Weddings represent a $4 billion industry in Australia, which isn’t that surprising once you consider the expense of the rings, gown, flowers, photography, ceremony, reception and so on.
According to market research agency IBISWorld, the wedding industry is tipped to grow by 6.6%, or $256.6 million, this year alone.
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IBISWorld says the number of marriages is expected to rise in 2011 as a result of the strong Australian economy, an increase in disposable income and rising consumer sentiment, after couples reigned in their spending – or postponed their wedding completely – during the global financial crisis.
Cashing in on this trend by starting up a wedding planning business could, if done correctly, prove fruitful.
What is it and who is it suited to?
A wedding planner is a professional who assists with the planning and organisation of weddings. To survive in such a high-stress environment, you must be patient, extremely organised and able to think on your feet.
A wedding planner’s ultimate goal is to ensure everything is perfect for the bride and groom on their big day. However, your ability comes down to how well you can handle a crisis either in the lead-up to the wedding or on the day itself.
Rules and regulations
The Wedding Planning Association of Australia was established in 2008 with the aim of holding wedding planners accountable for their actions. All WPAA members must abide by the following code of practice:
- All members must abide by the code of practice set by the WPAA in order to be a member.
- All members must hold a certified wedding planner certificate or have attended a recognised wedding planner course.
- All members must understand that we have the right to cancel any membership, if you are found in breach of the code of practice.
- All members must be truthful and transparent in all business dealings with suppliers and prospective couples.
- All members are encouraged to give their clients an evaluation form for feedback.
- All members must provide truthful and accurate information with respect to advertising.
- All members must uphold each other’s businesses and must not defame any other wedding planner business. If this is the case, their membership will be terminated.
Research and competition
In addition to regulating the industry, the main goal of the WPAA is to support wedding planners with online advice and assistance on industry-related matters.
“The association will be a source of encouragement and reassurance for our members in all areas of planning,” the WPAA says.
The association has also established a unified standard for all current and prospective wedding planners, which it hopes will serve as an incentive for wedding planners to pursue a professional education from an established wedding planning business.
According to the WPAA, all members must provide proof of their completed training and certification to the association.
“The WPAA takes pride in keeping the industry standards high so many will aspire to become wedding planners, and referred work will be in abundance, due to the standard you have set for your business,” it says.
Costs and earnings
There are more than 100,000 weddings in Australia each year at an average cost of $30,000, and time-poor couples are increasingly likely to turn to a wedding planner to arrange their big day.
Aside from a few thousand dollars for advertisements in the plethora of wedding-focused magazine titles, as well as a website and business cards, it will cost you next to nothing to get up and running.
Paula Barham, founder and director of Wedding Inc. Australia, started her own wedding planner business about six years ago.
“I started on the local market and picked up about four weddings a month and [was] taking in between $3,000 to $4,000 a wedding,” she says,
“Then I decided to plan Japanese weddings and, from day one, I made a contract with some agencies to plan eight weddings a month and our business just grew.”
An average day
A day in the life of a wedding planner could include any of the following tasks:
- Meeting with the couple to identify their needs.
- Preparing a budget.
- Planning a detailed checklist.
- Preparing the attendee list.
- Identifying ceremony/reception venues.
- Indentifying and hiring wedding professionals and service providers including caterers, photographers, videographers, a beautician and a florist.
- Coordinating deliveries and services on the wedding day.
- Devising a backup plan in the event of a disaster.
The Wedding Planning Association of Australia
Wedding Inc. Australia
0405 192 179
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
02 6273 2311 (Canberra)
03 9668 9950 (Melbourne)
Australian Government Small Business Support Line
1800 777 275