The results of the survey posted last week caused a ripple in the wedding planning community – some were surprised, some shocked and most became despondent. The question “is wedding planning a redundant service?” is on everyone’s minds. I do not believe wedding planning is a redundant service, I believe it is a professional services very much needed when it comes to modern wedding planning process.
Today, I would like to start a discussion on how do we change current circumstances. We need to take a hard look at reality and admit that there is an ongoing problem when it comes to generating an income as a wedding planner. In my opinion, there is a direct connection to the perceptions associated with wedding planners and the value placed on their services. Yes economy does play part, yes budgets are not limitless and yes we can still earn a good income if we are smart about it.
To establish how to shift from what it is now to what it needs to be, let’s look at how you started your business. How many of you watched a wedding program on TV and thought that wedding planning sounds like a good idea? How many of you perhaps recently got married and fell in love with the idea of working in the wedding industry? How many of you simply Googled wedding planning?
My research shows that too many South African wedding planners imitate wedding companies from other countries. The wording, packages and services offered are often identical from international websites. The biggest problem here is not the copying, but wether or not the companies from other countries are in fact successful. What if you are coping a business model that is not working? If you follow international wedding planning forums then you will gather that they are facing the same problems as us.
Wedding planners do not have clarity about their own services. They are misinformed, or only have half the information required for building a successful wedding planning career. Their lack of confidence stems from lack of knowledge about a successful wedding business. Unnecessary abuse, sacrifice and often finacial loss results from undefined service structure and poorly calculated packages.
Defining wedding planning services within South African context is crucial at this stage. Compiling a definitive list of services pertaining directly to wedding planning process and allocating clear responsibilities will make it possible to create value around wedding planning services. Let’s create a clear list of services which a planner needs to perform in order to become relevant and necessary component of every wedding.
If we understand what wedding planning is about, have a clear definition of our services, worth and role at the wedding we can actively educate our clients. We cannot continue operating in the state of flux. As a wedding planner you can only succeed if you are in control of the wedding planning process.