The wedding planning sector is booming. Contributing upwards of £10 billion a year to the economy; the industry is screaming out for new professionals full of creativity and innovation. Although growing as a highly professionalized and modern market, traditional values and stereotypes of the role of workers in this industry is still having a big influence on professionals within wedding planning.
It is common perception that the big event is highly refined to the specifics of the bride’s request greatly influencing the culture around weddings. The very ‘feminine’ aspects to the celebration have strong character association to the bride and the female stereotype. However, with the emergence of the metrosexual man culture within modern society, it is becoming increasingly popular for a greater groom influence into the big day.
Although, when it comes to hiring wedding planners there is still an overwhelming gender division in the numbers of male and female professionals. Only 2% (US) wedding professionals are men although other industry roles are being highly populated with men such as florists and caterers. Even with increasing metrosexual behavioral adoption by the ‘modern man’ and male input into these events, stereotyping of roles is still strife within the industry.
The feminine image and concept is often not affiliated with the male persona and so the wedding planner role is met with the assumption of less masculinity discouraging men from taking it up as a career. Unfortunately for men, there is a very strong illusion of “wedding planners are a bit like fairy god mothers ” which is a term that few men would positively label themselves. Because of this view it is also common for brides – as being the most influential partner in the decision making process – prefer the idea of working with other women as there is more value associated with this. Negative stereotyping in this form is greatly affecting the gender imbalance seen in this sector. However, as new generations emerge into the work force, new values and opinions that are nurtured are key in breaking the stigma and educating on new perceptions of male behavior.
Working within a busy event venue, I have often had the pleasure of being involved in the organisation and execution of various events including wedding planning. When talking and listening to clients there is a clear observation of the female dominance of decision making and influence over wedding day details.
Personal experience has shown me that when working with clients, advice given over some of the more feminine things can be overlooked and perceived as insignificant in comparison to a female perspective as it is not a traditional issue for a male to have influence or interest in. As a man I have found it a greater challenge to have the guidance and directive accepted and retained by the client. This discouragement is a key contributor to new event managers specializing within this field. New views and opinions are essential for bringing more innovation and creativity into this market and as perceptions change; we aim for more men to adopt careers in wedding planning.
This role requires someone that has a plethora of different characteristics, skills and abilities that can juggle a multitude of tasks. Along with the obvious need for great organisation, a wedding planner is also required to have a greater scope of emotional understanding as well as high creativity and design abilities. The traditional background of the male characteristics comprising of a strong business acumen and technicality in the planning process gives a indication of new methodology, theory and practice to this role and industry wide operations.
The metro sexuality culture developing through new generations supports evidence of the ‘new male’ now displaying more of the other required characteristics of a wedding planner. This combination really emphasizes the opportunity of male wedding planners to succeed within industry. Breaking down of gender associated barriers to entry with in industry perception will path the way for a new wave of driven wedding planners as well as other non-socially traditional roles.