The wedding industry in the United States is huge, currently worth about $51 billion, and with same-sex marriage becoming legal in more states, the industry will only get bigger. According to the Cost of Wedding website, American couples spend an average of $25,200 on their wedding, with most couples shelling out between $18,900 and $31,500 to make their wedding dreams a reality. For many people, their wedding day is something they’ve dreamt about all their lives, and they have both high expectations and a lot of nervousness surrounding their special day. It’s no wonder that wedding planners are in such high demand!
Wedding planners are classified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics under the category “Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners.” Many planners specialize in one particular kind of event, like weddings, but many others are more versatile, planning events ranging from weddings to bar mitzvahs, to professional meetings and conferences. Once you learn how to communicate with clients, plan budgets, arrange venues and transportation, talk to vendors, deal with caterers, and perform the many other tasks involved in putting on large functions, you will have the basic skills necessary to plan weddings and many other types of events as well.
Almost all wedding planners are self-employed, though meeting, convention, and other event planners may be employed by organizations. Currently, you aren’t required to have a degree to become a wedding or event planner—many people learn the ropes by working as assistants to experienced planners before striking out on their own. However, since they are usually self-employed, wedding planners need not only planning skills, but business skills as well. Earning a certificate or a degree through an approved program is an excellent way to learn these skills. In addition, many clients prefer to work with planners who have some formal training and have received their certification, so although postsecondary education isn’t required, it is highly recommended.
In terms of job outlook, the demand for meeting, convention, and event planners is expected to grow by 33 percent through 2022, with an additional 31,000 jobs becoming available. Compared to the rest of the workforce, this represents an extremely high rate of growth. The job outlook is best for planners who have at least some postsecondary education and for those with related work experience. The pay for meeting, convention, and event planners ranges widely. In 2012, the median salary was just under $46,000, but people at the top can make close to $80,000 per year.
If you love weddings and are a natural at organizing events where every detail needs to be perfect, a career in wedding planning is an excellent choice. To learn more about this career and the education options available for you, contact a professional wedding planning association—they will be able to provide the guidance to get you on the right track.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meeting, convention, and event planners. Occupational Outlook Handbook.