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ABC® Certified Wedding Planner Program Overview

You can become an ABC® Certified Wedding Planner and member of the renowned Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) in as little as three months. As a wedding planner, you can earn an annual salary of up to $60,000 or more.¹ With nearly 2.2 million couples getting married every year,² it’s the perfect time to prepare for your better future.

Penn Foster will help you become a wedding planner at home, on the go, and at a pace that’s right for you. Our accredited program provides everything you'll need to learn how to become a wedding planner—including guidebooks, ABC® membership at no cost, and a vast network of resources and event professionals—all at a fraction of the cost of other schools.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Objectives

Program Goal

To prepare students for an entry-level career as an Association of Bridal Consultants® Certified Wedding Planner.

Program Objectives
  • Recognize the wedding industry and the skills needed to handle the demands of being a bridal consultant and identify how these skills apply to the tasks needed during the planning process when meeting with clients to determine the type of wedding the client requires.
  • Understand how to coordinate every detail of events, from beginning to end by recognizing the scope of the event, including time, location, and cost of working with the client to choose where to hold the event, and whom to contract with for services (for example, florists or photographers), as well as event services such as rooms, transportation, and food service and confer with on-site staff to coordinate details.
  • Identify how to organize and conduct wedding ceremonies and receptions by reviewing places to ensure they meet the client's requirements and recognize the various types of wedding ceremonies and etiquette to share with a client.
  • Know how to establish yourself as a professional by studying how to create a professional portfolio which includes identifying which special licenses you’ll need to set up suppliers, vendors, and support group source files, and define basic marketing concepts that promote the business of consulting.
  • Comprehend how to develop agendas, budgets, and services according to customer requirements; recognize how to charge clients and collect payments; set up bookkeeping and files, inventory and billing control. Also, how to use appropriate business forms and understand strategies for organizing and managing your home office.
  • Recognize how to monitor event activities to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and laws, satisfaction of participants, and resolution of any problems that arise.
  • Understand how to promote bridal show services by studying tasks such as meeting with professional and trade associations, and producing brochures and other publications and design and implement efforts to publicize events.

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Introduction to Planning

Successful wedding planners are creative and business-savvy professionals.

Objectives:

  • Identify the skills necessary for success.
  • Learn the different elements of a wedding.
  • Describe the planning process to effectively manage all the details of a wedding.
  • Analyze the pros and cons of owning your own business.
  • Receive tips for creating a successful business.

Unit 2

The Role of the Consultant

This lesson provides an overview of the general planning process for weddings and honeymoons.

Objectives:

  • Learn the skills and qualities of successful wedding planners in greater depth.
  • Understand basic counseling concepts and the image categories of consulting.
  • Examine basic business etiquette for phone and email communications with clients.
  • Explore various aspects of networking and techniques for a client-centered business.
Wedding Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions

Weddings are deeply rooted in religious and cultural traditions.

Objectives:

  • Explore the different types of weddings and the planning considerations for each type.
  • Identify the traditional components of weddings.
  • Receive tips for helping your clients choose the best ceremony and reception locations.
Wedding Etiquette

This lesson helps you build a solid foundation in wedding etiquette.

Objectives:

  • Describe engagement period protocols.
  • Explain pre- and post- wedding parties and the roles of the wedding party.
  • Understand wedding expense responsibilities.
  • Create guest lists, announcements, invitations, and thank-you notes.
  • Plan for remarriages and vow renewals.

Unit 3

Basics of a Bridal Business

Set off on the right path by learning the basics of establishing and operating a bridal business.

Objectives:

  • Create a professional portfolio.
  • Choose the best office location for your business.
  • Learn techniques for charging clients, collecting payment, and maintaining your business files and records.
  • Assemble a successful planning team.
  • Work with suppliers.
Professional Wedding Vendors and Services

In this lesson, explore how to bring together various wedding components for your clients’ weddings.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to choose wedding jewelry, gifts, and attire.
  • Learn about the services offered by vendors so you can select the best music, floral, catering, and photography and videography for your clients.
The Business of Weddings, Part 1

Starting a new business is exciting, but there are inherent risks. To increase your chance of achieving success, this lesson prepares you for the demands of business ownership.

Objectives:

  • Learn the common causes of business failure and how to prepare for these challenges.
  • Develop a business plan.
  • Receive tips for choosing the best business formation and naming your business.
  • Identify common startup expenses.
Independent Project 1

Conducting a Site Inspection

Membership

Six-month novice membership in the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC®)

Unit 4

Ethnic and Specialty Weddings

This lesson is designed to help you better understand the cultures of various ethnic and religious groups.

