Wedding Professionals:
So....You Want To Be A Wedding Consultant (part I)

Planning your sister's wedding was so much fun!! You had a chance to look at all of the bridal magazines, go shopping with the excited (and stressed out!) bride-to-be, select colors and fabrics for dresses, pick just the right floral arragement for the church, figure out where everyone would sit at the reception (you know that Aunt Lucy can't stand Cousin Bernice, so don't put them at the same table!), taste ten different kinds of wedding cake, address two hundred invitations, plan the bride's shower and let's not forget: You just happen to be the maid of honor.

After the birdseed has been thrown, the broom jumped over and the last drop of champagne poured, you can now put up your feet (and take off those shoes!) and reflect up on all of the work you've done. Everyone thought the wedding and reception were absolutely wonderful.

Okay so not everybody was ready when the limousine arrived at the bride's home and the wedding party was 40 minutes late getting to the church, but isn't it written somewhere that it is the bride's prerogative (as well as good luck) to be late for her wedding? Interview Pad

The wedding went off without a hitch, if you don't take into consideration the fact that since some of the groomsmen didn't show up for the rehearsal the night before and didn't get a chance to practice walking down the aisle with their partner, they had absolutely no clue as to what they recommended (her food was sooo good!) so how were you to know that she really didn't know how to set the formal place settings for the sit-down reception at the church hall? The food running out wasn't your fault or the caterer's for that matter. No one in your family sends back the response cards that come with the invitation. (Why waste a stamp when the bride knows you're coming anyway?)

All in all, you think you did a pretty darn good job. Everyone always calls you when there's a party to be planned or a shower to be thrown. Maybe you can do this wedding coordinating thing on the side and make a couple of bucks in the process. But how do you launch this little business? Go to the nearest office supply store and print a few hundred business cards, make some flyers on your PC at work, let everyone know that you "do weddings" now, and sit back and wait for the phone to ring? Wrong!

The above scenario is reflective of how many people view the business of wedding consulting. In an industry which totals nearly 35 billion dollars annually, professional wedding consultants are a commodity, not a calamity. If you are thinking of entering this arena, this article and the ones to follow will help give you the tools necessary to be successful in a tremendously growing field.

What makes a Wedding Consultant Professional?

It's not your demeanor that marks you as a Professional Wedding Consultant. Rather, it's what you know, who you know and how you know it that makes you stand out as a professional. Since this is a "hot" profession, there are many people out in the wedding world masquerading as bridal consulants, wedding planners, whatever title you may assign to this job. The truth of the matter is that inorder to be a wedding consultant, you must do your homework first. What's your assignment? Take a look at the following topics and see if you're ready to hit the books!

  • Basic Business Management
  • Basic Accounting/Bookkeeping
  • Marketing & Demographics
  • Business English
  • Business Math
  • Word Processing/Database Management
  • Art History
  • Culinary Technique
  • Color & Design Techniques
  • Basic Photography
  • World Religion
  • Basic Psychology & Sociology
  • Fashion History

If you've noticed, there isn't one topic that specifically says wedding. Before you get into all of the satin and lace, you need to understand the basics above. These categories are the essential tools you should study and become extremely well versed in before you plan your first wedding. Why? All of these "tools" are the backgone of a successful wedding consultant. Inorder for your business and venture to grow, you need rudimentary elements to get things going.

Once you you've studied and grasped the basics, look to develop your "wedding senses." These are the instincts and ideas that will help you create, plan and execute memorable events. Becoming familiar with the latest designers, trends and gadgets available to the wedding public is essential to staying in the "loop" of the industry as well as being an invaluable resource to your clientele.

Is This The Job For You?

For as many weddings and events that I plan each season, for each harried and hassled bride I meet, there are times when I could honestly take down the shingle and close up shop. This industry is extremely stressfull, demanding and harrowing. Professional consultants all have a common bond, the stories of "weddings made in hell" to know it all family members, to brides (and grooms) being jilted at the altar. Put all these factors together in a 7 month time period (the length of the wedding season) and you can see why many of us are grey before our time. The upside? I love weddings. There is a quality about them that is so wonderful, so dreamlike, so magical. Sounds like the description of falling in love, doesn't it? Well, that's what weddings are based around, so it makes perfect sense. Being a wedding consultant can be one of the most stressful jobs around. But on the flip side, the ability to help a couple create the "wedding of their dreams," to watch a plan evolve and unfold and to know that you were an integral part of the process, is one of the most rewarding feelings any wedding professional can have.

The subsequent articles in this series will focus on those basics we discussed earlier as well as more finite matters of wedding planning.. You'll gain information on:

  • How to research and target your market
  • What does wedding planning consist of?
  • Contracts, fees & negotiations
  • Selecting Quality Vendors
  • Networking - How to make it work for you
  • Professional Wedding Organizations
  • Continuing eduction for the wedding professional
  • Trends - The Latest & Greatest
  • Tools of the trade
  • The Information Superhighway- How to use it to your best advantage
  • Heritage Weddings: Planning Ethnic Events

Linnyette Richardson-Hall

Please read, So... You Want To Be A Wedding Consultant (Part II)