A bridal consultant is an individual whose profession is involved in helping a couple plan a wedding. A bridal consultant, which is often referred to as a wedding planner, has a wide variety of responsibilities with the wedding planning process. A general bridal consultant, which helps with all aspects of the wedding planning, will help a couple find a venue location, put together a guest list, choose a wedding band, select a caterer, and assist in any other realm that their clients sees fit. Most importantly, a bridal consultant is responsible for turning the couple’s wedding vision into a reality while keeping the couple’s budget in mind throughout the entire process.
Most brides feel more comfortable hiring a bridal consultant with experience and training from a reputable school. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Many bridal consultants run their own small businesses where they help in all aspects of the planning process. However, other bridal consultants may work for a larger wedding planning organization and work on a team dedicated to planning the wedding. Bridal consultants working for one of these organizations may specialize in one aspect of the wedding planning process.
Since running a profitable bridal consulting agency is dependent on building a strong base of prospective clients and vendors, a bridal consultant will need to be involved in the sales aspect of the business as well. This could include marketing to prospective clients, or working with vendors to negotiate on price.
Training and Education Requirements
Formal education requirements are minimal for bridal consultants as many are hired with no more than a high school diploma. However, there are several education paths that a prospective bridal consultant could choose to follow that will improve their skill set for the position and increase their chances of obtaining a job. One of the most popular educational paths for bridal consultants is event planning. This educational path, which can be completed at either a community college or traditional four year college, will give a bridal consultant a broad understanding of all the aspects that go into planning a large event. Since sales and marketing is a large aspect of bridal consulting, choosing to obtain a degree in either marketing or advertising could be beneficial for a bridal consultant that hopes to own their own business.
In general, the majority of education and training needed to be a bridal consultant is completed on the job. Most bridal consulting agencies will put their new consultants through an internal training program designed to integrate them slowly into the business.
Salary and Wages
The salary and total compensation for bridal consultants can vary significantly from one consultant to the next. For entry level bridal consultants, or those working for larger organizations, the average salary ranges from $30,000 up to $40,000 per year. These consultants are typically hired on a full time basis and will also receive corporate benefits including health insurance, paid time off, and access to a company sponsored retirement account. The salary range for bridal consultants who own their own agency could be considerably more. Bridal consultants who run their own successful agency, and deal with a wealthier clientele, could easily earn well over $100,000 per year. However, bridal consulting is extremely susceptible to poor economic conditions. In times like these, bridal consultants struggle to find new clients and are forced to take a lower fee and commission. This could often lead to decreased salaries or even companywide operating losses.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Like many professions, there are various certification programs available to bridal consultants. While these certifications are not always required for employment, the certification programs do provide the consultant with a rare educational experience that is bound to help them professionally.
The most popular certification program for bridal consultants is the Registered Bridal Consultant Course, which is provided by the National Bridal Service. This program aims to educate a consultant in many different facets of the industry. The areas of focus include providing knowledge of the industry and products sold, knowledge of how to sell to both customers and vendors, and knowledge of the business operations behind bridal consulting. Beyond the Registered Bridal Consultant program, several other organizations provide wedding planner certification programs.
Similar to employees in many other specialized professions, bridal consultants and wedding planners have access to several professional associations. The most popular association for wedding planners and bridal consultants is the National Association of Wedding Planners. This organization provides an individual in the industry with access to plenty of networking opportunities where they can meet other consultants, vendors, and prospective clients. Furthermore, many brides and grooms use the association to find a wedding planner in their area, so membership often leads to free referral business.
Beyond the national organization, many cities across the country have their own local professional associations for wedding and bridal consultants. Joining these organizations provides similar benefits to the national organizations.