Top Wedding Planning Education
A wedding planner may seem like an unnecessary expense in the age when a $10,000 wedding is considered “cheap”, but the stress of coordinating such an important and complicated event could lead to hiring someone with planning expertise. While wedding planners are considered a subset of event planners, not all event planners can be wedding planners. Requirements surrounding weddings, marriage licenses and who can officiate at a ceremony mean that wedding planners need to be versed in state laws and regulations.
Courses in event planning and wedding planning
Programs and courses offered by members of the design and planning industry, such as Preston Bailey, are one option for new wedding planners looking for a professional network. Aspiring wedding planners may also explore taking classes at an event planning school. Wedding planning schools may require only a high school diploma in order to enroll; interested students can ask schools about prerequisites.
The founder of Le Concierge SF, Silvia Oppenheim, offers a chapter of her book Event Planning Careers online, and she mentions that Champlain College and Grand Valley State University provide event planning programs. She recommends that event planners study business to learn how to create business plans and budgets.
Event planning might be included in certain business programs; it's important to do research to confirm this. US News & World Report does not provide information on event planning programs, but does rank leading undergraduate programs for business specializations such as entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship programs could be of interest to those hoping to start their own wedding planning business. In 2012, US News & World Report listed the following as among the leading enterpreneurship programs, based on a survey of deans and senior faculty at schools accredited by the Association to Advance College Schools of Business:
1. Babson College
2. Indiana University --Bloomington
3. University of Pennsylvania
Management skills may also be important in orchestrating weddings, which involve multiple vendors. US News & World Report named the following as among the leading management programs, based on the 2012 survey data mentioned above:
1. University of Michigan--Ann Arbor
2. University of Pennsylvania
3. University of California--Berkeley
Wedding planning careers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups wedding planners with meeting, convention and event planners in general (BLS.gov, 2012). According to the BLS, many employers are seeking event planners with a bachelor's degree and work experience. Related majors include hospitality management, marketing, public relations and so on.
A wedding planner may need knowledge of human resources, interior decoration, public relations and event production. For more information about job outlook, education requirements and salary data please visit the online wedding planning schools page or find more information in the section on convention coordination and event planning.
Learn more about wedding planning programs available
When researching colleges and universities, make sure to verify that the schools that interest you are accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council or by another accrediting agency that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both. DETC and CHEA both provide a searchable list of approved schools.
In addition to accreditation from nationally and regionally recognized accrediting agencies, be sure to verify that certifications are offered from institutions approved by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. The institute also offers a searchable list of approved programs.
Sources and further reading: