Become a Top Wedding Planner – DO’s and DON’Ts of Planning Events for Free
Knowing how to plan weddings and events is a valuable skill. It is so valuable that many professional and non-profit organizations will approach you asking you to devote your time to planning their event in exchange for opportunities to market to their group.
Many new wedding and events planners agree to do them in hopes that they will get “noticed” and pick up a lot of new clients.
But you have to be very careful whenever you agree to work for free. You need to always make sure people understand you are a serious professional wedding and event planner who offers valuable services and is paid well for your skills and expertise.
Here are my DO’s and DON’Ts regarding working for free:
DO find out exactly what your responsibilities would be before you agree.
You need to know if you will be required to just find a venue, send invitations and manage RSVPs, or plan and manage the entire event by yourself from start to finish.
DON’T believe it when the group tells you that you will get a lot of business from planning the event.
You may get some exposure, but unless the group includes a large number of brides and others in your target market, you may not get very many opportunities.
DO write a contract, just like you would for a paying client, and ask the group to sign it.
Clearly state what you plan to do, how much you would charge if they were a paying client and add the statement “fee waived.” Then state what you expect the group to give you in lieu of money, such as recognition as a sponsor.
A contract will help make it clear to others that you are a professional and it will help you to see how much of your valuable services you are offering for free.
DON’T be afraid to say, “NO”
You plan events to earn a living. Any event you do for free takes your time, energy, and even money, if you need to drive around making arrangements or use your own materials and equipment to make the event run smoothly. Don’t be afraid to decline if the opportunity offers little or no value to you.
You might be thinking, “I don’t have many clients right now, I might as well do it anyway.” But if you aren’t already working with brides or other clients, you should be spending your time actively marketing your services, both online and offline. So only take on a free event if it gives you an opportunity to market yourself or is a charitable cause that you want to support with your time and energy.