5 Ways to Get Ready to Start a Wedding Planning Business


Get Ready to Start a Successful Wedding Planning Business

In my last blog post I talked about the 5 signs you’re not ready to start a wedding planning business. Don’t worry if any of the signs described where you are right now. You can quickly take action to be ready to have the top wedding planning business that you want.

Here, I take my 5 signs that you’re not ready and tell you what you need to do to get ready now:

1) If you’ve only planned one wedding, get some experience

Talk to family members and friends and see if anyone knows of someone planning a wedding who could use help. You can start small by offering to do things such as research venues and vendors, gather inspiration and ideas for a wedding theme or help manage a timeline or budget. Whatever you do, take it seriously and fulfill your commitment, just as if you were doing it as a paid professional. These brides may be so happy with your work that they refer you to others who could be your first paying clients.

2) If you’ve just had a major life event, take some time off

Starting a business after you’ve just gotten married, had a baby or had another big change in your life can be very stressful. This may not be the best time to jump right into starting a new business helping brides during their most stressful time. Consider instead taking some time to adjust to your new life. Then decide how much time, money and energy you want to and can put into a wedding planning business and make a plan that includes having a successful business and personal life.

3) If you’ve never had a business, take some classes

Community colleges, adult education programs and small business administration offices often have classes that teach the basics of starting a business and charge very little for them, sometimes they even offer them free. You need to learn how to write a business plan, do simple bookkeeping, marketing and customer service in order to be successful.

4) If you don’t know anything about the wedding and event planning industry, get out and meet professionals

Join a local chapter of a wedding or event planner association and attend their conferences and networking events.

You might also consider getting an internship with a wedding planner, caterer, florist, bridal shop or wedding photographer. Internships are usually not paid positions but you’ll learn about the wedding industry and get great experience.

5) If you don’t have a plan, start creating a vision for your business

Dream big and decide whom your brides will be, what types of services you’re going to offer them, how big your business will be, where you’ll be located and what a successful business would look like to you. Then write it all down in detail and take action every day towards having the top wedding planning business you want.

And if you want help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”

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5 Signs You’re Not Ready to Start a Wedding Planning Business


Signs You're Not Ready to Start a Wedding Planning Business

The thought being a wedding planner and starting your own business is very exciting, especially if you spent the summer planning your own fabulous wedding or the wedding of a friend. But, don’t jump into starting a business if any of the 5 statements below describe you:

1) You’ve only planned one wedding

Planning one wedding, doesn’t give you all the experience you need of working with vendors, timelines, budgets and knowing how to deal with wedding day emergencies. And, if the one wedding you planned was your own, you don’t have the experience of working for other brides and executing plans that aren’t your own and may not be what you would have chosen to do.

2) You’ve just had a major life event

If you’ve just gotten married, had a baby, bought a house or had another big change, starting a business will add extra stress to your life.

3) You’ve never had a business

Having a wedding planning business means more than planning weddings. You need to know how to do some bookkeeping and accounting, marketing, sales and customer service. These things don’t demand a business degree but knowledge and some prior experience is very helpful.

4) You don’t know anything about the wedding and event planning industry

There’s a lot more to know about the industry than you can get from wedding magazines. Until you plan more weddings and/or work with a seasoned industry professional, you may have trouble getting the information and cooperation of the other wedding vendors you’ll need to work with in order to succeed.

5) You don’t have a plan

You have to have a plan that includes the type of bride you want as a client, what she needs, what you’re going to offer, how you’re going to attract her and how you’re going provide excellent service and make a profit.

If these statements describe you, don’t despair, it just means you’re not ready right now. Take a little time to get some education and experience and you’ll soon be able to start a successful wedding planning business.

And if you want help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”

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Wedding Planners – Don’t Give Yourself (and All Wedding Planners) a Bad Name


HOw Wedding Planners Get Bad Reputations

You’ve seen that I ask future and current wedding planners to send me their questions to answer here.

Early this week I received a question from a groom who is working with wedding planners and what he wrote was actually quite shocking.

He said that he and his partner hadn’t heard from their wedding planners in two weeks and they were getting married in a few weeks. He wanted to know if it was appropriate to email them with some questions.

Not heard from their planners in two weeks! How unprofessional and a sure way to not only get negative reviews but also to lose your business.

You must keep in touch with your brides and grooms and give status messages. This is a very exciting and emotional time for them and they expect and need you to keep in touch, it’s how you give excellent service.

Staying in touch strengthens your relationship with your clients, helps you learn of any last minute changes they want before it’s too late to make them and helps you avoid negative reviews from clients who didn’t hear from you.

So ask your couples, when you start working with them, how often they would like to hear from you and by what method, phone, email or texting, and stick to the schedule.

