As a local wedding planner, we are often asked about how to get into the business. We get at least 4-6 inquiries a quarter from BSU students looking to do their internships with us.
Interestingly, none of those students have turned into candidates that are serious about the business enough to commit.
For starters lets go over some things you should know before even considering an education in the field.
First, know that this line of work keeps you busy most of the Spring, Summer and Fall. If your used to taking vacations in the Summer…probably not going to happen again. Unless of course you intentionally set aside certain dates for personal time, but then you run the risk of decreasing business during that time frame.
Next, is a much harder thing to cope with. Your nights and weekends (Friday – Sundays) are going to be busy from the crack of dawn to the wee early hours of the morning (12 am – 2 am). If your used to having a social life when everyone else is available, this is definitely not the industry for you. I tell many of the young individuals who interview with me for internships that the best personalities for this industry are the ones that are not married and have no commitments to partners that need lots of attention. I have seen relationships ruined because one partner wanted to follow their dream of having a planning business, but didn’t realize the countless hours (day and night) that it requires.
To do this thing right…you have to be all in!
Education or at least the culmination of a very long work history is necessary to be successful! You will need accounting, communications, math, business management, psychology, law and ethics, floral design, event planning and a human resource back ground just to get started.
Additionally, in our local economy there are less and less brides that want to spend money to get the help they so desperately need. We are experiencing a large yield of what we call “DIY” brides. Do it your self-ers are usually young, very ambitious young ladies who think they have it under control until about 6-8 weeks prior to their wedding, when they find out that they cannot do it all on their own. They then hurriedly seek someone like us to handle setting up, tearing down and running the day for them. The problem is…they don’t want to pay for it. Or they can’t because they have waited until the absolute last minute and cannot come up with the funds.
This leads me to another issue that I am sure is not a local one, but indeed impacts the current businesses in our valley. There is a lot of competition in town!! Unfortunately, everyone is clawing at the other trying to take business away. Most of the time this is accomplished by providing less then stellar services and charging far less than the value of the product/service. Most of the time this makes the market a hard place to keep a business going in. Thus obviously the reason you see so many companies (big and small) disappear in very short periods of time.
The biggest bit of advice I can give you if you are indeed serious about being in this field, is to know that the best course of action is going to be the longest one…Find a company that your personality fits with, and stay there 5 years or more, so that you can learn everything. This way you will know what to expect and will be prepared if you decide to go out on your own. Most companies like mine won’t spend a ton of time training you in the deep details until they trust that you aren’t going to use them and then walk away. All of our employees are just setup and tear down help until they come to me and tell me they want more. Literally in 30 years, no one has ultimately taken the plunge!
Hang in there…we are almost done!
It’s no joke that having a business is expensive. Knowing how to provide a service and getting the word out, are two different things. Just like any other business, you can bet the marketing will be insanely expensive. If you can’t get into the local wedding shows, have a professional build and host an excellent website, and understand social media (and run it your self)…you won’t last! Also, if you think you can survive on Instagram and Facebook…wrong! That is where the low budget, do it your self-er brides reside. I’m not saying you want to stay clear of DIY brides, but know that you need more than their events to survive.
Lastly, I am never shy to tell people interested in this field, that I think it’s best to be single, with no plans of marriage or children right away. At least until you either own your own company, are busy and have a great staff that can take the helm for you. Also, be prepared that this isn’t going to be an easy road. I don’t know what the % is, but I would bet that less than half or more of these types of businesses survive 3 years. Additionally, If you don’t already have a large sum of money just hanging around, your going to need a job on the side to help support yourself until things take off. This will make for a miserable time because you will work 40 hours a week at your “normal job” while plugging another 30-40 in doing everything necessary to keep your new business afloat. It is mentally and physically exhausting! I think this, as well as the money part are equally to blame for most company closures.
However, if you have a passion for events, and love the challenge of brides that are not necessarily easy to work with all the time…give me a call 🙂