Dear followers, I feel compelled to write this post after the hundreds of e-mails I receive every single day. I receive emails from girls who want to work as Wedding Planners in Spain and do not know how to start this job, i receive emails as well from those who have assisted to one of those hundreds of courses that “Wedding Planners” are teaching around the country and have not been helpful at all and of course i receive emails from those who want to make their trainees with me and from those ones who ask me what should they do to become a Wedding Planner.
I could go on and on, but since I would like to answer personally to all of them and it is not possible due my lack of time, I would invite all of them to read this post that might clarify how is the Wedding Planners sector in Spain at the moment. Hopefully it will also be useful to all those engaged couples that arise hiring these services to organize their wedding.
Currently, there is such an extent of intrusion into the sector of Wedding Planners in Spain that it becomes very difficult for anyone to really know who is and who is not a WP. Since the crisis began, the Wedding Planners are popping without rhyme or reason, and it is a service that has not been legally regulated yet. No university or college currently bids a degree or a Master with a minimum suitable number of hours that may allow anybody to call themselves Wedding Planner, so the result seems to be that in Spain if you have a cell phone, a computer, lots of free time and lots of chutzpah you become automatically a “Wedding Planner”!. This people creates blogs or websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts and in the meantime, all these “wedding planners” encourage each other with messages of praise, meetings, showrooms and sweepstakes to have thousands of followers while they expect any engaged couple to hire their “Wedding planner services”. In addition, their costs are minimum as they do not even pay their freelance legal tax (except for people that help them at the wedding), and they do not even have a real office (non-virtual),they do not pay a Liability Insurance for the event or they are not responsible of the final outcome of the wedding.
The most recent studies that have been done on the area of weddings in Spain tell us that only a 5% of engaged couples would be interested in hiring a Wedding Planner for their wedding, so it might really be only about a 1% or 2% that really do so. This makes us think in a very important question: Is the “wedding Planner” job a profitable business?? If we think as well that there are over 1,500 people who define themselves as Wedding Planners and really there is nothing behind them to support it, we should think about a second important question: can we compete with such hypocrisy, dishonesty and lack of professionalism in this sector??
Moreover, also from 2012 the courses given from “ experienced” wedding planners have increased about 10 times. Every day there are more and more Wedding Planners that follow this trend of "as there is no way to earn a living with weddings, I'm going to earn money from those who want to be wedding Planners"? and with a few hours and a certificate that comes out of a printer, they earn money from young girls who believe everything they are told and do not even know what to do and how to start. The more honest girls are those who write to us asking for advice and looking for answers. The less honest girls are those with this certificate taken of a printer with and invented career path and set to work as “Wedding Planners”.
As if the profession of Wedding Planners was so simple!! ... Yes ladies and gentleman, being a Wedding Planner IS a PROFESSION (not a hobby), taking in account that almost the 95% of these self named “wedding planners” in Spain are ending with the profession. It is a profession as you need to have a minimum of studies, which means that you would be able to create your business (does anyone know what a Business Plan, a Marketing Plan or a Financial plan is? ...) It is recommended as well to add a specialization and many hours of theory and practice in event management (there are several Masters in Event Management and you can make your trainee in event agencies, hotels, caterings, etc.), because a wedding is an event from the beginning to the end ,but much more personalized which makes it even more difficult. And when you have all that education, you add the legal requirements to start a business, such as signing up from the state treasury and the relevant departments of the state as a freelance event manager, you have a physical place to carry out the work, hire the necessary insurances and have contracted with the Social insurance of people working for you, you have already led almost one successful wedding, in that moment you can definitely say you are a “Wedding Planner”, but inexperienced.
That’s how you can start, as i did 12 years ago. When it takes many years of hard work dedicated to design and organize complete weddings (work on parts of a wedding is not being a “Wedding Planner” because you can not handle the event and therefore you can not take responsibility of it), plus many weddings behind your back and many successes, you will be able, then and only then, to say that you are a Professional Wedding Planner.
"The professionalism in the area of Wedding Planners in Spain is gained by years of experience, a high degree of industry knowledge, many successful weddings, and especially a lot of honesty." Currently the certificates obtained of these kinds of courses are useful to put on your CV or hang on the wall or on the web, but they are not helpful for anything else.
I hate to be so direct and raw with the reality that exists but it really hurts me to see how it is being given to understand the job of a Wedding Planners as a pop up profession, easy, perfect for making a living and with a great demand. Well no, it is just the opposite: neither is easy to do or easy to make a living with it, there is not a huge demand but lots of misrepresented offers and it is definitely not being professionalized.
Nowadays you need more than being a Wedding Planner to live well: If you have to face the intrusion and with only some engaged couples minded to hire a Wedding Planner service, you will work a very few weddings and it would be convenient that during the first years you combine this work with another one with a flexible schedule that might allow you to fit the schedule of your clients. When I started in this world of Wedding Planners I worked for 3 years at the same time in corporate events and only when I maid sure I gained the recognition and popularity i expected due the success of my job I decided to dedicate my efforts completely to work as a Wedding Planner. I can say as well that when I started there was not such an intrusion, and in Spain we were only a few working on this…
So all of these girls that are willing to be Wedding Planners need to be very aware of what they are getting into because or they place themselves at the same level of dishonesty than the rest of “Wedding Planners” and lie about years of experience or weddings held, or with nearly 2,000 Wedding Planners in the market, they would not have a chance of earning an honest living at the moment, at least as long as all this intrusion exists. Who do you think an engaged couple would hire first, the one who lies about their wide experience in weddings or the one who says with honesty that they have already started in the business???.
Please be aware that this high level of intrusion is growing and growing every day and you are not a Wedding Planner if you have organized your own wedding, you have worked a few times as a hostess or you have decorated a church or a banquet.
I am very sorry to be the one explaining the situation but someone had to do it. It was a really hard time when I had to open the market in Spain since 2002 and it hurts me to see that there is almost nothing of professionalism in the industry and it can be counted on the fingers whom are indeed Professional Wedding Planners. What I would like the most is that there were hundreds of Professional Wedding Planners, that work honesty and legally, in order to professionalize the sector what would make more couples to trust in Wedding Planners for the organization of their weddings, just like it is done in USA and UK.
In a future post, I will continue talking about the harsh reality of the Wedding Planners sector in Spain, because there is much more to tell and nothing nice to say about, and both those who want to join this sector and those brides and grooms interested on this service have the right to know.
This has to stop somehow because it is doing great harm to those couples who trust on these “pseudo Wedding Planners” and spoil them on their wedding day, and to those girls who want to become wedding planners and who are being robbed of time and money, and at the end, to all the Professional Wedding Planners that have been definitely working for years and have to realize that the sector is full of hypocrisy and falsehood.
Thanks for following and for reading till the end this lengthy post (there has been no way of summing it).
Wedding Planner & Designer and Managing Director of Exclusive Weddings, since 2002