Wedding Planner Q&A – “Can I Get Paid Under the Table Until I Get Experience?”

 

 Advice for Starting a Wedding Planning Business

Are you anxious to start getting paid as a wedding planner and thinking of skipping some important steps to starting a business? Don’t be embarrassed, you’re not alone. Here’s my advice for a future wedding planner who wants to do the same.

Question

Before I actually start a real, legitimate wedding planning business, is it okay for me to get paid to plan weddings on the side? I know a woman who does photography like this. She doesn’t have any kind of licenses, she gets her business through word of mouth and a Facebook page. I feel like this would be a good way to get experience for a year or so before starting my business for real.

What do you think?

Answer

I believe that you either start a real, legal, legitimate wedding planning business or you don’t start a business at all.

If you are collecting money for your work, you want to be honest and professional. You need to have a business license, business bank account, business insurance, a contract to use with your clients, and you need to pay taxes.

In addition to the legal and tax ramifications, please understand that you and your assets will not have any protection should you have a bride who won’t pay you. Or if by some unexpected and unfortunate circumstance, an accident occurs during one of weddings you have planned, you may be held responsible, at great financial peril to you.

Brides are very savvy today. Many ask wedding planners if they have a business license and work with a contract. They have been taught by bridal magazines to demand professionals. And, the high quality wedding vendors whom you need to partner with want to work with wedding planners who are professionals, not people who appear to be doing something “under the table.”

So if you want to start earning money as a wedding planner, do it the right way from the beginning, even if you are starting out part time.

Also, make sure the vendors you partner with are operating legitimately. Interview them thoroughly before allowing them to work with your brides and check that they have the proper licenses to operate their business. This means meeting and talking to them, not just checking them out online, even if they seem nice and have great photographs on Facebook and Pinterest.

If you don’t feel you have the experience you need to start a business, work for experienced wedding planners, florists, caterers, photographers, or others in the wedding industry to learn more. You might even consider working in a bridal salon to get a better understanding of how to work with brides. Also, plan weddings for free for friends, family members, or members of your place of worship to get more experience.

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 will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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