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A bridal consultant may also be called a wedding planner or wedding consultant. Typically, though many people may offer consultant services, most professional consultants would agree that a true bridal consultant is the bride’s best friend in all the planning stages and on the day of the wedding. They have established relationships with a number of people in the community who would assist in the wedding, such as caterers, musicians, florists, clothing shops, chauffeur companies, travel agencies, and those who own or run halls, restaurants, churches, etcetera, where a wedding could take place. The bridal consultant has, as his or her main job, the goal of making a wedding and all the events beforehand, as close to ideal as possible for bride and groom, in consideration of their budget.
Though there aren’t bridal consultant schools, many people who choose this profession are highly educated. Some are experienced in event planning and others even have college degrees in business or related professions. It’s wise to look for consultants who are either experienced or well educated. Always check with the Better Business Bureau too, to make sure there are no complaints regarding the bridal consultant you plan to hire.
Many consultants work on a percentage basis, though some may charge an hourly rate, especially if the cost of the wedding is fairly low. Usually you can expect to pay a bridal consultant between 10-20% of the total cost for the wedding. Thus if you have a $20,000 US Dollar (USD) wedding, the consultancy fee would be anywhere from $2000-4000 USD. In demand consultants with high profiles may charge even more, and may especially charge more if the planned wedding requires travel.
Initially, a consultant may meet with the bride and groom, the bride alone, or the bride and her parents. She gets a sense of allowable budget, the bride’s needs and desires for the wedding, (and possibly the family’s or groom’s desires), and then helps the bride by presenting her with choices which are exactly what she wants, or as close as budget allows. She may accompany the bride to meet all professionals involved in the wedding and help her make choices that will keep her in her budget framework. The goal in planning stages is to present the bride with options conforming to her wishes, and to do this in a short period of time so that the bride can maintain her busy lifestyle and not be concerned about having to do all the legwork.
The bridal consultant may also plan pre-wedding events like showers, family gatherings, and rehearsal dinners, or she may work with family or friends to help these events go smoothly. She may arrange travel for families that live out of the area, handle the sending of invitations and figure out total number of attendees. Some consultants even help a couple plan their honeymoon. On the wedding day, the consultant is on hand to make sure everyone and every business involved is where they need to be at the appropriate time, and she or he may also handle any last minute problems that arise like a sudden storm at an outdoor reception.
Depending upon the price of weddings and the number of weddings a bridal consultant plans each year, consultants can make a good living with their work. Consultants that plan two $20,000 USD weddings a month could make between $48,000-96,000 a year. Handling this many weddings can be challenging and time consuming, especially if the weddings are complex and require frequent meetings with members of the wedding party or travel. However, many consultants enjoy the flexibility of conducting some if not all of their work from home, and those with many contacts in the bridal industry may be able to quickly plan even elaborate weddings.
Just my opinion, but unless someone is having a fairly elaborate wedding, a bridal consultant probably isn't necessary. However, I can see where a bride would want one if she's planning a blowout.
For DIY weddings, or small church weddings, where the reception is at the church, and no vendors, bands DJs. bartenders, etc., are involved, just having a very organized person helping with the details is probably all the bride needs.
But if she's having a buffet, sit down dinner, live music, a bar and is renting the venue, then definitely, a bridal consultant is indispensable.
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