Hello all! I began my wedding planning business in the summer of '09, and I'm making my plans for 2010. I've been looking into various Wedding Planning Courses (LWPI, IWPP, etc.) and considering taking one, but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I of course did a lot of research before deciding to start planning weddings as a career, and I do have experience planning weddings for many of my friends and family- so I don't feel like I went into this blind. I'm sure that by taking a class I would learn things, but I feel I could learn them just as well from networking, reading, and experience. I know that being able to say that you're a "certified wedding planner" improves your reputation, but I'm curious to know how much it really matters to potential clients.
I guess what I'm really asking is- should all wedding planners take a course to become certified? Should I do it right away, in the beginning of my business, or can it wait until I have more disposable income to pay for it? Do you think brides care if we're certified? And finally, if you took a course, which one do you recommend?

Hope that's not too many questions and thanks in advance!

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Like anything else, it is a matter of preference. Many wedding planners are certified, many are not. I am not. I am a certified collegiate confererence and events professional, since I also work for an Upstate NY four year institution. But, if you have experience planning weddings and special events, you have to look at costs associated with becoming certified. I feel that I do not want to spend that money at this time, since I have only been in the wedding business side of things for just about a year and a half. My customers have not asked me are you certified. You have to sell yourself. Whether you have a paper or not saying you are what you claim to be, I do not think that is the deciding factor whether your clients choose your services or not.
My experiences have been pretty much just like Heart & Soul Events' comments. I have been doing this professionally since 2004 and even if prospective clients have asked me if I was certified, it has not been a make or break deal. I am sure there is much to learn from the courses, but they certainly aren't absolutely necessary to start/maintain your business.
I have been in the wedding business for 16 years and not one of my brides have asked me if I was certified or not. Most brides are looking for the connection that they will get when meeting with you. Also what I have found out that most of these companies want you to pay a monthly fee to be certified. I am a certified wedding planner and with the 2010 year here I will no longer pay for the work CERTIFIED. Instead I will put that money towards more marketing. Paying for the certification never offerd me anything other than what I could find on google
Hi Liane, for me, with my location being Sounthern California, it is important to be Certified(to some). A lot of Planners are not certified and are very successful in their careers, but every since I started my business vendors have asked. In fact, during my very first Walk-through at a venue with my Bride-to-be and her florist, the first thing that came out of the Florists mouth was if I was Certified through ABC. I let the florist know where I recieved my certfication & that it is recognized by ABC and is applied towards ABC's points system. Most Brides DO NOT care if your certified (I have found), its the venues & vendors that care mostly. I have the IWPP Certification, but I really want ABC's certification, so I may invest this year. The only reason I would even attempt to do such a big annual purchase for another certification, is because I want to work more of the Elite Locations & Prestigious Venues. Most of theses locations will not even consider you unless you are certified through ABC.
For the best certification, I say ABC directly, I wish I would have, but i am too very happy with my schooling & the Management courses they offered - that was the most important.. If you choose not to become certified and find down the line that more & more are asking about it, then consider it. But for now my advise is, as your a new business, I would put the money in advertising for now. Good Luck!
Hi Liane,

As you know, you don't need to be "certified" to become a planner. However, what this does for you is to give your clients the security of knowing you took the time to become the best you could be in the field of wedding coordination.

I offer a certified course "The Art of Wedding Coordination" that takes about 6 months to complete. I recommend to people that you should start putting the pieces together so when you are ready to go full time, you have all the tools in place.

On my website, you'll find additional information as well as things to consider before making the large investment of time and money. www.weddingsbytanya.com. Please feel free to contact me direct if I can answer any questions for you.
Check out www.divaweddingcoach.com. It's a fun, interactive community to get your started as a wedding planner. Learn the Insider's Secrets no one wants you to know.

Good luck!
Wedding Love and Hugs,
Tonya
Diva Wedding Coach
Hi Liane,
I too was asking the same questions when I started my Events Management company back in 2006, in regards to taking classes and such. I can honestly tell you that you should definitely take a course or some event planning classes if they're offered in your area. The thing that many don't realize is that when you've managed events and weddings you think that hands-on is all you need because it's the best way to show your experience, but once you start to read about the different cultures and have the knowledge on how many ways one culture can do things that's; what makes your stock go up in the eyes of the clients. I taught a wedding planning class last year and most of the women in there had planned weddings and other events in the past, but found that there were so many technical "rules" they didn't know about. To answer your question; no you don't need a certification (this profession is almost like the armed forces: don't ask don't tell), yes, it would make you look more credible and serious about what you do because you've invested the time, money (lots of money) and energy. And this will show the potential client that you will do her/him justice on their special day. As we all know everyone is an event/wedding planner in their own mind, but how many are Event/Wedding Managers that know the ins and outs of the industry by making the sacrifice of investing? Not too many.
Thank you so much everyone for your valuable advice! I think that for now, I'm going to begin saving to take a certification course in the future, but not stress myself about how soon I get to it. I think I will try to make it a goal to take one within the next year. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to respond- thanks again!
I'm from Canada and certified is getting to be a big deal here. There have been some awful horror stories in the media regarding wedding planners who aren't certified. Although there are some FANTASTIC ones who aren't continuing your education is never a bad thing. Although it's a Canadian certification I really can highly recommend the one through Wedding Planners Institute of Canada. It's the only certification for Wedding planners in Canada that has been approved by our federal government. People literally travel from all over the world to take the courses. All the wedding planners at Sandals Resorts are required to have this certification and some other hotel chains have been following that lead from what I understand. Their alumni association is very active. You should check it out if you're willing to travel for certification. http://www.wpic.ca/
I am a certified wedding planner in Canada as well. I highly recommend it. Not only education wise but also for the networking aspect. I have met so many wedding planners through the association and it's a great for support.It's the only certification for Wedding planners in Canada (WPIC) that has been approved by the government. I find that couples are more informed these days and are asking questions about certification, as well if you belong to any wedding related alumni.If couples are more informed,there wedding vendors should be as well. You can never go wrong on educating yourself.
I am a CWP, and do feel that it was worth the cost, but let me explain myself first.

Initially, I had looked into some of the better-known, higher-end programs, many which require a hefty annual membership and continuing education. Before I decided to be a CWP, I was a certified school teacher. I believe I have enough in the education department.

That being said, I decided to go with the online course through WPI (Lovegevity) it was something like $600 and provided a good business format. I feel that I received a decent amount of information to provide basics on contract law and business management in addition to an invaluable amount of documents to start my business with. I do feel that the course was worth it, and I often still reference the textbook.

The WPI course is offered through many community colleges, as well, but is significantly more expensive than just doing it yourself.
yes,Become a certified wedding planner and also well trained person will have more confident to plan a wedding.More wedding couples will approach you because the wedding planner person are agreed by the government and the people.It's very nice thing to help the wedding couples for planning their wedding.If any wants to plan their wedding,my suggestion to use the wedding planner iPhone app and get help for planning the wedding.

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