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Wedding planners- what do they earn and how do you become one?

Working in hospitality, or running your own event business, is full of rewarding moments. But to work as a wedding planner is a unique career unlike any other. If you dream of helping couples plan some of the most special days of their life, then it could be an incredible career choice for you. 

With the world beginning to open up after COVID-19, the wedding sphere is exploding. With a backlog of weddings that have been on hold now ready to be rescheduled, more couples are turning to planners to help them handle their big day. 

So what does this role actually entail, and what can you earn in the wonderful world of weddings? Read on to find out all you need to know about becoming the most sought-after star of these momentous events.

What do wedding planners do?

As a wedding planner, you are responsible for the planning, preparation and smooth running of all kinds of marital events. This could be just the wedding day itself, but it could also stretch to cover the entire process, including the engagement celebrations and the honeymoon. This all depends on your clientele and what package they are after. Usually, wedding planners offer these different levels of service to their clients.

On a typical project, you’ll start by discussing with your clients what level of service they require, plus their dream ideas for their special day. You will also get an idea of their budget, so you can go away and prepare a proposal. A proposal sets out options for location, themes, timescales and also the costs involved. 

Once finalised, the preparation work begins! Tasks can include:

  • Visiting and booking a venue
  • Negotiating with suppliers for catering and photography
  • Booking entertainment
  • Booking florists
  • Managing event staff
  • Preparing a detailed itinerary for the day
  • Producing materials such as name cards, table settings and invitations

In the run-up to a wedding, planners will often work overtime with evenings and weekends fully booked. Especially in the spring and summer, when the wedding season is at its busiest.  

Planners also attend on the day, to be on hand as a calming influence for the couple, as well as to oversee the smooth running of the event.

Many planners find that the reward of witnessing a happy couple celebrate their special day together is the most fulfilling part of their career. 

How much do wedding planners earn?

The average salary for a wedding planner in New Zealand is $51,000.

Wedding planners can choose to charge a fixed fee for their services, or can instead charge a percentage of the total cost of the wedding.

Often a self-employed role, this means you are in charge of the additional administrative tasks such as your accounts and promoting your services, which should always be factored into your fees.

What skill does a wedding planner need?

While it can certainly be a glamorous and exciting job, wedding planning also requires an intricate and important set of skills.  

  • Industry Knowledge – it’s vital to have a comprehensive knowledge of wedding venues and suppliers. Great planners are masters of food, service, timelines, flow, logistics & guest experience. Background research and experience in these areas is crucial.
  • Flexibility & Empathy – catering to couples’ specific needs and listening to their vision is what creates a flourishing wedding business. Each person has a different idea of the perfect day, so being able to adapt to different tastes and styles is a key skill. By being able to follow the emotional desires of your clients, you will create unforgettable experiences for every single guest – who will automatically want to book you for their own wedding. Plus, a happy couple will do wonderful word of mouth marketing for free!
  • Calm Under Pressure – a couple’s perfect day has to be just that, perfect! Being able to smooth out issues and keep calm under pressure is an important part of being a wedding planner. 
  • Creativity – whatever the theme or style favoured by your clients, you can make it an unforgettable experience with your own creativity. Staying on top of trends will also help you offer your clients the newest ideas and fresh perspectives. 
  • Financial Skills – as well as managing your own finances, you’ll have the responsibility of spending for your clients. Being able to work within complex budgets and keep track of expenses is vital. 
  • Organisational Skills – being a planner involves juggling a variety of elements and people at once. Being proficient in time management, scheduling and communication will help every event run smoothly. This is even more true if you are coordinating several events at once in your head!
  • Passion & an Entrepreneurial Spirit – a love for hospitality and customer service focused careers is key. As well as having an entrepreneurial mindset to start a career built on passion. 
  • Never Stop Learning – the best wedding planners are constantly updating their knowledge and skills. They take hospitality courses online, attend workshops, work on short business courses and keep up to date with the latest event news. By continuing their development in key areas of hospitality, they can offer their clients more every year and build their business.

How do you become a wedding planner?

No formal qualifications are needed to become a wedding planner. However, as we can see, there is a specific and comprehensive skill set required to find success in this role. This is why most start out with a wedding planner course. The good news? This area of online learning in New Zealand has never been easier to access.

Our Wedding Planning & Event Management course offers a breadth of industry knowledge online, specifically designed from the ground up by industry professionals to kickstart your hospitality career. You will learn all the exceptional skills and knowledge needed to offer your clients a second-to-none service. With additional modules covering management, marketing and finances, you’ll also be ready to start your new career the right way. 

Learn at your own pace, on your own schedule with our affordable and flexible course structure. Meaning you can keep earning while you learn, and get ready to take the wedding world by storm. We can’t wait to see where you go!


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