What is a Bridal Consultant?
The professional bridal consultant fills an important need for those who lack the time or close-by family support to plan a wedding on their own.
A professional bridal consultant or wedding coordinator may act in as many or as few capacities as needed. A full-service bridal consultant helps set a realistic budget, coach you on proper etiquette and customs, or alert you to the latest trends in weddings.
A full-service consultant brings ongoing relationships with vendors, helping to match your budget and style with the right service providers. A bridal consultant also acts as a sounding board for your ideas. A good consultant is willing to research new service providers, determine their qualifications and check references.
Your consultant coordinates face-to-face meetings with vendors, looks over contracts, and provides you with regular progress reports. This can include narrowing vendor choices to two or three for your personal review, adjusting your budget as providers are chosen, and reminding you of contractual deposits, payment dates, and upcoming appointments.
A consultant can also be on hand to make sure the rehearsal, wedding and reception go smoothly.
Dont be afraid to ask for references of previous weddings handled by the consultant, and also inquire if the consultant is a member of a professional organization such as the Association of Bridal Consultants.
Wedding Day Coordinator
The wedding day coordinator does not assist in the planning process, but is in attendance at the rehearsal and wedding to ensure that they run as smoothly as possible. A good coordinator will insist on receiving detailed information on the service providers that you have chosen. Be prepared to provide him or her with copies of your vendor contracts. This helps the coordinator determine if the vendors are performing according to terms.
Questions for Your Bridal Consultant
1. How is the c
onsultant paid, and by whom?
For locating your service providers, professional consultants are paid in one of several ways. Some receive fees solely from the service providers, usually a percentage of the total cost of the services being contracted. Other consultants assess you for a percentage, often 15 percent, of the total cost of all services contracted through them. A third payment method is either a flat or an hourly fee based upon the services provided. Finally, blended fee structures are another possibility and can consist of a flat fee paid by the client coupled with either referral fees from service providers or an hourly fee for locating unusual services.
2. Can the consultant work with new vendors as well as vendors used in the past?
This is very important if you have vendors in mind that the consultant may not have worked with before. There may be an additional fee to research new vendors.
3. Will the consultant attend all of your events?
He or she may attend the rehearsal, ceremony, and reception. Ask how long he or she will stay, is there an extra charge for remaining throughout the wedding. If you dont want the consultant to attend, ask if there is a discount.
4. Has the consultant done your type of wedding before?
As weddings become more creative, the expertise needed becomes more specialized (e.g. outdoor, second wedding, specific nationality, etc.).
5. Does the consultant seem easy to work with and flexible?
Keep in mind you will be working quite closely with this person until your wedding. Be sure the consultant you choose listens to you and understands what you need in budget, style, and location. Can he or she make adjustments if contracts have not yet been signed? Will this increase the fee?
Be sure to check out the Bridal Consultant Worksheet under: For Brides: My Bridal Suite