Wedding Planning

Learn about the tasks involved in successfully planning and managing a wedding - hiring the band, liaising with the photographer, organising catering, finding the best deal for hiring venues and equipment, and much more!

Course Code: BTR104
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn Wedding Planning Fundamentals! Use your organisational skills to create the perfect day for the happy couple!

 

Become a wedding planner and make the your clients' day using your exceptional skills and knowledge in wedding planning. Help them celebrate love by taking the pressure off and make their 'dream wedding' a reality. This course will help you kick your wedding planner career off in the right direction!

You, their Wedding Planner, can make that happen. You have the people skills, remain calm, cool and collected under pressure and you have the skills and knowledge to think of all of the things that might go wrong on the day and resolutions to fix it. 

This course will allow you to consider all aspects of planning and managing a wedding event and you'll develop skills in management, organisation and event planning that can be used in the Wedding Planning industry.

There are so many opportunities for talent!

  • Run your own wedding planning business, or plan your own wedding.
  • Learn procedures that will enable you to be VERY well organised.
  • Learn how to advise the bride and groom on the wide range of options available when planning a wedding style or type.
  • Learn about the tasks involved in managing a wedding event.
  • Use this course to take your existing experience in a new direction; develop a hospitality business, such as a boutique wedding venue or work in the travel sector as a 'destination wedding' coordinator. 

The wedding planner needs to be able to stay calm when everyone around is not... and this course will show you how!

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction: Covers the nature, scope, opportunities and options available when planning a wedding. Looks at different types of weddings, understanding ceremonies (different religions, celebrants etc), receptions and working with wedding photographers, reception centres, churches etc.
  2. Planning: Choosing locations, services, products to use from reception centres, rings, the church or venue, catering and flowers. Also covers themed weddings, destination weddings and off-beat weddings.
  3. Managing People: Handling different personalities and the role of different members of the party.
  4. Managing Locations: Reception, Church, Photo Shoot Location, Pre Wedding Hen/Stag Parties etc.
  5. Managing the Programme: Arrivals, Departures, Ceremonies, Speeches, Entertainment, Eating, Drinking, Dancing etc.
  6. Other Issues: Photography, Video, Flowers, Clothing, The Beautician, Invitations, Stationery, Gifts etc.
  7. Managing the Client: Interviewing a Client, Facilitating a Plan, Budgeting, Establishing a Contract; Management Techniques, Flow Charts, Check Lists, Schedules.
  8. Managing the Wedding Day: Planning for Contingencies.
  9. Operating a Wedding Business: Naming your business, dreaming up the plan, designing a web page. Advertising, PR, Costing Structures, Finance, Contracts, Insurance, Starting a Business, Cancellation Policies, Industry Associations, Building Relationships with Service Providers.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Describe the nature and scope of wedding planning and the wedding industry.
  • Present a client with options and facilitate key decision making for a wedding.
  • Explain how to handle different personalities and the roles of different members of the bridal party.
  • Select and manage the use of appropriate locations for and associated with a wedding
  • Develop a programme or schedule of activities and events associated with a wedding.
  • Manage those events within the time constraints of the established schedule.
  • Effectively control events on the day of a wedding.
  • Improve your ability to communicate with, and assist the people who have employed you to manage a wedding; to achieve a desired outcome.
  • Prepare to manage a wedding day, planning for all foreseeable and significant contingencies.
  • Establish and run a viable wedding planning service.

What skills does a wedding planner require?

 

To be successful at wedding planning, you need to consider the following questions:

  • Do you enjoy working with people?

  • Do you enjoy planning big parties?

  • Are you a good negotiator?

  • Are you good at networking?

  • Are you a good facilitator?

  • Are you good at money management?

  • Are you a good listener?

  • Are you friendly and outgoing?

  • Can you calm frazzled nerves?

  • Do you know about flowers, colours, cutlery? (or can you find out about them).

  • Are you flexible?

  • Are you able to work at weekends and evenings?

  • Are you disciplined enough to work in your own home and organise yourself?

  • Can you do more than one thing at once?

  • Do you know about wedding traditions?

  • Can you keep ahead of wedding trends – keeping up to date with bridal magazines etc?

  • Are you well organised?

  • Do you have good fashion sense?

  • Can you help create that dream wedding?

 

Enrol in this wedding Event Management course.

                    Lay a foundation for wedding planning jobs in the event management industry.

 

 
The Wedding Planner's Main Role

The wedding planner’s main role is to ensure that the wedding goes smoothly. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of the traditional roles that each member of the party is required to fulfil. This may sound silly or trivial, but if the bride’s mother expects to perform a certain function, but the bridesmaid does it, it can cause friction.

