Education and Training: None
Salary: Varies—see profile
Employment Outlook: Fair
Definition and Nature of the Work
Wedding consultants help people to plan weddings. Consultants who work for bridal shops or department stores that have bridal departments may be called bridal consultants. Many wedding consultants are self-employed. They often sell the goods and services that they suggest to the bride and groom.
Wedding consultants seek out possible customers by reading the announcements of engagements in newspapers. They contact the engaged couple and offer their services. They may also work at a church and consult with church members on their weddings. Wedding consultants give advice on outfits for the bride and her attendants. They suggest colors, fabrics, and styles for dresses. They help choose suits for the groom and other male members of the wedding party. They also help the bride select her wardrobe for the honeymoon. Sometimes they help with fittings for these clothes.
Wedding consultants may help prepare a budget for the wedding and assist the bride and groom as they pick out silver, china, glassware, linens, and other items for their new home. Consultants often keep a gift registry, which is a list of the couple's choices and purchases. The registry helps people choose a gift that the couple will like and that someone else has not already bought them.
Wedding consultants also help to make many of the plans for the wedding itself. For this they need to know about the customs of different religious or ethnic groups. They give advice on the etiquette, or proper manners, for the wedding. They sometimes help to choose, order, address, and mail the invitations. They may suggest and order flower arrangements and other decorations to use. They may hire musicians, photographers, caterers, and bakers. They may also organize the transportation for the wedding party and make travel and lodging arrangements for the bride and groom or for guests. Often they help the members of the wedding party with what they are wearing. Wedding consultants may also attend rehearsals and the wedding itself. Sometimes they send information about the wedding to newspapers.
Education and Training Requirements
There are no specific educational requirements to become a wedding consultant. However, interested individuals can begin to prepare for the field by taking high school courses in family and consumer science, art, speech and drama, English, psychology, sociology, and business subjects. A college education in liberal arts can also be useful. Correspondence schools offer courses in bridal and gift consulting. Associations offer comprehensive training for aspiring wedding consultants as well. Many learn by working with experienced consultants. After a few years of experience, someone can be considered a fully qualified wedding consultant.
Getting the Job
To become a wedding consultant, interested individuals may apply directly to bridal shops and department stores that have bridal departments. They can also seek a position with a church or self-employed wedding consultant. Some job openings are listed in the classifieds of newspapers or in job banks on the Internet. Candidates might want to check state and private employment agencies and professional associations for any listings as well.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Wedding consultants can advance by becoming consultants for larger or more expensive stores. In large stores they can become supervisors or managers. Some wedding consultants work for churches or go into business for themselves. They may work from their home or from an office. Most job openings will result as experienced workers leave the field.
Wedding consultants usually work in pleasant, well-decorated stores, shops, or offices. They spend much of the working day outside the store or office, checking on decorations, shopping for clients, and performing other duties. They often need a driver's license. Wedding consultants usually work about forty hours per week, and their hours are often irregular, with spring and summer as the busy seasons. They typically work on twenty to forty weddings a year.
Wedding consultants need to be flexible, because many clients can only meet in the evenings or on weekends. They also need to work well under deadline and be able to coordinate several activities at the same time. Wedding consultants deal directly with a lot of people, including clients and workers in other fields, such as printers and bakers. Therefore, they must have a pleasant, courteous manner. They should also have good sales abilities.
Where to Go for More Information
Association of Bridal Consultants
56 Danbury Rd., Ste. 11
New Milford, CT 06776
Earnings and Benefits
The earnings of wedding consultants vary widely depending on experience, location, and type of business. Experienced retail sales workers usually earn between $7 and $10 per hour. In addition, some sales workers receive a commission or a percentage of the value of the goods and services that they sell. Other sales workers earn only a commission. self-employed wedding consultants generally earn more, as high as $45 to $75 per hour. They may receive a fee from the customer or from the businesses whose services they recommend. Self-employed wedding consultants must provide their own benefits. Benefits for employed workers may include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and pension plans.