So....You Want To Be A Wedding Consultant
Role of The Consultant
our last article, we discussed how many people view this business called
wedding planning & consulting. For some, consulting seems to be
just the ticket to earn some cash on the side and have a little fun
in the process. However, there is one factor that usually is not taken
into consideration: Weddings are extremely emotional events that can
try the very patience of a saint! Not only are you dealing with the
obvious (i.e. two people who are in love) but you must interface
with everyone else in their families and circle of friends. In most
cases, everyone involved means well, but they are too close to the situation
to view it objectively. That objective view is the job of the wedding
consultant. This article will hopefully give you some insight into what
being a wedding planner truly means and you'll gain some additional
information on the role of the consultant (both legally and professionally).
Is A Wedding Consultant?
consultant's primary function is to help a couple discover and implement
and manage all of the necessary tasks required to host a successful
wedding event. In laymen's terms, the role of the wedding consultant
is that of a facilitator, mediator, money manager, artisan and constructor
of dreams. Since most brides & grooms-to-be have neither the time
or the resources to pull off such a social chore, many are turning to
the "pro's" to handle it for them. A good consultant should
be able to do just that, "handle" the situation. As I mentioned
earlier, weddings are actually very complex emotional mazes. Even the
most well-planned, beautifully orchestrated event has some sort of emotional
twist or turn that a consultant must be able to skilfully negotiate.
wedding planner is the one person who knows the most about the event.
It is imperative that the consultant literally be "on top"
of everything, every finite detail. One never knows when pandimonium
may break out or when the bride (or her mother ) may call for
an update on a certain portion of the wedding. Knowing all of the little
intricacies on the event allows the consultant a fair amount of control.
Control is an important issue when it comes to dealing with a group
of people (no matter what the occasion !). This is not to say
that the wedding consultant will rule the event with an iron fist (although
this has been know to occur...), rather it means that he or she
will have the capability and the confidence in knowing all of the issues
and their meaings as they pertain to a particular wedding.
Roles Professionally speaking, you are hired to perform a service. And
as "the hired help", keep a couple of things in mind:
Be very clear to your client about what you will or will not do. By
having an agreement in writing, there is generally less confusion
and misunderstandings. If there are areas in your contract that could
be ambiguous, clarify them with your attorney or other legal advisor
before you present the paperwork to the client. Many consultants have
been burned quite badly because of not giving the bride an agreement
or due to a lack of clarity in its' wording, having to perform more
services (at a loss !) than they originally intended.
Be competive in your pricing. Depending on your level of expertise,
you will need to charge for your services accordingly. Be brutally
honest with your self and your ability to manage multiple tasks (and
brides!). If you are just starting out with no experience under
your belt, you cannot expect to be paid a large sum of money. It takes
time to gather the level of knowledge you will need to plan and execute,
creative and well- managed weddings. One of the best things you can
do is to find a seasoned consultant and offer to work for them. For
free. Not only will you get a bird's eye view of the business, but
you can find out, through careful research, what the going rates are
for different types of weddings in your geographical area. And once
you book your first paying client, be honest enough to let them know
that it is your first wedding, but you are willing to offer them the
highest level of customer service possible. And stick to your word!
When the event is over and your talent is receiving rave reveiws from
the client and her guests, you'll be very glad you listened to the
above piece of advice.
This wedding belongs to the bride & groom. Not You ! Even if they
exhibit the tackiest taste in bridesmaids dresses and table linen,
it's still their event. A good wedding consultant is able to skilfully
and tactfully inject good taste into the basest of events. Having
an eye for color and style helps greatly when your clients become
color blind!. Your role as the planner means that your experience
can give couples great ideas & fantastic scenarios that they may
have otherwise overlooked. Additionally, you will have to act as mediator
at some point in time during the planning stages. Knowing how to be
subtle yet confident in your statements and suggestions will go a
long way in fostering better interpersonal relationships for your
client and their families.
the signing of an agreement or contract with your client, you become
bound by the terms of that piece of paperwork. As I will mention many,
many times during these articles, having everything in writing will
save you unecessary paperwork and headaches! As a business person, your
contract is the one thing that will keep your business in business.
If you have a client that fails to pay your contracted fees (and
this happens quite frequently !), having a legitimate, signed contract
(by both parties) will allow you to collect what is due to you.
Should one of your brides cancel her wedding, a cancellation clause
in your agreement can save the day for you financially. Since many "wedding
coordinators" are hobbyists versus professionals, the bridal public
can and has taken a very lacksadaisical view on paying us what we deserve
and paying on time. The minute you have a signed contract, you can enforce
your company's policies to the fullest extent of the law. Without one,
you're up the creek without a paddle!. Make sure that your client understands
what they are signing. In my contract, for instance, I make sure that
the clients initial all policy & payment clauses. This ensures double
clarity on their part. Not only do they sign the end of the contract
stating that they understand all the terms and conditions, but those
initials for certain portions of the agreement, clarify my position
as the consultant/business owner even more.
our next article, we will tackle the subject of research and homework.
I will cover the areas of market research (what it is and why you need
to do it!) as well as effective ways for you to reach the clientele
you are interested in. As always, if you would like to reach me, you
can do so by e-mailing me here at the On-line
African Wedding Guide or at HappilyEve@aol.com.
Research the consultants/coordinators in your area to find out
what the going rate is for wedding planning services in your geographical
location. You'll want to find out the types of services performed
as well as rates. I would like for you to e-mail either here at the
Guide or my business e-mail with your results. This will allow us
to take a look at pricing across the U.S and I'll share them with
you during the next article. .