Knowing the different roles can be useful. Having said that – it’s worth keeping in mind that many couples and families will not follow the traditional roles so you will need to clarify this before hand. Some roles that may have been undertaken by the wedding party might also be handed over to you as the wedding planner. Also, some of these roles will vary according to different cultures. As with everything, YOU need to clarify exactly what they expect you to do.
 

TYPES OF WEDDING CEREMONIES

Open communication with the people whose wedding you are planning is vitally important.  Research their culture and religious ceremonies and then ask as many questions as you can about the wedding day and what to expect.  Ideally you should speak to the priest, cleric or celebrant beforehand as well.

Traditional Christian Weddings

The traditional wedding may include key moments which need to be prepared for and photographed –

  • Father and bride walking down the aisle. (Is the photographer in place?)
  • Groom at the end of the aisle waiting. (Does someone have the rings?)
  • Candles in the church/location. (Does someone have matches / a lighter?)
  • People singing. (Do they have the words?)
  • Bride and groom saying their vows. (Do they know their vows?)
  • The kiss at the end of the ceremony. (Is the father of the bride standing in the way of the photographer?).
  • Walking down the aisle.  (Do people have rice or rose petals or something to throw?)

When organising the photographer in any religious establishment (church etc) you need to ensure that photography is allowed, as sometimes it isn’t.

The Christian ceremony may vary sometimes.  Some of the elements now discussed may not be included.  The Christian ceremony should be a reflection of joy, respect, dignity and community and love. The Bible does not specify the order of service, so couples may be creative. The main goal is that that couple have made an eternal covenant to each other before God.

Sometimes candles are lit before guests arrive. Sometimes ushers will light them as a prelude or part of the wedding ceremony.

The presence of parents and grandparents demonstrates honour to previous generations of marriage unions. Usually processional music begins with the seating of an honoured guest such as the –

  • Groom’s grandmother
  • Bride’s grandmother
  • Groom’s parents
  • Bride’s parents

Then the bridal procession will begin. The minister and groom will enter from the front (or sometimes be waiting at the front already). The groomsmen will also enter at the front unless they are escorting bridesmaids down the aisle.  Bridesmaids usually enter down the centre aisle one at a time. The Maid or Matron of Honour then enters. She may be escorted by the Best Man.  The Flower Girl or Ring Bearer then enter.

The wedding march will then begin with the bride who usually enters with her father (or whoever is giving her away).  The Bride’s mother will usually stand then as a signal for other guests to stand. The Minister may announce “All rise for the Bride”.

There will then be a call to worship, followed by some opening prayers.  The congregation will then be asked to be seated before the giving away of the Bride.   The couples then make their pledge. They will face each other to exchange their wedding vows.  They will then exchange rings. At this time there may be a lighting of the unity candle. There may be a communal prayer, then the couple kiss.
The wedding party will then leave the Church usually in the order of –

  • Bride and groom
  • Maid of Honour and Best Man
  • Bridesmaids or Groomsmen
  • Ring bearer and flower girl.
  • Ushers
 


Muslim – ‘Nikah’

To make generalisations about Muslim weddings is unadvisable. Muslims come from many different cultures - for example European, Turkish, African, Malaysian, and so on.  Thus, the Muslim wedding ceremony or ‘Nikah’ may vary from couple to couple.

For photographic purposes these ceremonies can offer rich and exquisite imagery.  The women may have henna tattooed hands and lots of jewellery.  They may also be wearing richly coloured silks and saris. If you are not familiar with Muslim weddings and are asked to organise one, it would be advisable to discuss this with the bride and groom, say you need their help and advice on what situations, photographs and so on are appropriate.  It will also be worth paying a visit to their mosque and Imam (the leader of congregational prayers) to discuss the procedure. 

In any wedding, it is better to ask than make assumptions and end up upsetting someone and so on.

In the actual ceremony, the Muslim wedding is known as nikah. The ceremony is simple. The bride does not have to be present, but has to send two witnesses to draw up the agreement. The ceremony consists of readings from the Qur’an and exchanging of vows in front of witnesses for both of the partners. There is not a requirement for a special religious official, but the Imam is often present and performs the ceremony. He may give a short sermon.

The marriage has to be declared publicly and this is usually achieved by a large feast or walimah – a party specifically to announce the couple are married.

There may be other wedding customs that relate to culture rather than Islam. The bride and groom may be obliged to sit on a throne or a platform to be seen by guests.  Some may receive money or gifts.  Many brides prefer a traditional white wedding dress, whereas some from the Asian subcontinent may prefer a shalwar-qameez in scarlet with gold thread and to have their feet and hands patterned with henna. They may also have feasts with males in a separate room to females.

