You want to become a wedding planner, but as you’ve researched your options for professional training programs, you’ve found several options, including certificates in wedding and event planning or even event planning on its own. What is event planning and is this a program you should consider taking?
Event planners may be hired to plan anything from a wedding to a professional association conference or a business convention. Regardless of the type of event, many of the roles and responsibilities of the planner are the same. Event planners work with clients to help them realize their vision of the event, from designing a theme to selecting and hiring vendors, booking venues, coordinating the guest list, managing transportation, and managing the budget. The job outlook for event planners over the next several years is excellent—the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job growth of about 33 percent through 2022, which is significantly more growth than will be seen for most other occupations.
As an aspiring wedding planner, there are some advantages and disadvantages to pursuing a certificate or degree in event planning.
First, the advantages. Learning the ins and outs of event planning in general will allow you to plan many different types of events, not just weddings. Depending on the market for wedding planning in your area, this may help you get more jobs and achieve a steady source of income, especially during the winter months, which tend to be downtimes for weddings. In addition, the curriculum in event planning programs often includes several business classes, and good business skills are important. Knowing how to start and run a business, network, do marketing activities, and so on is essential for all wedding planners. In addition, professional credentials never hurt when it comes to pitching your services to prospective clients.
Now, the potential disadvantages. Often the most successful businesses are the ones that carve out a particular niche and become an expert in that niche. If a couple is looking for a wedding planner, they may be more likely to select one who specializes in weddings than one who does many kinds of events. Most event planning programs don’t focus on this real specialized knowledge in the same way that wedding planning training programs do, so even if you get a certificate in event planning you will likely need to pursue further education through a wedding planners professional association anyway.
Overall, how much you will benefit from an event planning certificate program depends on your career goals as well as your prior knowledge and experience. Before enrolling in any type of education or training program, do your research to figure out what you need to know and determine the best path to get you there.
San Diego State University. Professional certification in meeting and event planning.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meeting, convention, and event planners. Occupational Outlook Handbook.