Over the past several years, many types of education and training programs have moved online. If you have been researching wedding planning programs, you have almost certainly come across options for both in-person and online courses. But how do online wedding planning courses stack up? Is this an option you should consider?
Wedding planning courses come in many shapes and sizes, from week-long intensive training to a semester of night classes, to self-paced online or offline studies. The good news is that all of these formats can lead to valid professional credentials, as long as they are offered by a recognized institution or association. Online courses through community colleges and professional associations are just as good as the training you would get in person. For many people, the decision comes down to which format they are most comfortable with, the schedule (online programs are more flexible and usually self-paced), and the price (online programs are often less expensive).
One of the most important parts of your wedding planning education, whether you take it online or in person is the practical experience. Some online schools have practical components such as “virtual internships.” Often, however, because of the constraints of the format, online courses cover the theory of wedding planning, but don’t give you much opportunity for practice. Where this is the case, getting your practical experience is up to you. One of the best ways to do this is to contact a wedding professional in your area—a planner or vendor (for example, a florist)—and ask if you can volunteer some time at the next event. As long as you are respectful of the fact that this is their business, most people will be happy to let you see how it all works, and they will probably be grateful for the extra help!
If you are considering an online program to earn your wedding planning credentials, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Are you comfortable with the online learning format?
- Do you have the motivation it requires to take a self-paced online course?
- Is the institution offering the course a recognized school or professional association?
- Will you have access to any student support services?
- Will you have access to any professional networking services?
- Are there any opportunities for practical experience?
- Will the credential you earn allow you to achieve your career goals?
If you can answer “yes” to at least most of the questions above, an online wedding planning course might be appropriate for you. As with any educational or training endeavor, take the time to do the necessary research so you can be assured that the program you select will allow you pursue the career path of your dreams.