Muslim weddings may take place in the bride or groom’s home, but to get enough space to accommodate guests, halls may also be used.  Wherever the wedding is performed, there are three phases of the wedding that must be followed –

  • Pre-wedding – The exchange of sweets, visits and fruit to the bride and groom’s houses.  The Muslim wedding is an important ceremony in Islam. It is the union of two souls. It is not just a single day, as there are formal procedures for the pre-wedding, wedding and post-wedding rituals.
  • Wedding – The wedding should be organised to be elegant and charming.  Different communities have different ways to organise this, which vary according to their culture.

Post-wedding – this is the culmination of the entire ceremony. Again, this will vary, for example, different communities will have different ways to honour the newly wed after the marriage. The post-wedding ritual is divided into four phases, where the family say goodbye to the bride, is welcome to her new home by the groom’s family.



Jewish Weddings

The groom – chatan and bride – kallah – are thought to consider this day the happiest and holiest of their life. On this day, their past mistakes are forgiven and they merge into a new, complete soul. Both the chatan and kallah fast from dawn until the marriage ceremony is complete.  The chatan wears a kittel, which is a traditional white robe worn on Yom Kippur. Sefardim however do not have the custom to wear the kittel and fast.

Customarily, the chatan and kallah do not see each other in the week before the wedding, increasing the excitement and anticipation of the event. Before the wedding, they will greet guests separately – this is known as Kabbalat Panim.

The couple are likened to a king and queen, with the kalah seated on a throne to receive her guests, whilst the chatan is surrounded by guests singing and toasting him.

At this time, in Ashkenazi tradition (Ashkenazi Jews apparently descend from medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany), the bride’s mother and groom’s mother stand together and break a plate to show the seriousness of the commitment. The plate can never be fully repaired, so a broken relationship can never be fully repaired.

After this comes Badeken, where the kallah is veiled by the chatan. The veil symbolises modesty and demonstrates that the soul and character are more important than physical appearance.  In Ashkenazi custom, the chatan and family and friends proceed to where the kallah is seated and places the veil over her face. This symbolises that the groom is committed to clothing and protecting his wife.

The wedding ceremony takes place under a canopy known as the chuppah, which is a symbol of the new home the couple will build together. It is open on one side to symbolise that all people are welcome. In Ashkenazi custom, the chuppah ceremony is outside under the stars. The bride and groom will wear no jewellery under the chuppah to show their commitment as people, not based on material possessions. Sefardim (Jews whose ancestors were from Southern Italy, Spain, Portugal, North Africa or Arabian cultures) have chuppah indoors usually.  The chatan and the kallah are usually escorted to the chuppah by their parents.  In Ashkenazi custom, the kallah circles the chatan seven times.  As the world was thought to be built in seven days, so the kallah figuratively builds the walls of the couple’s new world together. The kallah will settle on the right side of the chatan

The Kiddushin is a blessing of betrothal. Two cups of wine are used in the wedding ceremony. The first cup is accompanied by betrothal blessings from the rabbi. After this, the couple drink from the cup.  Wine is a symbol of joy in the Jewish tradition - associated with Kiddush, the sanctification of prayer performed at festivals and on Shabbat. Marriage, called Kiddushin, is the sanctification of the man and women to each other.

In Jewish law, the marriage is official when the chatan gives an object of value to the kallah, usually a ring made of plain gold without stones or blemishes, as it is hoped the marriage will be of simple beauty.

The chatan will take the wedding ring in his hand in front of two witnesses and declare to the kallah -
“Behold, you are betrothed unto me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel."

He will then place the ring on the bride’s forefinger of her right hand. This is the central moment of the wedding ceremony and the point at which they are fully married. The kallah can also give a ring to the chatan if they wish.  This is done afterwards, not under the chuppah, to avoid confusion on what actually constitutes the marriage.

The reading of the marriage contract or ketubah then follows. This outlines the chatan’s responsibilities - such as providing his wife with shelter, food and clothing and being attentive to her emotional needs. The marriage may not be solemnised until the contract is completed.

Two witnesses sign the contract and it is legally binding. The ketubah is the property of the kallah and she must have access to it throughout their marriage. It is often written in amongst beautiful art work, framed and displayed in their home.
The reading of the ketubah represents a break between the Kiddushin (betrothal) and the second part of the ceremony – the Nissuin (marriage).

