Wedding planners work with couples to set up and map out all aspects of a wedding celebration. The planner typically assists with all manner of details surrounding a wedding, from helping to find dressmakers to securing venues for the ceremony and reception, and also provides recommendations and referrals for subcontractors who provide flowers, filming, photography, music, and even food and beverages. While planners are unnecessary for most civil ceremonies and small services, they've become more important in large-scale weddings in recent years.
Most wedding planners offer tiered services depending on the needs of the couple. The planner can simply offer scaled-back service that focuses on arranging music, food, and a venue for a reception, while full-service planning can include assisting and arranging everything for the wedding, from setting up dress-showings and cake-tasting to visiting venues and working with a variety of caterers, bands, or wedding music providers. Wedding planners must be supremely organized and able to execute details with precision and efficiency to succeed in these duties.
Most wedding planners also work closely with service providers who can serve as subcontractors for weddings. The planner typically receives a referral fee for helping to hire these persons who may provide anything from decorating expertise to cooking to floral arrangements for the wedding party. Many venues also work with wedding planners to ensure that their open space is booked solidly, especially through the typical summer wedding season.
Aspiring wedding planners should have extensive practical experience in hospitality and event-planning, and many find it useful to seek out community college or undergraduate education in hospitality-related disciplines. Most wedding planners work as self-employed contractors or as partners in larger planning-specific enterprises. They should expect to work long hours throughout the year to book and set up services, as well as irregular evening and weekend hours.