Written by: Nadine Lamanna, WPICC of 818 Events
We’ve all been there. You become a newly WPIC-certified wedding planner, and then it’s a little overwhelming figuring out what to do next. Knowing where to begin in this business can be a little tricky. Here are 8 straightforward tips to steer you in the right direction.
1. Get educated. You’re freshly certified by WPIC, but getting educated shouldn’t stop there. Keep yourself informed and knowledgeable about the business by taking seminars, attending conferences and conventions, and doing research. This is a trending business; therefore things change. It’s important you stay well informed about and in tune with what’s happening in the industry. Additionally, expose yourself to hands-on learning opportunities like assisting other planners. With first-hand experience as a newbie, you’re able to get your foot in the door and begin building a portfolio.
2. Get organized. Establish your business. Implement a name. Work on branding details, such as a logo. Get the business registered. Work on developing a website. Get business cards. Build credentials for a portfolio. Start tracking your finances. It might not seem like it, but it’s easier than it seems. Begin good business practices from the outset and you’ll have an easier time staying organized as things progress.
3. Get social. Online and in-person. Attend networking events and socialize with other wedding professionals. Use these events as an opportunity to hand out business cards, familiarize yourself with vendors, and to gain exposure for your company. Online presence counts as marketing and these days it’s vital to stay visible and social. Connect online social media accounts so that you’re able to utilize them more efficiently. Remember: There’s as much as an etiquette practice to social media as there is to face-to-face interaction. Learn what’s acceptable from what isn’t. The last thing you want to do is leave a sour taste in the mouths of potential clients or colleagues.
4. Get familiar. This goes hand-in-hand with getting educated and getting social. Get to know the business and whose who in the industry. Wedding planning is a small and inter-connected business, so it’s essential to know names or trends that will likely be dropped in conversations. Being knowledgeable keeps you connected to other professionals in the biz.
5. Get inspired. Find your inspiration, whether it be online through blogs, magazines or other wedding planners you admire. Use these references and create vision boards that guide you towards a design perspective. It’s important to have your own vision, style and other characteristics that define who you are. Finding inspirational references aids in developing who you are as a planner, a curator, and a creative director. The ability to find and explore your inspirations will assist you in building momentum.
6. Get uncomfortable. This business isn’t about ease. Be comfortable knowing that fact. Get used to being uncomfortable during the learning and experiencing process. You’re going to have to step outside your comfort zone to really develop yourself. Learn to be okay with things not always going as planned. Accept the process. It’s okay to not always get it right. It’s a new venture and you’re bound to have hurdles. Be okay with that. Just be sure not to let them completely discourage you. It’s only a temporary test of your strength and how badly you want to succeed. Know that it’s okay for you to progress at your own rate, especially if you still work a Full Time career outside of wedding planning, which most beginning planners do.
7. Get confident. Take control. Be proud of your business and who you are as a planner. Distinguish what sets you apart from other planners and exhibit those credentials and attributes. This confidence comes with time and experience. Know your value and price your services accordingly. As your business progresses, you’ll be able to determine which clients are suitable for you to work with. You’ll feel more comfortable saying ‘no’ to jobs. You won’t undersell yourself. You’ll appreciate how talented you are and so will potential clients.
8. Get going. Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t delay. Get going. The only way to truly explore your opportunity for success in this industry is to give it your all and see how it goes. The trick? Don’t let yourself fail. Stay on top of tips 1-7 and you’ll likely possess what it takes to succeed.