Planning a wedding is a challenge for the uninitiated.
It takes top notch organizational skills, business
flair, and strong negotiation techniques. That's
where wedding consultants come in. They offer a range
of services, from full wedding planning, to a more
limited, supportive role, to wedding-day coordination.
They recognize that some brides like to keep maximum
control over the preparations, in which case they’re
more than willing to take the backseat and offer
advice or assistance as needed. In other cases, brides
start out without a wedding planner only to find
themselves overwhelmed as time goes on. That’s
why many wedding consultants are willing to step
in a few weeks or months before the big day. Some
also offer to serve as coordinators only on the wedding
Wedding consultants can do some or all of the following:
-Help you plan your wedding from A to Z. They can
handle all planning aspects, help find creative solutions
to your problems and come up with cost-effective
alternatives to your most expensive tastes. They
can help you get the best value for your money and
make sure you don’t exceed your budget. And
they’re there to ensure that your vision of
your wedding day becomes reality, from securing the
perfect ceremony and reception locations, to booking
vendors who deliver on their promises, to making
sure everything and everyone is at the right place
at the right time on the big day.
-Negotiate with wedding vendors. Through years of
experience, wedding consultants get to know hosts
of vendors. They’re familiar with their strengths
and weaknesses. They know vendors who consistently
deliver quality services. And they can help match
your needs with the vendors who can meet them. Wedding
consultants are also skilled negotiators. Because
they know the wedding industry well, vendors are
less likely to dupe them into higher prices or sales
-Get discounts or perks. Over the years, wedding
consultants establish close working relationships
with vendors their clients have found most reliable.
Due to the volume of business consultants help generate,
vendors are often willing to offer them special discounts
or perks. You can get more bang for your buck by
hiring vendors referred by
a wedding consultant.
-Schedule meetings and review contracts. Wedding
consultants can provide basic organizational and
administrative support. They can schedule and keep
track of your appointments with vendors. They can
accompany you to all your meetings and help you make
final decisions before booking vendors. And they
can review written contracts before you sign them
to make sure they clearly spell out the vendors’ obligations
and protect you from poor service or fraud.
-Act as a go-between with vendors and family members.
Wedding consultants can be masterful coordinators,
peacemakers, and etiquette experts. They can communicate
with various vendors on your behalf, and even
difficult guests or family members. They can work
out compromises to keep everyone happy, all the while
sparing you the stress of dealing with conflicts
-Coordinate your wedding day. The big day is here
and you have to get your hair and makeup done, get
into your wedding gown, take photos with your family,
and make sure everything is on schedule for the ceremony
and reception. The pressure can fray the calmest
of nerves. Your wedding consultant can take care
of all the details for you. Armed with a cellular
phone and pager, the consultant can keep track of
events on multiple fronts and handle unforeseen delays
or problems with flair and composure.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of hiring a wedding consultant depends
on the services you want. Expect to spend about 10
to 15 percent of your total budget for full wedding
planning. However, you can also request hourly consultations
if you only want advice and referrals for a specific
aspect of your wedding. Or you can hire a consultant
only to coordinate the actual wedding day.
Stay away from consultants who claim their services
are "free." They usually get kickbacks
or commissions from vendors, which means they’ll
pressure you into hiring those vendors they stand
to benefit from the most. Also beware of consultants
who charge a percentage of your total budget for
their services. The more you’re willing to
spend on your wedding, the more money they make.
Your best bet is to go with a consultant who offers
fixed-rate packages or a flat fee based on the services
By G.T. Khouri
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