Objectives:

  • Describe the wedding planning etiquette for various ethnic and religious backgrounds.
  • Identify the protocol for specialty weddings, such as military and destination weddings.
The Business of Weddings, Part 2

Continue to prepare for business ownership.

Objectives:

  • Learn how to develop a professional image.
  • Explore several consulting specializations.
  • Understand basics of client and vendor contracts as well as business bookkeeping, taxes, and insurance.
Negotiating with Clients

This lesson prepares you for the financial challenges of business ownership.

Objectives:

  • Determine how much you should charge for your services.
  • Manage your business costs.
  • Draft letters of agreements, handle bid mistakes, and increase your income.
Independent Project 2

Wedding Research

Unit 5

Multimedia Marketing

This lesson teaches you how to prepare a marketing plan to let people know that you are open for business.

Objectives:

  • Utilize the the right mix of media to market your new business.
  • Create a website and blog.
  • Understand how to provide an exceptional customer experience to generate referrals.
How to Participate in a Bridal Show

One way to market your business is by participating in bridal shows.

Objectives:

  • Learn bridal show terms and concepts.
  • Plan your exhibit and design your own booth.
  • Outline how to turn leads into clients.
The Home-Based Business

Turn your dream of owning a home-based business into a reality.

Objectives:

  • Learn the advantages and disadvantages of working from home.
  • Plan your home office and stay organized.
  • Manage your time wisely and establish a work-life balance.
Independent Project 3

Wedding Collage

Final Examination

At this point in your program, you will be required to take a Final Examination.

Graduation Gift

When you graduate...

When you graduate, you'll receive

(Sent to you when all program requirements and financial obligations have been met.)

  • Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette
  • Eligibility for Certified Wedding Planner™ status and consultant-level membership with ABC®
  • A $50 voucher - use it to extend your novice membership or apply toward the cost of Certified Wedding Planner membership

Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows XP® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
ABC is a registered trademark and Certified Wedding Planner is a trademark of the Association of Bridal Consultants in the United Stated of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Certified Wedding Planner sample lesson, click here.

ABC® Exam, Certification, and Membership

Our final exam is the ABC®’s Professional Wedding Planner Certification Exam, and once you pass it you are eligible for Certified Wedding Planner™ status and consultant-level membership.

As a member of the ABC®, you’ll receive career support from the world’s largest group of successful wedding planners. We’ll even help you celebrate your graduation by sending you a $50 voucher — use it to extend your novice membership or apply it toward the cost of a Certified Wedding Planner membership — and Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette, one of the most comprehensive wedding planning guidebooks ever written! Start our online wedding planner certification program today

Here are a few qualities that talented wedding planners have in common:

  • Detail-oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Creative: To plan weddings you need imagination.
  • Cooperative: You are pleasant and a good communicator.
  • Self-motivated: You often work independently and with non-traditional hours.

My business has picked up since I’ve finished school. People like hearing the fact that I am certified, so they know that I am serious about what I do.

Shamekia H., Certified Wedding Planner Graduate

Penn Foster gave me the tools as well as the contact information to succeed in my endeavors. Before I finished my program, I received an internship with a fellow Penn Foster graduate. I am now a Certified Wedding Planner.

Jean B., Certified Wedding Planner Graduate

I am proud to have graduated from Penn Foster and I would do it all over again if I had to. All of the instructors and the Student Service Reps are polite, caring, respectful, and knowledgeable. They are all willing to help and they take pride in their jobs and each student they speak to.

Tuesday C., Certified Wedding Planner Graduate

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Graduate debt free with 0% interest
  • Books and learning aids, including Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, $50 membership voucher, ABC® Professional Wedding Planner Certification Exam, and eligibility for Certified Wedding Planner™ status and consultant-level membership
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our world-class faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the Certified Wedding Planner academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

When will I receive my free six-month novice membership in the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC®)?

Each month, we compile a list of students who have completed the second exam in the program and send this list to the ABC®. When you complete this exam, your name is added to this list. The ABC® will then send you an information packet that includes details about your six-month novice membership. This packet usually arrives about 2-3 months after you complete your exam.

More FAQs >

¹ Career Cruising

² Source: CDC/NCHS National Vital Statistics System

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