A professional bridal consultant diploma program will be found through schools which offer business administration, it can also be found online. The diploma program is a program designed to prepare the student/graduate for a career as a wedding planner. Wedding planner are in charge of weddings of all sizes, shapes and nationalities, and the wedding planner diploma program is geared to teach the student everything necessary that is needed in the preparation of a wedding, from photography, professional and video wedding chronicling, planning the reception, flowers, coordination of the ceremony, transportation, the limousine, clothing, invitations, food, caterers, clergy, tailors, dressmakers, and every aspect that is involved in a wedding.
Skills that the course will teach you are:
- Wedding etiquette
- Options for ceremonies
- Party planning
- Catering and food services
- Photography and video
The course will be covered through illustrated textbooks, workbooks, study guides, and supplemental reference materials with the student following lesson plans that will be a reference to your infield work. Students learn the techniques to become liaisons between various vendors that they are dealing with for the wedding preparations and the bride and groom. The wedding consultant is responsible for coordinating all events and making sure that all parts of the wedding have been included.
Graduates may enter the industry working under an established bridal consultant as an assist or specialist focused in a specific area of wedding planning. The overall attraction of becoming a bridal consultant is to become self-employed, as they can set their own hours, cost and have the freedom to choose the number of clients. This is likely one of the most enjoyable careers among industries, as you are sharing in some of the greatest moments in a person's life. And, considering there are 2.5 million weddings in the US each year, there should be no lack of work for the talents bridal consultant. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $17,000 to $23,000. And, many of these bridal couples opting to hire a bridal consultant.
Bridal consultants that are established in the industry can expect to make between $60 to $100 per hour, which, with today's economy is a very good hourly earnings. The diploma can be obtained through college courses either on campus or online. And the estimated time to earn the trade school certificate is as little as three to six months. This is an astonishing short amount of time considering the hourly salary that established bridal consultants are earning.
According the Association of Bridal Consultants the growing number of couples utilizing bridal consultant services to plan their weddings are growing, making the economic outlook and growth for the industry booming. It does take a special talent to become a bridal consultant. You must be organized, creative, and work well with people. You also must have a sense of spirit that keeps the couple spirits uplifted.
Before starting any training program you need to evaluate if this is the right career for you. Below are 7 areas you’ll need to be comfortable with in order to be successful.
1. Stress – This career can be stressful. Bridal consultants are always on the move and have to juggle tons of moving parts leading up to the wedding day.
2. Budgeting – Are you good handling your own budgets? Wedding couples often have really tight budgets and you’ll need to keep track of every penny so the couple doesn’t go over what they have saved for.
3. Full-Time – Becoming a bridal consultant is a full-time job. We do know of people that have done it part-time but to be successful and make a good living in this industry you’ll need to treat this as a full-time job.
4. Referrals – The key to being successful is to network. Networking and gaining referrals is needed. The best type of wedding client you can get are those who were referred to you by another happy customer.
5. Communication – Communication is probably the #1 area all bridal consultants must possess. You need to have the ability to clearly communicate with your clients every detail regarding your plans including your vision and budget.
6. Deadlines – Every wedding will have tight deadlines and you’ll need the ability to work with all of the vendors necessary to hit everyone.
7. Education – You need more education than your competitors. Some think that you can do this job without a formal education but when a client is researching bridal consultants they want someone with the proper education background to handle their special day. Start with your Associate’s degree in bridal consulting, this will give you a leg up on the rest of your competitors.
Enrolling in an Associate’s Degree program for bridal consulting can range from $750 for a simple certificate based wedding planning program to close to $7500-12000 for a full degree. When we work with people looking to get into this industry we always remind them of exactly what the industry pays first. This helps them visually see what their education will bring them in terms of revenue. Most weddings range from $10,000 to $50,000 and some even higher depending on where you live. Most wedding consultants can expect to get paid between $2000-$4000 per wedding. If you only do 1 wedding per month your yearly revenue will be between $24,000 and $48,000. If you consider your AA degree will at max be $12,000 then you can see your return is positive.
Like most consulting jobs the key to being successful is finding clients to work for. Below are the top ways to find wedding clients for your new business.
More Education – This seems minor but you need to be able to show your potential clients that you have been properly trained to perform these tasks. Sometimes the difference between a client choosing you or someone else can be as simple as a degree. The schools we have listed offer different education levels so make sure to research each of them thoroughly.
Friends/Family Referrals– One of the best ways to get clients is from networking using all of your friends and family members. Most consultants start this way as it is a free way to advertise your business and most friends or family members will trust you, especially if you are just starting out. The key is to get a few clients under your belt, even if you have to do it for free. By doing this it will allow you to showcase those wedding to future potential paying clients. The more you do the more variety and wedding options you can show your new clients you have completed.
Wedding Shows – At these shows you’ll find exactly who you need which are the wedding couples themselves. Couples attend these shows to get ideas about their wedding. Often these shows are extremely inexpensive to rent a space from. On your booth you can show what makes your service special. Perhaps you cater to a special group of couples (religious, country, modern, etc.).
Churches – Become active in your church and many offer a place where you can promote your business for free. If done correctly you could be one of the few consultants that cater all of the weddings at your local church.
Advertising – Probably the last place you should look for clients is in any paid advertising. The main reason is this can be expensive and if you are just starting out it is better to use the funds towards building your own business first.
Floral Shops – We have heard of successful bridal consultants partnering with floral shops. This is a great partnership that you can build overtime as every wedding needs a florist and you can secure special pricing the more times you use them.