, detailed list of services and set pricing. Have policies and strategies in place in case of “What If?”
Talk up Your Strengths: Stop focusing on your lack of experience, show your confidence and let them know what you are good at. If you keep reminding them that you are lacking experience they will automatically focus on that. Why do you think that you would be a great fit for this couple and their wedding? Are you great at working in a team environment? Can you think quickly on your feet? Are you good at communicating your thoughts and implementing ideas? Are you a problem solver?
According to Planning Pod these are the “Top 8 Traits of Successful Planners“. The article is actually really good so you should check it out after you finish this one. (Actually, I am a pretty big fan of their articles as there are lots of useful tips.)
1.Being prepared and planning for contingencies
2. Having passion for what you do
4. Staying level headed while under fire
5. Having a vision
6. Attention to detail
7. Ability to listen and understand your clients’ goals
*The WPIC Alumni Association is free to all graduates of our certification course. It is a privilege and not a right. Membership is contingent on following the WPIC Code of Ethics
Do you have some other helpful and useful suggestions? Please share them below.