wedding specialist

I'm A Certified Wedding Specialist... Now What?

At Weddings Beautiful we know a lot of wedding experts.  So we've reached out to some fantastic wedding planners who are doing amazing things with their business and asked them to share their secrets with you.  A special thanks to our expert Crystal Marie Young-Lewis for her fantastic advice!
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Diving Head First into Business and Getting a Wake Up Call

I got my CWS and I was ready to roll. 

Actually, I was ready to roll when I ENrolled in the program, but I was seriously ready to get going with my business once I was officially certified. 

I took all that I’d learned, my energizer-bunny gumption, and dove in head first. 

But then, I got a HUGE reality check. 

Planning and designing the perfect wedding came easily. I was good at that. 

But, planning a wedding is one thing; growing your own business is another.

Booking brides every month and bringing in a consistent stream of income was h.a.r.d. 

It was easy to connect with brides once they were “in the door,” but how did I get them in the door? 

Why I’ve Never Stopped Learning (or Investing in Education)

I relied heavily on referrals, spent time brainstorming creative ways to get my name out there, and attended numerous conferences/workshops in order to extend my network and learn from different event professionals outside of my arena. I also attended every bridal show you can imagine. 

Starting my business was a huge leap of faith, but, sometimes, the only way to get to where you need to be is to leap. 

I booked events, I loved what I was doing, but despite all of my efforts, I wasn’t reaching my goals and I didn’t feel like I was creating the sustainable business I’d always dreamed of. 

So, I invested in a business coach who also ran her own successful wedding planning company.

I knew that if I was going to truly succeed at running a business that could give me the kind of lifestyle I wanted, I had to continue to invest in myself and invest in learning. 

I went from hustling to taking a step back and building the foundation of my business right. 

I set up systems, I set up processes, I learned how to use social media to market effectively, and I learned the value of viewing other wedding planners not as my competition, but as my community of professionals and friends. 

I self-published my first book: “A Girlfriend’s Guide to a Crystal Clear Bride: No-nonsense Wedding Tips from a Seasoned Wedding Planner” and continued to find ways to add value to my brides.

The more I stepped out, the more I began to believe in myself eveeeeen more and the value I had to offer. As I got the foundation right, what I was building became more solid and sustainable. 

As wedding planners, it’s easy to forget about the business and marketing side, because we want to focus on creating and organizing, BUT, we’re really only free to create the experience we hope to for our clients, when we have the right things in place. 

 

As Wedding Planners, Sometimes We Forget to Plan for Ourselves

As wedding planners, sometimes we forget to plan for ourselves and for our businesses. We plan for our couple’s weddings, but we don’t always have a step-by-step plan for how we’ll attract brides, interact with them once they contact us, and nurture them through the process of choosing us. 

We create an amazing “end” experience with their wedding, but we forget about the experience from the moment they fill out a contact form or give us a call. 

If I could offer any advice to those just starting out, it would be to spend the time to really plan for yourself and your business and to lay the foundation correctly. 

Create a proper marketing plan, be completely prepared for clients with canned email responses, welcome guides, frequently asked questions, and valuable content they’ll benefit from. Give them an experience that wows from the beginning not just from the moment they sign the contract. 

I absolutely love being a wedding planner and running my own business. Now that I’m running in the “right gear” and have trained for what I’m going to encounter, I’m even more excited about what the future holds. 

Plan for you and your business, then you can truly plan for brides and give them the type of experience that’s going to keep them sending others your way.


Crystal Marie Young-Lewis is the founder and Chief Event Extraordinaire at Crystal Marie Events located in Detroit, MI. She is also the author of the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller “A Girlfriend’s Guide to a Crystal Clear Bride.” Crystal is known for her no-nonsense wedding planning tips, her zest for life, commitment to her brides, and her out-of-the-box style and personality. Crystal Marie Events was voted the 2015 Best of Detroit Event Planner and she continues to win over brides and entire families with her authenticity and humor.

5 Qualities You Need To Make It As A Wedding Planner

 

If you want to be a professional wedding planner we can help you.  But type of person makes a great wedding planner? We asked our expert Nancy Tucker to tell us what personal qualities a wedding planner needs for a successful business.

Your heart has gotta be in it.
First you have to want to become a planner for the right reasons.  If you are in it for the money, don’t hold your breath.  Volumes of “want to be’s” appeared on the scene after the Movie “The Wedding Planner” hit the screen.  They saw the movie or went to a wedding and became enamored with idea of going to a wedding every weekend. Of those numbers few remain because they did not get into it for the right reason.  

Become a people person.
It does not matter how much of a “professional” you are if you don’t have compassion and consideration for others you will kill your business.   Case in point, I had one bride who chose to use a famous photographer because he had shot an iconic American photo.  The day of the wedding he was pushing guests and rude and inconsiderate of guests.  I never worked with him and eventually the bride told him he had done enough and he could go.  So even though his reputation preceded him, he was not wedding photographer material because he wasn’t a people person.

