*reprinted from an article I wrote for AmericasBride.com

A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

Unfortunately the same cannot be said about Wedding Consultants-

Wedding Consultants, Wedding Planners, and Bridal Consultants to most people different names for the same thing…

In some cases they are- but in others they have totally different distinctions.

Take Bridal Consultant – to many it’s a term for someone who assists brides in planning a wedding as in Association of Bridal Consultants (www.bridalassn.com )

The person who works at the bridal salon and shows you gowns, veils and headpieces calls themselves a Bridal Consultant – often no experience beyond clothing , but they use the same title…

I might suggest Bridal Attire Consultant?

And what about the person at your favorite department store’s Bridal Registry – the one who suggests a china pattern, the best coffee maker for your usage and personal taste or the perfect linens for your King sized bed with pillow top cover.

They call themselves a Wedding Consultant – no background in planning, great information on their registry and a big help in finding your personal style- what about: Bridal Registry Consultant?

Now we have the person at your entertainment company who helps you organize your introductions, the songs for your first dance, and your “play and don’t play” list… or at the limo company – the person who helps schedule your pick up…again Wedding Planner.

Mix in the catering manager- who is now a ‘wedding consultant’ because their job involves selling food and beverage to brides for their reception…and coordinating the service…

This one is more challenging as many of them crash heads with wedding consultants… they do a great job at the reception…and may even refer you to wedding professionals they like working with – doesn’t mean that they know if they are in your budget, or offer the style you are looking for…they just like working with them and know they do a good job when they work with them…

Even wedding planners can’t decide what we are called…Wedding Coordinators, Wedding Planners, Wedding Designers, and Bridal Consultants – All pretty much the same, one might have a stronger background or emphasis is décor design, one might be a title given to the person who coordinates the wedding day but all pretty similar….

They all handle full service planning or all aspect of the wedding, generally including etiquette, referrals to qualified wedding professionals, organization of wedding flow and details, contract review and negotiation, overseeing the entire production as YOUR ADVOCATE…

Now here’s the hard part – Unlike your hair stylist who need to go to school and get a license to cut your hair ( which will grow back in a couple weeks) there is no licensing for wedding planners… there are some great associations, and even some good classes…but nothing is required to start doing business!

One planner told me of an INTERN in her office who went out and had cards printed with her name and Wedding Consultant – and she had just started as an intern.

Or the bride who had fun planning her wedding and wanted a career change…she she decided to be a wedding planner…Her Wedding, Her Ideas, Her Money – a little different than working with 8, 10, and 12 brides, their families, their ideas, their money and their family drama…

When Shopping for a Professional Wedding Consultant, or Independent Wedding Consultant:·       

Look for their background- experience in catering is a big plus, as is experience in floral design or bridal apparel…     

Look at their portfolio – IT’S OK TO BE NEW – everyone was at one time… but look to see if they have worked on weddings of the style, complexity and budget of the one you want to plan… ·       

Ask about what associations they belong to AND are active in- networking, getting to know the best wedding professionals in your area is key to knowing who is the best fit for your clients..·
       
If in doubt- ask to check references…obviously they will only send you to people who will say great thing so ask other wedding professionals you meet at the catering venue, or at a bridal event…

The most important thing in looking for a Professional Wedding Consultant to assist you in your planning is someone you can talk to, and who listens to what you want for your wedding.

Do your homework, Professional Wedding Consultants can save you time, energy and stress…don’t be fooled by imitations.