Wedding Planners

Wedding Planner - Calgary

Donna, 33, is a wedding planner based in Calgary, Alberta. Although she works full-time as a courier for an international courier company, she is currently trying to get her own business, Cloud Nine Wedding Design, off the ground.

Stephanie: What made you decide to become a wedding planner and how did you become one?
In 1997 I decided to design wedding dresses for brides who were not that perfect model size. My best friend was engaged and she was complaining about how she couldn't find any wedding dresses don't compliment her plus-size figure. I started drawing and designing wedding dresses on paper. I then decided the next step was to take a sewing course. I strongly, strongly disliked it - sewing was NOT for me.

I then decided that I would design a computer program where a plus-size bride could bring me a picture of herself, and we would scan it onto the computer, and then custom design a wedding dress for her.

The problem was that I didn't know how I was going to attract brides to begin with. Then I saw a course offered by the International Correspondence Schools (ICS) - now Education Direct - to become a bridal consultant. I took the course and enjoyed it so much, I decided to become a bridal consultant first and a wedding dress designer second.

Stephanie: What do you like about your job?
I like helping couples to attain the happiness they want for their wedding day. I also really enjoy networking with vendors/suppliers.

Stephanie: What is your least favorite part of the job?
Paperwork! The business end of owning your own business. Writing business letters is very hard for me. I want to sound professional, without boring the reader.

Stephanie: What advice do you have for someone considering becoming a wedding planner?
Take a course and join an association of some type. Both of these add credibility to your reputation by proving to couples that you are serious about being a bridal consultant as opposed to some other consultants/planners who are weekend hobbyists.

Stephanie: What kind of an education do you need to be a wedding planner?
Actually, you don't need any formal education to be a wedding planner. Some associations will require you to take courses to advance to different membership levels.

I believe to be a true wedding consultant, one should get a business diploma or degree, take some psychology courses, and, of course, any courses offered by your association.

Stephanie: Do you have a wedding horror story?
My horror story is about the very first mistake I made as a wedding coordinator - it happened during my very first wedding job. I had every piece of paper I could think of - I had copies of contracts, itinerary, names of important people, etc. However - the one piece of paper I didn't think to get from the bride was a copy of what the MC (master of ceremonies) was going to say.

Well, he caught me off guard. In front of the entire room full of guests, he requested something from me that I had no way of getting! I didn't know what to do. I tried to get what he had requested, while he stalled with idle chit-chat, but after five minutes, I came back into the banquet room and motioned to the MC that I couldn't get what he needed. The MC went on, but that small error had made my company (and me!) look very bad. I looked extremely unorganized. Bad, bad mistake.

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