Wedding and Party Consultants
Exploring this Job
Bridal magazines publish many articles on wedding planning, traditions, and trends. Subscribe to a bridal magazine, such as Brides, Bridal Guide, or Martha Stewart Weddings to get a sense of what's involved in wedding consulting. Visit the Web sites of professional associations, as well as the Web sites of wedding planners. Sites featuring questions and answers from professionals can give you a lot of insight into the business.
For more hands-on experience, contact the professional organizations for the names of consultants in your area and pay them a visit. Some consultants hire assistants occasionally to help with large weddings. A part-time job with a florist, caterer, or photographer can also give you a lot of experience in wedding and party planning.
Wedding consultants help brides with decisions such as whether to have butterflies or doves released at the wedding, how to get married on a boat, and which chef to hire to prepare the reception dinner. Even if the requests are more mainstream than these, it can be difficult choosing reliable florists and other vendors, and staying within a budget. The average wedding costs nearly $33,900, but many brides end up frustrated and disappointed with their ceremonies.
Wedding consultants help brides save money and avoid stress by offering their services at the earliest stages of planning. They provide the bride with cost estimates, arrange for ceremony and reception sites, order invitations, and help select music. They also offer advice on wedding etiquette and tradition. Consultants then stay on call for their brides through the ceremonies and receptions, pinning on flowers, instructing ushers and other members of the wedding parties, taking gifts from guests, and organizing the cake-cutting and bouquet toss.
Some consultants sell a variety of services, from candles and linens to hand-calligraphed invitations to party favors. A consultant may even own a complete bridal boutique. Some consultants specialize in only "destination" weddings. They set up services in exotic locales, like Hawaii, and handle all the details for an out-of-town bride who will only be arriving the week of the wedding. Consultants also arrange for special wedding sites like historic homes, public gardens, and resorts.
A consultant can also introduce a bride to a number of "extras" that she may not have been aware of before. In addition to arranging for the flowers, candles, and cakes, a consultant may arrange for horse-and-carriage rides, doves to be released after the ceremony, wine bars for the reception, goldfish in bowls at the tables, and other frills. Some brides rely on consultants to meet difficult requests, such as booking special kinds of musicians, or finding alternatives to flowers. Weddings on TV and in the movies often inspire brides. For example a candlelit wedding in a condemned, half-demolished church on the TV show Friends sent wedding consultants scurrying to re-create the site in their own cities.