By: Poonam Saini, WPICC of P.S. Eventful
Five Lessons Learned in My First WPIC Certified Year
When I decided to become a wedding planner, there was one thing I knew for certain: I need to be certified. After all, you wouldn’t call yourself a lawyer without receiving a LL.B. right? To me, a WPIC certification meant necessary credibility and invaluable education.
Last June (2014), I took the plunge and dedicated 22+ hours in one weekend (or three months via correspondence) to begin my journey to becoming a Certified Wedding Planner. The hours may sound daunting at first, but in actuality one weekend (and two weeks afterwards) is hardly a tough commitment to make in gaining your WPIC certification. As I look back, it was the best decision I made to start my career as a Wedding Planner.
The five lessons I’ve learned in my first year as a WPIC Alumni:
1) Utilize the WPIC Alumni Boards
Aside from giving you a certificate, WPIC also gives you a priceless tool to utilize as an alumnus: the boards! This is a forum exclusive to alumni members where you can seek advice, connect with fellow planners, and find volunteer/paid positions. As soon as I became part of the alumni I spent HOURS reading old threads which allowed me to gain tons of insight into the world of wedding planning (stuff you just can’t find in a textbook!).
2) Volunteer with WPIC Alumni
Everyone has to start somewhere…and chances are you may not have a paid opportunity as soon as you obtain your WPIC certification. Before seeking my own clients, I decided to volunteer with two fellow planners. The allowed me to get a first-hand look at what exactly the role of a wedding planner entails (and ease my nerves!). Volunteering was incredible because it allowed me to build a relationship with fellow planners who now hire me for paid positions.
3) Education is Key
As a wedding planner, you wear many hats. You need to constantly educate yourself on things such as wedding trends, what flowers are in season, types of invitation paper, wedding dress designers…the list goes on and on and on! There’s tons of webinars, conferences, networking events, etc. to keep yourself in the loop so be sure to stay educated! (My particular favorite this past year has been The Wedding Professionals Workshop where I was inspired by the incredible Diann Valentine).
4) Stay within Industry Standards
If you’re not already a wedding planner, you’ll soon learn the value of the hours you dedicate to the business and the time you take to grow your skills. Don’t undermine the wedding planning industry by charging less than industry standards. It’s easy to feel the need to make a few quick bucks, but in the long run, you’re doing a disfavor to yourself and the rest of us planners.
5) Know Yourself
As a wedding planner, you have to be able to sell YOURSELF. And in order to do that, you better know what you’re selling! Be aware of your weaknesses, but highlight your strengths. For example, don’t call yourself a wedding stylist if you’re weak in design! It’s a small industry and your reputation counts. You are your own brand after all.