I suggested to this groom that he call his wedding planners immediately and ask to meet in person, Skype or over the phone to get answers to his questions and a review of his entire wedding day. If he got voice mail, he should also send an email. He deserves to know what is going on.

Please don’t be like this groom’s wedding planners – stay in touch with your clients and you’ll get and keep an excellent reputation.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.

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Not Ready to Start Your Wedding Planning Business? – Learn to Ace a Wedding Planner Job Interview


5 Tips to Ace a Wedding Planner Job Interview

If you’re dreaming of becoming a top wedding planner but have very little professional experience, you might want to consider getting a job as a planner for a large event planning company in your area.

A recent episode of the television show, “Job or No Job,” on the ABC Family network, featured a woman who was in this situation. She loved events and had been planning events for family and friends since she was a child but didn’t have professional experience. On the show, she was interviewed by three of the top event planning companies in Nashville and mentored by author and job guru, Jane Buckingham. All provided valuable insights on how to ace an interview for an entry-level wedding and event planner job.

Here are 5 tips they shared that will help you impress professional planners when you interview with them:

1) Know all about the company you are interviewing with

Do your research, review the company’s website, blog and social media sites. Know the types of products and services they offer and how you could be a good fit for their company.

2) Show enthusiasm during the interview

Enter your interview with high energy and let the interviewer know you’re excited about the position they have available.

3) Explain how your background and education are assets for a wedding and event planner

Even if you don’t have a background in events, you still could have transferable skills. Planners need to be highly organized, detail oriented, customer focused and able to manage budgets. Think about the jobs or courses you have had that may have helped you develop these skills.

4) Share your wedding and event planning experience

If you’ve done any planning at all, even if it was for family and friends, you have some relevant experience that you need to put on your resume. Be confident, don’t be afraid to tell people what you can do. You have to sell yourself!

5) Be prepared for anything but stay relaxed and be yourself

Many people within a company may interview you, they may ask you tough questions about planning events and even ask you to do some challenging roleplaying. Don’t panic! Remember wedding and event planners are expected to think on their feet. Stay calm so you can think clearly and be your best.

And if you want help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”

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Wedding Planners – 3 Tips for Getting Brides to Pay You Promptly



The busy Summer wedding season has ended and if you planned any weddings during the season, you should have been paid by now and be reaping the benefits of your hard work. But if you haven’t gotten paid yet and often have trouble getting paid on time, you may need to make changes in the way you handle billing.

Here are 3 things you can do to get paid:

1) Let the bride know your payment terms upfront

Be very clear when payments are due and how much they are in your proposal discussions and make sure you clearly state your terms in your contract. You should always get a deposit before you begin work and you should request your final payment before the wedding day.

2) Make it easy to get paid

Offer to let your clients use credit cards. Talk to your bank about setting this up or investigate one of the many companies that sell a device you can attach to your smartphone to run credit cards.

3) Never be afraid to ask for the money you are owed

You have a right to be paid for your services. If a bride hasn’t paid, give her a call, politely remind her that her payment is late, restate the terms of your contract and ask when she can make a payment. If you’re in the middle of planning her wedding, you might need to stop if you aren’t paid, if so, have a conversation with your bride as soon as possible.

If a bride is having money problems and can’t pay or won’t pay, talk to an attorney who can give you advice on what to do.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.

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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Find an Experienced Wedding Planner to Shadow?”


How To Find an Experinced Wedding Planner to Shadow

In the wedding and event planning industry, experience counts as much, if not more, than any certificates and degrees. It’s great if you can find a seasoned professional who is willing to let you work beside them and help you get that valuable experience. Here’s how to find someone.


I’m considering getting into the event planning industry with a focus mainly on wedding planning. I have very little experience in the industry, I’ve only help plan and coordinate one wedding so far. I have a BA in Hotel and Restaurant management and an MBA. I’m trying to find an experienced wedding planner who is willing to let me shadow them. I’m not looking to be paid, just eager to learn.

How do I find this person? Are there networking groups that I can join to meet people in the industry?


Your education in hotel and restaurant management will be an asset to you as you plan weddings and events. You probably already have an understanding of customer service, negotiation and marketing which are important things to know in order to have a successful wedding and event planning business.

Here are 3 tips to help you find someone you can shadow:

1) Don’t be too quick to specialize in wedding planning

You may decide to specialize in weddings in the future but you’ve only helped plan one so far and there are many types of events that might interest you and many planners who specialize in different industries who could teach you. I suggest you be open to planning different types of events, in addition to weddings, so you can be sure it’s the best fit for you and so you can be ready to handle many different types of clients in the future.

