The most common skills among the top wedding planners are:
Interpersonal skills- Including Communication and People Skills
As a wedding planner, you will be dealing with a range of personality types – so you need to be able to read and communicate effectively with each personality.
You will be communicating on a large scale by phone, email and face to face with the bride and groom, parents and in-laws, family, suppliers, chefs, celebrants- and many more…. So it’s vital that you get along with everybody to ensure that the event will run smoothly, and everyone is happy.
As a wedding planner you will also need to be able to attract clients, communicate effectively with your client, decipher what your clients needs wants and desires are – even when they don’t know – and network with suppliers.
One of the most important factors is that you must be able to attract clients. If you can’t attract a client you don’t have a business to run, and you won’t have a wedding to plan.
Many clients book their suppliers, including their wedding planner, based on the person they meet. If they like the person at the front of the business, they will often book the service. You will have to not only be charming, but also show relatedness, understanding and a caring and nurturing side. Clients do like to feel looked after, and also must feel as though they trust you.
One of the best ways to build up rapport with your client and make them feel comfortable with you is to show genuine interest in them.
Developing a good relationship with your suppliers can be as easy as calling them personally on the phone to say thank you- for a job well done- or tagging them in a social media post- giving them praise. It’s important that there is two-way communication at all times, and there is trust.
In order to plan a ‘Dream Wedding’ for your clients, you need to understand what your client wants. This can be more difficult than it sounds- as sometimes your client doesn’t know what they want- and it’s up to you to figure out and come up with a suitable solution. You will need to be able to develop the skill of asking the right questions, which will draw out what your client preferences are.
You will need to be a really great listener in order to understand their desires to be able to put together the vision for your client.
A great way to improve your listening skills is by practicing to focus on someone when they are speaking, ask clarifying questions if you don’t understand, and paraphrasing- (repeating back to them what you thought you heard).
The ability to read body language is another really helpful skill to have as a wedding planner. As an example- you should read your clients body language during your meetings to get non-verbal ideas on how they are responding to different suggestions within the meeting. As an example, did the bride fold her arms or look another way when you made a particular suggestion? If so, she may be communicating that she doesn’t agree, or she feels uncomfortable about the suggestion, even though she didn’t actually say so.
Although body language can’t tell you precisely what someone is thinking, it can give you clues so you can ask follow-up questions, even as basic as “How do you feel about that?”
Negotiation skills are important as a wedding planner, and there are several situations in which you will have to use your negotiation skills.
As soon as clients or potential employers decide they would like to work with you, you will be faced with the issue of how much you will get paid. You will find information about standard fees for wedding planners later in this guide. However, no matter what fees are standard, you may be able to get paid more through effective negotiation skills.
Also, being a good negotiator can help you save money on vendor’s products or services such as flowers, photographs, venue rentals etc. The money that you save can either be passed on to your clients or could be part of the additional income that you receive as a wedding planner, depending on your arrangement.
While vendors that you work with frequently might offer discounts to you, there may be occasions when you need to work with a vendor chosen by your clients, and the vendor may not be used to giving discounts to wedding planners they have not worked with in the past. In these cases, being a good negotiator may help you and your clients save money.
Organizational skills are a key component to being a successful wedding planner. There will be many times you will have to multitask and deal with several tasks and people at once. It’s imperative that details are managed in a timely manner so that the event runs smoothly.
Below are some suggestions for keeping your event details organized:
Tip 1: Plan ahead – Sounds straightforward, but the further in advance you plan, the better off you’ll be. You will always have to confirm finer details closer to the event, but planning ahead will ensure that you get the supplier that you want for the desired wedding day, and any unforeseen problems or issues to come to light earlier rather than later.
Tip 2: File regularly – An effective filing system is essential to keep all correspondence in order, and easy to refer back to. Wedding details can change multiple times during the course of planning a wedding, so you will need to file and keep every bit of communication. Always write notes when talking with your client, and date the notes- so you can refer back to any changes. It’s a good idea to print out any emails that you receive, and also keep an electronic copy as well. This way if one copy gets lost or an email system crashes- you still have a copy of your clients wedding details.
Tip 3: Use binders and Manila Folders – Create a new Manila Folder for every client that you have, and organize the contents of the folder clearly.
Tip 4: Keep an ideas folder or Pinterest account: As you attend weddings yourself, or read magazines, or watch movies, you’ll begin to collect ideas for themes, favors, decorations, toasts etc. Jot down your ideas, tear out pages, and stick things in the book. It’ll be a great resource for you.
Whilst it’s not essential that you are creative as a wedding planner, it is essential that you are up to date with the latest trends in the wedding industry. Creativity does help as a wedding planner, as you will be able to come up with unique ideas for each wedding to make it special for the bride and groom. After-all, the memories of the wedding day will last a lifetime.
Many people believe that creativity is something you are born with – you’re either creative or you’re not. But many experts disagree. They say creativity can be taught – and more importantly, learned. Here are a few tips below to develop your creative skills;
Get Inspired.The best way to get creative is to be inspired. Surround yourself with beautiful images of wedding details, and browse the web for inspiration. Pinterest, Instagram and wedding blogs are great sources of inspiration, and a great place to get ideas.
Brainstorm. Sit down with others involved with your wedding business and try to come up with as many new wedding ideas as you can. To brainstorm effectively, make sure that there is a continuous flowing of ideas without any judgment, and that the ideas are not discussed until all of the ideas have been written down. (Ideally, someone should be writing all of the ideas down.) When ideas are not censored and are really allowed to flow, the most amazing, creative ideas can start to come out. After you have your list of ideas, you can then discuss them and you will be surprised at how many good ideas come out as you discuss the list.
Flip through magazines. Wedding magazines can be a great source of inspiration to get creative- and you can try some international wedding magazines as well. In addition, try fashion magazines and interior design magazines to get ideas on colors and interiors. You can find inspiration anywhere, and your creative gene may strike you when you least expect.
Get Your Craft On. A great way to develop your creative skills is to take on a craft project! There are many DIY projects that you can do for different wedding details- so get crafting!
Besides using your creativity to come up with unique ideas for themed weddings or to decorate a reception venue beautifully or to creative wonderful table centerpieces or favors etc., you will also need to use your creativity when problems or delays arise.
For example, one of our wedding planners had to find a new wedding venue the day before the wedding. It had been raining all week, and the wedding ceremony was due to be held in a park, on a permanent platform next to a pond. The problem was, the pond had turned into a lake due to the torrential rains and the permanent platform was under water! Our wedding planner got on the phone and managed to find an art gallery owner who agreed to allow her to run the ceremony there, and she quickly contacted everyone involved and alerted them to the change. Disaster averted.
Please go to My Account to view your Course. Enjoy Learning!