The wedding industry is, by far, one of the most popular for people to try to break into. Not only is it amazing to be part of making someone’s special day extraordinary, but the industry is constantly in demand. Even in the worst of economic times, people will still have weddings, making this an incredibly rewarding and consistent gig. However, knowing where to start and how to grow in the field can be tough, which is why I’m bringing you a few helpful tips to consider before you graduate.

Establish A Savings Plan

If you’re serious about getting into the wedding industry, it would be wise to have a savings plan in place. Not only will this give you the safety, security, and flexibility of being able to move for a big job offer after graduation, but you’ll also have the comfort of knowing your bills will be paid as you transition into a new career. With approximately 79 percent of Americans having less than $1,000 in their savings account according to CNBC, this is not only a good tip for preparing for graduation, but also for entering the working world in general.

Start by looking at your current financial obligations, as well as how much you’ll be bringing in per month. If you do find yourself in some debt, try to find creative strategies to pay it off quickly. Don’t stress too much about paying everything off all at once, but rather work to establish a budget that contributes to your savings goals while balancing the rest of your obligations and paying down debt. A good rule of thumb is that approximately 10 to 20 percent of your take-home income should go toward savings.

Start Simple 

After you’ve established your budget, it’s time to see what’s available for you in the wedding industry. Whether it’s learning how to get an internship as a wedding planner or becoming a designer, it’s good to have a goal in mind for working toward your dream job. Although a paid internship might be the best job you can get straight out of college, you want it to be relevant and put you closer to your long-term goals.

According to Western Michigan University, the average paid internship comes in at around $16.21, which can vary dramatically depending on where you are (and what you’re doing). Try to find internships with upward mobility, which is a big reason why you should avoid the unpaid route. Not only will these solidify a job in the wedding industry, but they’ll also give you the chance to grow further. Furthermore, make sure the people you’re working with are those you genuinely enjoy and can see yourself working alongside for at least a year or two. The wedding industry can be incredibly competitive and it can be tough to break into a company and make yourself at home; however, with the right effort and outreach, you’ll find the right fit. 

Learn To Be Valuable

As you grow with the wedding company you’re working with, it’s essential to provide value outside of your immediate skill set. This is not to say you should be coding a completely new website or taking on their accounting, but being proactive in the right setting can go a long way. Plus, new abilities mean more leverage in negotiating your pay, which can mean the difference between getting to stay where you’re comfortable or finding a new position with another company down the line.

An excellent example of this is with design. When starting out, you might only be doing mailers or one-pagers, but the goal is to eventually grow into taking on more and more tasks. Take the time to learn all the ins and outs of PhotoShop, even experimenting with some logo design work or other design niches outside your traditional sphere of work. As noted by UpWork, designers can cost anywhere from $20 to $150 per hour, which is a pretty significant price tag. If you’re able to knock projects out of the park and exceed expectations, you’ll be able to command the kind of income you desire.

Expand Your Clientele

Finally, once you’ve established a foundation with one company, it’s good to start expanding your clientele. According to The Knot, the average wedding costs around $35,329, which means there is a wide market for you to tap into, but you’ll need outreach to do it. Whether you want to make custom bridal gowns or become a wedding coordinator, start building a client base now so that if you decide to go out on your own, you have a starting point to begin an independent business. The wedding industry is all about relationship-building (and relationship celebrating), so establish connections with those you want to work with over time.