2) Realize the person you shadow doesn’t need to be wedding or event planner

A professional wedding and event planner with his or her own business would be able to teach you a great deal. However, with a background in hotel and restaurant management, you may also want to approach venues and see if their catering and sales staff could use an intern with your education. They work with brides, event planners and people holding large social and charitable events so you would get well-rounded experience. You would also get to meet wedding and event vendors whom you may be able to work with in the future.

3) Consider joining an industry association

Some of the best places for you to network right now are at industry association meetings and events. For example, check out your local chapter of the International Special Events Society (ISES), they are located all over the world. Other wedding and event associations have chapters in many cities in the U.S. and other countries too and are worth looking into.

There may also be groups of event professionals in your local area who meet who don’t belong to a large association. Do a search on Google, Facebook and Meetup to find them.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.

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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Choose a Business Name That Won’t Limit Me?”


3 Tips for Naming a Wedding Planning Business

If you haven’t chosen your wedding planning business name, or the one you have isn’t working, you can learn from the 3 tips I offer in my Q and A today.


I’m trying to decide on a business name. I’m thinking of using my name, “Jane Doe* Weddings and Events,” but I’m not sure I could continue to use it if I decide to expand into other areas in the future.

*Name changed to protect the name of the wedding planner who sent in the question.


You’re smart to think ahead to what your business might look like in the future, you don’t want your business name to limit you.

Here are 3 tips that will help you:

1) Choose a name that evokes rather than explains exactly what you do

Although “weddings and events” clearly tells people the business you’re in, don’t feel your business name has to have words that say exactly what you do.

Consider using words that convey the benefits of your services or conjure up visions of the beautiful weddings and events you plan now and what you are considering offering in the future.

2) Decide if you would ever sell your business in the future

If you use your name as part of your business name, it may be difficult to sell your business when you become successful and want to retire. The next wedding planner won’t want your name as part of his/her business name.

3) Test your business name

Ask people to say it aloud and to spell it. If most people aren’t doing either of these things correctly, you could have a problem. People referring you by word-of-mouth may not get your name right when telling a bride about your excellent services. And, brides may not be able to find you in Google or in searches on social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest.

Also ask them what the think of when they hear the name. Something elegant? Traditional? Offbeat? What they say should match the feeling you want to convey about your services.

Learn more about choosing your business name in my previous post on naming.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.

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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Bounce Back After a Negative Review?”


How Wedding Planners Bounce Back After a Bad Review

With the ability to be anonymous on the Internet, unhappy brides have easily posted unfair negative reviews about their wedding planners. But, wedding planners have been able to bounce back from them and get new clients.

Today I offer tips for improving your online presence to help you attract more brides whether you’ve received a negative review for just want more business.


I’m a destination wedding planner. I have been planning events and weddings for over 8 years. However, last year I received an unfair bad review that was posted on several wedding sites and my business has been hurting ever since. I have considered launching a new brand helping brides and grooms find the right location for their wedding. My biggest challenge is finding the brides!

Please visit my website, read my blog and tell me how I can reach more brides.


Sorry to hear you had a bad review, I hope you reached out to the bride to see if there was something you could do, if appropriate, and contacted the wedding sites and tried to get the review removed.

One of the best things you can do to overcome getting a bad review is have a lot of positive information about your business online. Be sure you post any testimonials you’ve received and encourage brides to post their favorable reviews. Also, make sure you have a lot of content on the web, such as blog posts, articles and videos, to stop the bad review from coming up high on Internet searches.

Here are 5 ways you can get more visibility and attract more brides:

1) Consider changing your URL and/or using a different business name

The URL and name you are using have nothing to do with destination weddings. In fact, they seem to refer to your own wedding. Think about the brides you want to reach and the words they would use when searching online for a wedding planner who specializes in your country. Then create your URL and/or business name based on those words.

2) Show brides your best work

You have a great deal of information and photographs about your own wedding on your blog. Instead, show potential clients photos from the weddings you’ve planned in the past eight years. They’ll want to know how you have helped other brides.

3) Write more blog posts

Your blog has some great wedding tips that could attract many brides but you have very few posts and your last one is a few months old. Posting more frequently will help your site get more visibility.

4) Keep your social media accounts up-to-date

Your blog links to your social media accounts and I noticed it’s been well over a year since you used Twitter. Only link to sites where you post frequently or a bride seeing it might think you’re out of business.

By the way, it’s ok not to be active on all of the social media sites, find two that you’re comfortable with that your target brides use and focus your time and energy on only those two.

5) Remember “WITFM”

Brides look at your information with the thought, “What’s In It For Me?” You need to show and tell brides what you and your services can do for them, not just have a list of what you do, so they’ll want to contact you to learn more.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.

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Wedding Planner Q&A – “What Common Mistakes Should I Avoid When Starting My Wedding Planning Business?”