An eye for detail.
Next you need to be detail oriented and able to keep detailed records for several brides at a time.  This doesn’t mean you have to be so OCD you alphabetize your spices, it means you hold all of the pieces of the puzzle that make that bride’s day, so you better not be missing a piece.

Networking skills.
Then you need to know the vendors available in various categories.  It is extremely important to know professional caterers who are able to work with the low budget as well as the sky is the limit bride.  You will be recommending options to your clients based on their budget and personality.  Most importantly is learning the venues around you.  You need a point of contact at the venue, know what options are available, can you do any outside ceremony if desired and is there a plan B if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

A professional attitude.
It's important to know when you need to bite your tongue or speak your mind in different situations.  Many vendors have been left with bad feelings toward Professional Wedding Planners because of the hobby planner who came in wielding the sword only to have nothing work properly and leaving the burden on your caterer and your venue manager.  Your assurance and perfect performance are the only way to take down the shield they feel toward you.

Once you have come up with these basics you can use the knowledge from your Certification Training and you will learn something new at every wedding.  The walk into the fire is much better when you have the know how and confidence to put the fires out.

 

What People Are Saying About Us

You want to be a wedding planner... but where do you start?  
How do you get certified to be a wedding planner?  What are the best wedding planner certification courses?

You have big dreams but you also have big questions.

Weddings Beautiful courses go beyond the basics, and are designed to give you the tools and the confidence to pursue your dreams. Wedding planners around the world have earned the CWS title with our online course.  What are they saying about Weddings Beautiful? Well, here's a little feedback from Weddings Beautiful Certified Weddings Specialists:

 

"I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude in guiding me to finish this course. I know it took me a while to complete it but I really appreciate all your encouragement, understanding and patience. I would love to meet all of you one day and rest assured that everything that I have learned in this course will be used to further establish the wedding industry all around the world. Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
J. Dela Cruz 

"Weddings Beautiful has given me clear, creative, and compelling information that is helping me turn my passions into a career and letting my gifts shine! The training course has enabled me to focus my creative spark to help others realize their wedding visions."
Janel B. Keen, Vivid Expressions

"I have been extremely happy and satisfied with each lesson of the training course. I have not only learned about the wedding industry, but also how to better conduct the everyday life of my business. The assignments go over everything you need to know about how to become a successful wedding planner and how to be a true professional."
Tina Zabetakis, Wedding Dreams & Party Themes

 

"The training course was great. It was extremely insightful and informative. I don't think I could have learned more anywhere else. The staff at Weddings Beautiful has been more than helpful when I have questions about an upcoming event or a concern with my business. Keep up the great work!" 
E. Murdock

"Your course has met all of my expectations. From the chapter on ‘Time’ to ‘The Ultimate You,’ I have found pearls of wisdom that reinforce my beliefs and ground my eyes to areas of my life and personality that need polishing. Thank you for providing a program that will help me move forward in my business with greater confidence and insight." 
L. Bathgate

"The training course is a detailed offering of tremendous knowledge on wedding planning. There were areas that I had never even considered when working with a couple, and they have helped me sell my services. Whenever I've had a question, I can call WB, email, or fax, and get a quick response."
S. Lyons

"Unequivocally, I was impressed with the Weddings Beautiful course. I’m grateful to WB for its hard work to provide small businesses like mine the correct tools to ensure success.
Thank you for offering a program that so aptly enables the fulfillment of a personal dream.” 
K. Dryden

 

"The lesson on ‘Mental Power’ really set my mind to work. I feel like I am revved up, and ready to go. Thank you for the mental stimulation, and making me hungry for more." 
C. B. Cunanan
 

Whether you're dreaming of being your own boss, making a career change, or advancing your business, Weddings Beautiful will be with you every step of the way.  What are you waiting for? Enroll today.

Why Choose Weddings Beautiful

You're excited to start your career as a wedding planner but you aren't sure where to get your certification. There are many programs available for becoming a certified wedding planner and it may be hard to know who to trust to give you proper training and support for your business. We believe one of the things that sets Weddings Beautiful apart from other programs is our history.

Weddings Beautiful was founded in 1968 with the vision of Gary Wright, to provide quality education and support to aspiring wedding planners worldwide. Weddings Beautiful currently has two certification programs, a membership association and licensees in Japan, China, Mexico, Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and the Caribbean. The course is available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and French.

The Certified Wedding Specialist course was first offered in 1954 as part of the National Bridal Service, America’s first national association of bridal consultants and wedding related businesses. In 1968, the course was adapted to the training of wedding planners and coordinators. Since then, Weddings Beautiful has been providing professional home study training, recognition and support to individuals that have or desire to have a successful wedding planning business. The 18-assignment course is designed to educate you on becoming a successful and professional wedding planner. When you have completed and passed all assignments, you will receive the CWS title and a Certified Wedding Specialist certificate.

The Certified Wedding Planner program was developed in 2008 for the established wedding planner who would like to add the CWP certification to their credentials. To qualify for this program, you must have been in business as a wedding planner for at least two years and performed a minimum of ten weddings. This certification distinguishes the most professional planners from the rest.