I hear it all the time: "I just love weddings and want to be a wedding planner. It must be so much fun!" Usually the people saying this phrase have no idea what it truly means to "be a wedding planner." With the current economy, lots of people are looking for work - and some decide to start their own businesses. Which is great, if you know what you are doing. But anyone can print up some business cards on their home computer and call themselves a DJ, photographer, videographer, wedding planner, etc.
A lot of newbie wedding planners had fun planning their own weddings, and decide that it should be their new career. And there's nothing wrong with that. But planning your own wedding, with your own vision and your own style, is much easier than planning someone else's wedding with their vision and their style. It takes a real knack to be able to listen to what a client wants and make it a reality.
It's also much different to juggle 20+ weddings at once, not just one. Staying organized, keeping track of multiple budgets and task lists, and treating each couple as if they are your only client takes a certain skill level.
So how does someone become a wedding planner? The best suggestion I can make it to take advantage of apprenticeships and internships. There are several great online courses to teach the basics of running a business and helping a client plan a wedding, but there is no substitute for experience. Even after 12 years of doing weddings and 15 years in the hospitality business, I feel like I learn something at every wedding.
If you are a bride shopping for a wedding planner, take a look at their portfolio. Is there more than one wedding shown? Is it the planner's own wedding? Be sure to ask questions when you are interviewing planners about their experience level; and as a new planner, be honest with prospective clients. We all had to start somewhere - but if you lie about your experience, it will come back to haunt you in the end.