If you have good organizational skills and enjoy working with people during the most important events of their lives, you may enjoy a career as a professional bridal consultant. With over two million weddings taking place in the United States every year, the need for skilled bridal consultants is only expected to increase.
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Many brides dream of their wedding day for years and are highly invested in having it turn out as perfectly as possible. However, the reality of attending to all of the details involved in planning a large wedding can quickly become overwhelming. Today's brides are increasingly willing to pay a bridal consultant to take on some or all of the tasks so her dreams of the perfect wedding can still come true.
What Does a Bridal Consultant Do?
Bridal consultants, who may also be referred to as wedding planners or wedding consultants, actually work for the couple and not just the bride. As a bridal consultant, you would arrange an initial meeting with the future bride and groom to learn all of the details of the upcoming wedding. A career as a bridal consultant requires you to have strong skills in the area of interpersonal communication, event planning and working with vendors.
Some of the specific duties you will perform as a bridal consultant include interviewing and hiring a photographer, caterer, florist and other professionals whose services are essential for a successful wedding. You will also help to select and mail out invitations, reserve a reception hall, arrange transportation and overnight accommodations for the wedding party and assist the bride with completing a bridal registry. One of your most important duties as a bridal consultant involves helping the bride select her dress and being involved with the fittings.
How to Become a Bridal Consultant
There is no formal educational requirement to become a bridal consultant, but most people don't automatically have all of the skills necessary to do well in this career. The American Academy of Wedding Professionals offers an online wedding planner certificate that can help to dramatically improve your job prospects. Some of the courses available include budgeting for a wedding, reception planning, invitation design and selection and related topics.
You may also choose to attend a bridal consultant program at a community or technical college in your area. The programs vary in length and cost depending on your specific career goals. Regardless of the specific classes you take, you should make sure there is an emphasis on learning professional communication skills and business management. You may be able to complete some or all of your bridal consultant classes taken through a local college at home via the Internet.
Career Outlook for Bridal Consultants
Event planners as a whole earned an annual average salary of slightly more than $45,000 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). People in the lower end of the pay scale earned salaries of approximately $25,000, while those with the most experience earned more than $75,000 a year. The job outlook for event planners, which includes bridal consultants and other event organizers, is anticipating a growth rate of 44 percent per year through 2020. This projected increase is significantly higher than most other professions. If you want your career to include options in addition to wedding planning, you may want to consider pursuing a degree in hospitality management.