Training the ones who turn wishes into reality

16:30, June 25, 2010      

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An unmarried wedding planner? Surely, that is about as common as a vegetarian butcher.

In fact, few wedding planners are themselves married, says Marion Keller, a 47-year-old from near Ludwigshafen in Germany who has worked as a wedding planner for years. She specializes in training wedding planners in establishing themselves in the business.

In cooperation with the chamber of commerce in Germany's Palatine region, she will soon be able to offer her students a certificate showing they have successfully participated in her six-week course. She considers this a sign that the job of wedding planner is finally being taken seriously.

White doves in front of the justice of the peace's office or a romantic dream wedding on the beach or in the Caribbean? When people want to get married, there is hardly any limit set on how to do it tastefully. Turning the wishes of the couple more or less into reality is the job of a wedding planner. This trend arrived in Germany at the end of the 90s from the US and the UK.

Keller says demand for advice from a wedding planner is growing. One reason is many more people have become aware that there is such a thing as a wedding planner.

No one knows how many wedding planners there are in Germany. It is a niche job, according to the chamber of commerce in Palatine. The potential market is, however, huge: About 370,000 couples tie the knot every year in Germany.

A wedding planner can manage 30 to 50 weddings per year. Keller says more would be too much because there is so much that has to be done for each wedding.

There are few male wedding planners, a fact that Keller attributes to women's greater affinity for weddings and organizing things. But she is convinced that anyone can learn how to do it. A friendly demeanor, good organizational skills and stress resistance are the important talents needed to be a success in the job.

It also helps to be able to accept a client's wishes even if they are a bit kitschy. She works on the philosophy that the customer is king and collects a fee that is equivalent to 10 to 15 per cent of the cost of a wedding.

In Keller's course, future wedding planners learn from scratch. They find out, for example, about the different possibilities for conducting the ceremony, the legal aspects of getting married, event management and how to handle the service providers that are part of a wedding. She also tries to teach her students self-sufficiency and marketing.

Keller is also one of the many wedding planners who is not married. Why are there so many single wedding planners? Who would know better how to make their own wedding into an unforgettable experience? Possibly, that's the problem.

"Perhaps they just can't decide how they would do their own wedding," she says.

Source: China Daily(By Marc Strehler)


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