The Sheva Brachot (seven blessings) is then recited over the second cup of wine.  The blessings are recited often by a rabbi or other people the family wish to honour. After the seven blessings, the chatan and kallah drink more wine.

A glass is now placed on the floor. It is shattered by the chatan’s foot.  This shows the sadness at the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and identifies the couple with the national and spiritual destiny of the Jewish people.  This marks the end of the ceremony. There will be shouts of “Mazel Tov”, and the chatan and kallah will leave the chuppah together.

The couple will then be escorted to private yichud rooms to be left alone for a few minutes. This seclusion is to symbolise their new status of living together as man and wife.

They will then also eat.  Serfardim do not have the custom of the yichud room.

Then follows the festive meal or Seudah. After the meal, the Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals) and the Sheva Brachot are said.
In the week after the wedding, friends and family may host festive meals for the chatan and kallah. It is called the week of Sheva Brachot.  If the bride and groom are marrying for the second time, then the Sheva brachot is only recited on the night of the wedding.


Buddhist Weddings

The Buddhist religion is renowned for its simplicity, which also follows through into the wedding ceremony.  The wedding is simple, without show. The wedding does not include any complex rituals. It is based more on belief and faith than a religious ceremony. There is often an effort to create a harmonious relationship.  It is up to the Buddhist couple whether they have a registered marriage or in one of the licensed Buddhist temples.  A typical Buddhist wedding will usually have two parts –

  • the Buddhist component – this includes prayers to the monks and almighty.
  • the non-Buddhist component – this includes traditional practices such as a prayer or feast or gift exchange.

Before the wedding, there are no mandatory rules or regulations. The marriage ceremony is treated as a social affair rather than a religious affair.



Pagan Weddings


In Pagan weddings, the wedding is usually carried out inside a purification circle in front of an altar that is within the circle. It may  be decorated with flowers and other fertility symbols, such as conch shells, colour eggs, figurines of Gods and Goddesses, pine cones etc. There may be many candles around the area.

 

Chinese Weddings

Chinese weddings and tea ceremonies are worth researching.  They vary from region to region and can include things like a red bridal veil, an elaborate head dress, the installation of the bridal bed and firecrackers.

Traditionally as part of the wedding day the newly weds serve tea.  There is a specific order in which the tea is served to various family members and formal modes of address.  If you are ever planning a Chinese wedding, you should make sure you are very well informed as to the proceedings, rituals and symbolism of each aspect of the wedding. 

Why Study Wedding Planning?

Wedding Planning is both an Art and a Science. It takes a special person to be a successful wedding planner - someone with sensitivity, creativity, excellent listening skills, a cool head and attention to detail. This course will help you to develop and apply these talents, growing your organisational skills along the way and giving you the technical knowledge necessary to organise and manage any significant social event.

Work as a wedding planner, or apply your skills to naming ceremonies, commitment ceremonies, renewel of vows events or life celebrations. Our lives are marked by special occasions and rites of passage that we feel a deep need to commemorate or celebrate. There is so much scope for people with fundamental knowledge and the right, can-do attitude.

Whatever your long-term goals, this course can be the starting point for a host of event management and hospitality careers - it just needs you to take the first step.

 

Read our article- How can a wedding planner help plan a wedding.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Christine Todd

University lecturer, businesswoman, photographer, consultant and sustainability expert; with over 40 years industry experience
B.A., M.Plan.Prac., M.A.(Social).
An expert in planning, with years of practical experience in permaculture.

Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy
Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo

Karen Lee

Nutritional Scientist, Dietician, Teacher and Author.
BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics.
Registered dietitian in the UK, with over 15 years working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projec





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Alison Pearce

Alison brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ACS Agriculture, Wildlife and Ecotourism students.

She has worked as a University Lecturer, a Quality Assurance Manager, a Research Technician, and has also run a veterinary operating theatre; responsible for animal anaesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniques and procedures. She has worked in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

She has extensive experience of handling, husbandry, and management of a wide range of both small and large animals and has a particular love for nature and wildlife

Melissa Leistra

Bachelor Education, Masters Human Nutrition

Melissa has a Masters Degree in Human Nutrition from Deakin University and Bachelor's degree specialising in personal development, health and physical education. She has enjoyed teaching Hospitality in the areas of commercial cookery and food and beverage. Her experience includes 16 years teaching health and nutrition and working in the hospitality industry. Melissa enjoys living a self-sustainable lifestyle on a farm and raising all types of animals. She is an experienced vegetarian/vegan cook and loves to create wholesome food using her slow combustion wood stove.

Rosemary Davies

B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing

Originally from Melbourne, Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Burnley, a campus of Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer.

She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe.

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