ABC® Certified Wedding Planner

Program Outline

Instruction Sets
Your program consists of five Instruction Sets designed to take you step by step through the knowledge and skills you’ll employ in your new career as a Certified Wedding Planner.

Here's how it works
You receive the first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted. Other Instruction Sets will follow as you complete your exams.

Computer Specifications
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, high-speed Internet, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

Program Goal and Outcomes

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

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • 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.

Instruction Set 1

Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program. 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; and connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.

Introduction to Planning
Life as a bridal consultant/wedding planner; job skills; different types of wedding elements; the four phases of the planning process; pros and cons of owning your own business; keys to a successful business.

Instruction Set 2

The Role of a Consultant
General planning for weddings and honeymoons; basic counseling concepts; skills and qualities of a consultant/wedding planner; aspects of networking; four image categories of consulting; phone and email etiquette; techniques for a client-centered business.

Wedding Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions
Order of religious wedding ceremonies; religious and cultural traditions surrounding a wedding; special circumstance weddings; directing a wedding rehearsal; pros and cons of reception sites; seating arrangements for ceremonies and receptions; traditional components of a reception.

Wedding Etiquette
Engagement period protocol; wedding expense responsibilities; guest lists; wedding invitations and announcements; tasks assigned to members of the wedding party; rules for pre-wedding parties, showers, and rehearsal dinners; writing and sending thank-you notes; planning remarriages and vow renewals.

Instruction Set 3

Basics of a Bridal Business
Establishing yourself as a professional; types of businesses; office location; charging clients and collecting payments; bookkeeping and business files; recordkeeping; assembling a planning team; working with suppliers; basic marketing concepts; conducting market research.

Professional Wedding Vendors and Services
Engagement and wedding jewelry and their uses; tradition and protocol of wedding gifts; selecting music for a ceremony; photography styles; selecting a floral designer or florist; traditional bouquet shapes and styles; proper attire for formality and time of day; catering services; food service options; wedding cake options; selecting a photographer or videographer.

The Business of Weddings, Part 1
Causes of business failure; starting a business; elements of a business plan; mission statements; startup expenses.

Independent Project 1: Conducting a Site Inspection

Membership: Six-month novice membership in the Association of Bridal Consultants

Instruction Set 4

Ethnic and Specialty Weddings
Determining the correct etiquette for ethnic weddings; identifying the protocol for military weddings; finding sources of information on Victorian and Renaissance weddings; understanding the background of ethnic and military customs; gay marriages and unions.

The Business of Weddings, Part 2
Image and advertising; how much to charge; developing a contract; marketing; understanding why brides buy; keeping clients; dealing with dissatisfied brides; vendors.

Negotiating with Clients
Determining how much to charge; fee structures; using formulas to calculate your fees; cash flow; analyzing costs to reduce spending; negotiating fees with prospective clients; handling mistakes in bids; making agreements; increasing your income.

Independent Project 2: 
Wedding Research

Instruction Set 5

Multimedia Marketing
Developing a marketing plan with the right mix of media; print advertising; Web sites; blogs; online networking; video and other media.

How to Participate in a Bridal Show
Initial planning considerations; choosing a show in which to participate; developing and designing a booth; marketing your participation; selling at a booth; following up on contacts.

The Home-Based Business
Pros and cons of a home-based business; planning your office; time management; organization; establishing a work-life balance.

Independent Project 3: 
Wedding Collage

Final Examination

Graduation Set
(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.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

ABC is a trademark of the Association of Bridal Consultants registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Certified Wedding Planner is a trademark of the Association of Bridal Consultants.

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.