Here's what to look for when hiring this big-day pro.

By Alyssa Brown
August 20, 2019

There are plenty of educational opportunities for event planners today, but this hasn't always been the case. In fact, many of the industry's top wedding planners have degrees that run the gamut from hospitality to fine art to marketing, and everything in between. So, when hiring a wedding planner, it's on-the-job training that's more important than any schooling or workshops a planner has attended. Here, we explain what to look for when hiring a wedding planner, as there's no real standard for certification.

Related: Do You Need a Wedding Planner and a Financial Planner?

Skip the certificates.

The wedding industry isn't one that's well regulated with certificates and degrees; instead there are people from all kinds of backgrounds who end up in wedding planning. Maybe their first career was as a corporate event planner or maybe your wedding planner was once an editor of an online magazine. While there's a specific skill set and personality type that tends to thrive in the event industry, there's no specific degree that's needed.

Pay attention to skill set.

Excellent problem solving skills, a willingness to do the hard work, flexibility, and a positive, can-do attitude are some of the most important qualities of a wedding planner. A person who thrives on very well organized chaos is exactly the kind of planner you want on your team. This is someone who can coordinate a delivery of 160 chairs and get them placed perfectly while welcoming the musician to the venue and alphabetizing the escort cards, all with a smile on his or her face.

On-the-job training is key.

Any planner who's been working in weddings for a decade or more will tell you the greatest training they've received is in the sheer number of events they've worked on. This doesn't mean you have to work with a planner who's been around since the dinosaurs, but it does mean you should try to find a planner who has a solid background in events of a similar size and magnitude. Maybe they trained under another planner for a few years before launching their own business, or maybe they have an extensive corporate background. Either way, they know what to do in a crisis to keep things running smoothly. Just keep in mind that experience is the greatest tool an event planner has behind them, as every event presents a new set of challenges.

Find someone who's active in the industry.

Though the certificates aren't necessary, it's great to know that your planner is regularly attending industry events or workshops to brush up on their skills. Even if they're simply active in their local community, meeting new vendors and exploring new venues regularly, this is a great sign of their engagement and eagerness to grow. A wedding planner is only as good as the team they assemble, so you want to know they have great contacts and solid relationships with other reputable vendors.

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