Avoid these common mistakes new wedding planners make

Knowing the mistakes other new wedding planners have made so you can avoid them may help you become successful faster.


I’m thinking of starting a wedding planning business. If I do, I’d want to start out right and understand what I’d be getting into so I can figure out problems beforehand. I know planners talk to you their problems. What are some of the common mistakes you’ve seen them make that have hurt their businesses?


Good for you for wanting to be prepared! I’ve listed mistakes below but understand that no matter how prepared you are, you’ll still make some mistakes. It’s natural and it’s ok. You’ll learn from them, do things the right way and end up having the successful business you were meant to have.

Here are 4 mistakes I’ve seen wedding planners make and tips on what you should do instead:

1) They put too much emphasis on online marketing

When I first started mentoring, new wedding planners were spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on web design and investing heavily in advertising on wedding websites, with the thought that many brides would automatically find them and instantly want to hire them. Now people use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn with the same idea.

It’s great to have a big presence on social media but you also need to get out and talk about your business to everyone you know. Don’t make sales pitches, as in, “I’m a wedding planner, do you know any brides?” Instead, shares stories about how you’ve made the wedding planning experience easy for brides who’ve hired you. People enjoy and remember stories and they tell them to other people, so word about you will get around.

2) They didn’t have a niche or picked a niche that was too broad

One of the first things I ask when I start to mentor someone is what their niche is. Quite often, it’s either one of these two: “high-end brides” or “professionals who don’t have time to plan their weddings themselves.”

You have to be more specific so you can create the wedding planning services that will solve their problems and the marketing messages that will appeal to them.

3) They didn’t use contracts

Many new wedding planners have told me stories of brides they wish they had asked to sign a contract. They didn’t do it because there seemed like there wouldn’t be any problems, then they ended up not getting paid.

You need to put your service and payment terms in writing so your client knows exactly what she is getting and when and how much she owes you for your services. Professional wedding planners use contracts, brides expect it.

Also, a few wedding planners I’ve helped had partnered with another wedding planner or wedding vendor to get more business. Partnerships also need contracts. It’s too easy for one person to end up feeling like they weren’t treated fairly. Clearly define each person’s roles, responsibilities and share of the profits.

4) They didn’t charge enough

The wedding planners I mentor are fabulous people who love what they do and would probably do it free. You may feel this way also. But you’re running a business offering valuable services and whether you’re new or have been planning weddings for a while, you deserve to be well paid for what you do.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.

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Wedding Planner Q&A – “After One Year in Business, I Don’t Have Any Clients at All, What Do I Do?”


Wedding Planner Q&A - What DO I Do When I Don't Have Any Clients

If your wedding planning business isn’t taking off, you may need to make these changes to your marketing and your mindset.


What do you do when you’ve been in business for over a year and still have no business? I’ve had leads and interested brides but nothing has come of them. I’ve done weddings before going official but since forming the business, nothing.

I’m still marketing, by buying ads on wedding websites and attending networking events.

I’m trying to reach brides who are funky and eclectic.


A year is a long time to go without a client so I applaud you for hanging in. Getting your first brides can be tough but once you do, you can expect more.

Here are 2 important tips that can help you get business:

1) Your marketing image and style, both online and off, must appeal to your target brides

You have a very specific niche, which is great, too many new wedding planners try to appeal to every bride and end up not appealing to anyone.

But, looking at your social media pages and website, it appears you are looking for brides who want romantic, classic weddings not the type of brides that you say you want. The websites in which you advertise, although many brides visit them, are targeted to those who want traditional weddings. Your target market is probably not looking at them for help planning their weddings.

Do some research, look at different blogs and websites that show the weddings of funky, eclectic brides so you get an idea of their style, interests and wedding planning needs. Find out where you can meet them locally, get to know them and become a part of their social groups. With your new found knowledge, create the services that solve their unique wedding planning problems and a marketing plan and style that will attract them.

2) You must believe that you are worthy of getting work and being well-paid for it

This is an important factor to your success. I’ve seen the lack of self-worth sabotage the businesses of many talented new wedding planners. Some examples of lack of self-worth: you eagerly offer hours of free personalized wedding planning advice. You deeply discount your services because you think offering low rates is the only way a bride will hire you. You desperately accept a bride as a client knowing in your gut that she will be more trouble than she is worth.

If you don’t believe that you have valuable services to offer, neither will any brides and they won’t hire you, they’ll just get free advice from you, or, if they do hire you, they won’t pay you what you’re worth.

So, to get business and be successful, you have to do the outer work of setting up the services brides want and marketing them properly. And, you have to do the inner work of programming yourself to believe you offer valuable services and are worth the money that you charge.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.

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