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Wedding Planner
Throwing parties for a living: what a great idea

Our chosen business for this issue of Motherhood is “Wedding Planning”. If you are a party person, like fun and glamour and most importantly have excellent people’s skills and a creative mind than wedding planning is the perfect business for you. What could be the best way to make handsome money and enjoy great parties too? This business will also make you feel proud and satisfied for making most important day of one’s life a memorable one.

What the wedding planning is all about
A wedding planner plays a role that a film director plays in producing a movie. He works with the bride and groom and their families to help them articulate what they want, develop a wedding budget and creates their dream wedding within it.

Depending on one’s preferences, a wedding planner can choose to coordinate the entire wedding from A to Z or one can focus on a particular service or a segment of the wedding.

Scope & Potential
Not only that marriages are becoming more complex and expensive every day, people have become so busy that they do not have enough time to organize weddings at their own. This has created a great demand for wedding planners that will increase with passage of time.

Statistically speaking, in Pakistan, with annual population growth rate of about 2%, urbanization rate of 4% and having about 50% of its population under 20 years of age, scope for wedding planners will definitely increase in the years to come.

The best way to charge for your services is either a flat fee or as a percentage of total wedding budget that could range between 10% to 15%. The total earning potential will depend how many marriages you can manage in a year. A full time wedding planner working alone can service up to 40 marriages per year. However, assuming a conservative figure of 20 marriages per year and a modest budget of one million rupees per marriage, a wedding planner can earn gross revenue of two million rupees per year @ 10% of wedding budget. Wow, not a bad business.

You can further supplement your income by selling invitations, wedding accessories and gift items. In off season, you can organize anniversary and birthday parties that would also help in promoting your business.

Knowledge & Skills
Every couple and family wants their wedding to be a unique event. Therefore, creativity will be the most important factor in your success as wedding planner. Organizing a wedding on tight budget that looks like an extravaganza event is what the creativity is.

You must also keep yourself updated on fashion, food, music & wedding styles etc. Being a peoples’ business, ability to communicate well with variety of people is another attribute that a wedding planner must have. Ability to work under pressure & handle crises situations, great negotiation skills to obtain competitive prices from vendors, and financial skills to plan the wedding on a fixed budget are also important pre-requisites for a wedding planner.

Wedding planning does not require any special education or experience. It is not only a glamorous, exciting, challenging and fun business for people’s people but is also satisfying for creative you. It offers great flexibility of time as most of the work will be on weekends and at night. The possibility of expanding to a full fledge event planning business also exists.

The biggest disadvantage is not only that it is seasonal but there is only certain number of weddings that you can handle at a time even during the peak season unless you hire other people to help you.  The second major disadvantage is that since weddings are normally planned six months to a year in advance, it may be at least that long before you get paid unless you agree on a progressive payment plan with your clients.

Resources required for starting and operating the business
Although this is a business that you can literally start with no capital but it will be good to have the following to run your business in an organized and professional manner:

In addition to a computer that is must for any type of business these days; other things that you will need are multi function printer, wedding planning software, cell phone, and office furniture. Moreover, wedding planning being a glamorous business you must have a wide selection of wardrobe, makeup and hairstyling for yourself according to the type of clients you are dealing with. You must also keep a reasonable budget for marketing expenses including web site development.

How to acquire business
Although all young people reaching the age of marriage and their parents in upper middle class and onward segment will be your prospective clients but there is another important segment that could have high potential and as such you should focus on are the overseas Pakistanis. When it comes to the marriage of their children, most of the overseas Pakistanis come to their country and having been out of touch with local environment for a long period would need the help of a wedding planner most. The good thing is that they can afford it too.

I am a firm believer that a web site is a must for any business these days. Therefore, the first step in your marketing efforts should be to establish your web site. It will be a great idea if you can offer your clients to maintain their wedding albums on your web site. Maintain a portfolio of your projects online and in hard copy as well.

Personal contacts will be the single most important source for acquiring business. So network extensively in your community, participate in social events and trade shows. Leave your business cards & brochures with other providers of wedding services such as caterers, venue managers, beauticians, florists, photographers etc. and ask them to refer clients to you. Use direct mail to send your brochures to prospective clients, launch your newsletter, exhibit in bridal shows, list in directories and advertise in specialized magazines.

How to launch your wedding planning business
Before you start your business, it will be a good idea to spend some time with another wedding planning or related business such as a caterer on voluntary basis to learn the intricacies of the business. Attend bridal shows and courses if available in your area. Establish contacts with vendors like caterers, hotels and wedding venues, decorators, florists, photographers & videographers and beauticians etc. Once you are ready to take your first project, I would strongly suggest that initially organize few weddings for your friends and relatives free of cost to gain further experience. However, you must ask these friends and relatives to allow you to include their wedding pictures in your portfolio for the promotion of your business.

And as usual, finally, a word of caution: the purpose of this article is to help you identify a potential business. You must conduct your own research before entering into it. Author or Motherhood will not be responsible for any consequences for selecting a business based on this profile.


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