The role of a wedding planner or bridal consultant consists of being a mediator, expert, friend, facilitator, and manager. Bridal consultants must be highly organized, cool under fire, service oriented, and business savvy. A wedding consultant must be able to deal with adversity and not be overly sensitive. Wedding planning is often stressful for the bride and groom, which often results in emotionally intense situations where the consultant can take the brunt of the abuse by default.
The most important skills for a wedding planner to posses are organizational skills and people skills. A wedding planner must be very meticulous and not miss even the slightest detail. The reason many wedding planners fail is because they are not naturally detail oriented or organized – which means they really have no business planning the most important day of someone’s life.
Wedding planners are as involved as their client’s want them to be. Some work with the happy couple for as long as one year. They plan every part of the wedding, reception, rehearsal dinner, and even the honeymoon. The best wedding consultants have relationships with vendors such as flower shops, DJ’s, caterers, hotels, tuxedo and dress shops, and limousine providers.
The average wedding planner/bridal consultant earns a 15% commission on their services rendered. The average wedding in the United States costs $20,000. That means the average fee for a wedding consultant at that rate is $3,000. Wedding consultants that organize two of these types of weddings per month can earn over $75,000 a year.
There is no formal education required of wedding planners or bridal consultants although it is extremely helpful to get some formal education and training because of all of the intricacies of the career. There are a growing number of online training programs now available for aspiring bridal consultants.
There are no specific credentials or licenses for wedding planners, but many choose to obtain a certificate such as Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) offered by the International Special Events Society. This may give the wedding planner a marketing a professional advantage over the competition, not to mention the increased skill set learned through getting the certificate.
According to the United States Department of Employment Bureau of Labor Statistics, a career as a wedding planner/bridal consultant is expected to grow by 16% through 2018. That is slightly higher than average compared to all other occupations.
The earnings vary greatly because many wedding planners consult on a part-time basis. Payscale.com estimates that bridal consultants earn an average income between $20,400 – $59,600 annually. The possibility is there to earn well into the six figures for bridal consultants who work with very high end clients on a regular basis.