Army spouse Regina Weber loves to plan events.
She used to spend her days taking photos at a local Sears Portrait Studio. She spent her nights planning parties. When her family or friends had bridal showers, baby showers, anniversaries or birthday bashes to throw, Weber was their go-to girl. After her manager asked Weber to plan her wedding, Weber was ecstatic. She dove into the details with the eye and attention of a professional.
So, she thought, why not be paid to do what she loves?
Weber attended an online college and earned her bridal consultant certificate in six months. During that process, her name was given to potential employers. Soon, she was hired by A Piece of Cake Wedding Design, a national wedding consulting company. She has worked for the group for nearly a year, planning weddings near Fort Hood, Texas, where she and her husband live.
“I love it. I wouldn’t change careers,” Weber says.
Despite the fairy tale-like notion of continually planning the world’s happiest days, Weber says kick-starting her business was no fantasy. “It’s rough the first couple of years until you get your name out there and let people know you and your work,” she said. “Patience is key.” Still, Weber says wedding planning has given her the ability to be home with her kids if they are sick, and set her own schedule.
David Wood is president of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC), the oldest and largest organization of wedding professionals in the world. He said some of the association’s largest regional groups are composed of military spouses.
“You can certainly do this job anywhere and you don’t need $200,000 of inventory and a warehouse,” he said.
Outgoing personalities can try to create their own business without official training. However, many schools, and organizations like ABC, offer training and certification programs specific to the bridal industry for those interested. Aspiring consultants looking for broader training related to running their own business may want to consider an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business as well.
“When a bride is looking for a planner, the first place they start is with credentials and who has had formal training,” Wood said.
Military spouses who aspire to start a career in wedding planning must also be self starters to be successful, he said. Familiarize yourself with the hotels and meet banquet managers, suppliers and other vendors in your local area.
Weber said she hit the pavement to introduce herself to local wedding professionals and soon built enough business to earn upwards of $30,000 a year.
She said while she is happy in her new career her advice to military spouses, regardless of the job they choose, is just to get up and do it.
“The biggest thing to remember is that no matter how old you are, you can always go back to college,” Weber said.