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Wedding planning is a bankable career. Like death and taxes, people getting married is one of life's certainties. But how to know whether it's right for you? Mary Fiore, Jennifer Lopez's character in The Wedding Planner, is a good place to start. She's ambitious, hard-working and extremely organised. So if you count those things among your attributes then you might be the right type of person for the job. With that stage out of the way, you'll need a little business know-how. That's where this guide comes in. Just remember: don't fall in love with the groom.
Unlike other start-up ideas, a wedding planning business doesn't take too much money to set up. If you're calling yourself a freelancer or an independent consultant, you don't need to rent office space. You can work from home and conduct your meetings there or in coffee shops. It's always a good idea to speak to an accountant and a legal professional to understand your liabilities and to make sure everything's above board. You'll obviously need some initial funds for office supplies and marketing / website costs.
Set yourself a client load and an income that you'll be happy with. This also gives you something to work to. It might be too little or too much, depending on how good and/or lucky you are. The average wedding planner in the US earns around $45,000. Set targets for getting in touch with local business – try to make yourself know to as many as possible at first then keep the momentum up by contacting more businesses as you grow.
You need to have a professional-looking and easily accessible portfolio if you hope to attract clients. Sure, word-of-mouth will help but it only goes so far. If you have no experience to draw on, set up a mock wedding or offer to help a friend or family member with their ceremony as an opportunity to showcase your abilities. Get testimonials on your website and set up a Pinterest board as a repository for your style choices. Take a look at Melbourne Weddings for inspiration.
If you've changed career paths and planning is a new thing for you, it's unlikely that you have any credentials to speak of. Consider getting some kind of qualification in event planning. It's possible to study while running your business but it's a whole lot easier to do it beforehand. You'll need to be savvy in other areas of the business too, so it's worth looking into courses and qualifications in other fields, like marketing and accounting.
Potential customers are unlikely to stumble across your business at the beginning. Direct mail, Twitter drives, and good old-fashioned nosiness are good places to start. See if you can get an advert in a local dress or flower shop. Once you've done a few events, see if a local business would consider recommending you on their site. Marketing doesn't have to be expensive – use Facebook and Twitter as much as possible and network whenever you can.
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