If you love the idea of spending hours choosing flowers, tasting cakes and taking care of all of the little details, you might want to consider a career in events planning. More specifically, wedding planning might be for you.
But a wedding planner’s life isn’t all glamour – most of the big decisions like the dress, colors and actual venue are ultimately in the hands of the bride. As a wedding planner abroad, you can expect to do a lot of legwork, finding the right napkins, counting chairs and making sure that everything is delivered on time. You’ll need to be ready to help with any aspect of the event, and do so at any time of day. For many, a wedding is the most important day of their lives, and they expect their wedding planner to be available for consultation and trouble shooting at all times.
If all of this still sounds like a job for you, the next step is to start doing research. Becoming a destination wedding planner isn’t exactly straightforward, and an Internet search using those keywords isn’t necessarily going to lead you right to your dream job. But like many unique jobs, a little creativity and some flexibility can help you hone the skills that you need to ultimately get the job you want.
Much of the wedding planning industry relies on word of mouth and reputation. Someone just starting out it in the business isn’t likely to snag the really coveted wedding planner jobs for high-end clients. Most planners start out with small weddings, and slowly work their way up. Other start out working as an assistant for a more established wedding planner to learn the ropes, make relationships with vendors and develop their own client base.
If you’d rather strike out on your own from the beginning, think about starting local. With no planning experience, you can look to your friends, family and other acquaintances to become potential customers. You will mostly likely have to work on the cheap, but working with friends can be a great way to get your feet wet. Just make sure not to bit off more than you can chew – some weddings can take 250 hours to plan. That’s more than a month and half working full time.
Once you have established yourself as a reputable wedding planner, you have a number of options to take your skills abroad. First, you can establish a "home base" and specialize in destination weddings, establish networks with resorts and hotels in popular locations like the Caribbean and Europe. Your job will be to plan from your home base, and you’ll likely travel with the bride and groom, and stay abroad through the ceremony and reception.
Others who are looking for a more permanent situation abroad should consider working directly for a hotel or resort, many of which hire full-time, in-house wedding and events planners that specialize in handling the details of destination weddings. As an in-house planner, you’ll do most of your planning by phone and on the Internet, before checking in with the bridge and groom just days before the ceremony. In some cases, the in-house wedding planner’s role is more operations-focused, and the happy couple will hire an additional planner to take care of the details at home, and the two will work together to make sure that everything is in place for the special day. Similarly, cruise ships employ wedding planners to get everything in order for a wedding at sea.
So how do you find wedding planner jobs abroad? The best place to start isn’t actually a job board or career search aggregator, but a wedding planning website. The Knot, which is the leader in all things bridal, keeps a comprehensive listing of the top resorts and hotels for destination weddings, and tracks which resorts have in-house wedding planners.
And there is not need to stop at weddings! Companies of all sizes seek out warm destinations for conventions, meetings and workshops, anything from a corporate retreat for 7 high-level executives to a major gathering of thousands in a nearby convention center. While these corporate events may not involve the same high-touch as the wedding planning industry, they can help you get to know the ins and outs of business abroad, and could be an excellent opportunity to establish a network of business contacts abroad if you plan to put down roots.