Believe it or not, the answer to this question is really quite complicated. For other trades and professions, it’s a no-brainer—a formal education is usually required to obtain the knowledge and skills you need to be successful, and sometimes to get the necessary certification or licensing. But wedding planning is different.
The short answer is “No, you don’t really need to go to school to become a wedding planner.”
Here’s the slightly longer answer:
There are no specific credentials required for wedding planning, and there is no single path you should take to get there. Many wedding planners started by planning their own wedding and realizing they had quite a flair for it. Many just love weddings and are naturally gifted designers and organizers. Many started as florists or videographers or other wedding industry professionals and migrated to wedding planning over the course of their career. Many took it up on the side or as a second career in their retirement. The point is that there are different ways to become a wedding planner; all that’s really required is a passion for weddings and outstanding organizational skills.
However, that being said, many wedding planners do start by taking courses through a professional association or a community college, and there are plenty of good reasons for doing so:
- There is more to being a wedding planner than just planning weddings—you also need to know how to run a business. Many wedding planners take courses specifically to learn the necessary business skills.
- To become a certified wedding planner through a professional association, you usually need to have completed a course and/or passed an exam. Though certification is not required, joining a professional association is highly recommended for the networking connections and the advanced training they provide.
- Like nearly every other industry, the wedding industry is constantly evolving. Taking courses throughout your career will help you keep up with the trends so you can offer your clients the best service possible.
- You are likely not the only wedding planner in town, and with so much money on the line for a single day, the market can get pretty competitive. In small markets you might be able to get pretty far without a formal credential, but in larger markets you will likely find it more difficult to attract clients.
In the end, only you can decide whether or not you need to go to wedding planning school. If you already have business savvy and industry connections in your area, you might be good to go. If you are starting from scratch, a high-quality training program will give you the knowledge and skills, as well as the confidence, you need to start on your new career.