Thursday, February 16, 2012
Nikolai Baker talks to Georgina Postlethwaite, conference and events manager at the Assembly House, about what it is like to be a wedding planner.
Many training routes can lead to this role including event organising, hospitality and catering, project management or public relations. Many people choose to become a professional wedding planner after organising their own wedding.
There is no industry recognised qualification in wedding planning although qualifications in a related area like event organising or hospitality management would be an advantage.
A Foundation Degree in Event Management will take two years to complete
• City College Norwich 01603 773773/ www.ccn.ac.uk
Offer a wide variety of full-time and work-based hospitality and event management courses from level 2 to a Foundation Degree in Leisure and Events Management.
• College of West Anglia 01553 761144/ www.cwa.ac.uk
Offer full-time and work-based options in hospitality and catering.
• University Campus Suffolk 01473 338833/
Offer a two year Foundation Degree in Hospitality and Event Management at their Great Yarmouth campus and a BA (Hons) in Event Management at Ipswich.
• Poultec 01362 850983/ www.poultec.co.uk
Work-based routes in hospitality and catering
• Apprenticeships www.apprenticeships.org.uk
For further information check:
• UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) http://www.ukawp.com/index.php
Starting salaries in event/ wedding planning for companies are around £16,000 - £20,000 a year. Many wedding planners are self-employed and charge an hourly or flat fee or a percentage of the cost of the wedding.
Why is it a good profession to get into?
To be working in this environment and being able to plan someone’s special day is just an incredible opportunity.
As a wedding planner you are potentially planning the biggest day in your client’s life and it is just great to be involved in helping to actually put their ideas into practice. It is an extremely interesting profession where you get to meet lots of different types of people; it couldn’t be a better job!
What does the work involve? The first part of my role is meeting with my clients to discuss what sort of wedding they want and then to show them what we can offer. The second part is working alongside them to plan, organise and execute the event which is great because I get to see the whole thing from start to finish.
There is a lot of communication involved in being a wedding planner and you are responding to questions all the time. The house is hugely busy with wedding receptions during Christmas and summer time; it’s a popular venue!
What are the positives/negatives of the profession?
I love the buzz that planning a wedding gives you. Being able to work as a team is another big positive, the staff at the Assembly House are an amazing group of people who are committed to making great things happen.
If there is a negative, it is probably the hours or the fact that there is a lot of weekend work involved which perhaps doesn’t appeal to everyone; it is not a negative for me though!
Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?
I think there is as there are lots of venues in the region that all require someone who is dedicated to taking enquires and turning them into live events.
I would recommend doing a BTEC in Hospitality Management as it gives you a basis in marketing, accounting, customer service skills, understanding the industry, conference and events. It is a good basis to start with as qualifications and experience go hand in hand.
What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?
You need to have a good track record as people need to have confidence in you to be able to plan and deliver their special day.
I would look to see if you had any customer service experience and, on interview, it is very much about your personality and commitment to working in an environment such as this.
It is also good to keep up with the latest trends such as vintage-themed events. You have to keep your finger on the pulse!