Most online certificate programs for bridal consulting consist of just a few video lessons and can be completed in less than one year. These fully online programs are typically offered through a school's continuing education department, but some professional associations within the field offer certificate programs too. Prospective students do not generally need to meet any prerequisites. Professional experience is needed for advanced certification levels.
Within these programs, students learn what wedding consultants do and get instruction on how to work with clients in organizing the ceremony and reception. Some programs also include basic business courses that cover topics essential to running a wedding consulting business. Most of these programs do not offer college credit, but upon completion, students usually receive a certificate of achievement from the school. Obtaining advance certification from a professional consulting organization generally requires experience and membership within the organization itself. Students will need a DVD player and program-specific software (e.g., Adobe Flash, Microsoft Word).
Certificate in Wedding Consulting
Aspiring bridal consultants study wedding etiquette and traditions, in addition to learning to arrange for catering, flowers, photography and other services needed to organize a wedding. Since consultants are largely self-employed, wedding consultant certificate programs also cover business and marketing concepts.
Program Information and Requirements
Typically, online bridal consultant students complete each lesson in a certificate program as they have time and then move on to the next lesson after they've passed an exam. Most programs can be completed in six months or less.
To take part in an online certificate program in bridal consulting, students must have a computer with Internet access and an e-mail account. A working DVD player and software programs like Adobe Flash and Microsoft Word also might be required.
Wedding consultant certificate programs do not include general education classes, instead focusing only on skills students need to become wedding consultants.
Business for Wedding Consultants
Students learn important steps in starting a business, including creating a marketing plan, pricing services and finding clients. They study techniques for writing contracts and learn ways to network with other wedding professionals, including florists, photographers and caterers.
Duties of the Wedding Consultant
In this course, prospective wedding consultants learn to coordinate a wedding while keeping a client's budget in mind. They learn about the various responsibilities of bridal consultants, including coordinating vendors, organizing rehearsal dinners and other pre-wedding parties, assigning speeches for the reception and assisting in the wedding dress hunt.
Working with a Bride
Students in this course learn to help a bride find a balance between her dream wedding and reality. Topics might include deciding on the type of ceremony, dividing up responsibilities among the wedding party and registering for gifts.
Aspiring wedding coordinators become familiar with various designers and the types of wedding gowns available. They also learn which styles of gowns look best on different body types.
Upon completion of a certificate program, bridal consultants should be prepared to join a wedding coordinating business or start their own venture. The Princeton Review notes that wedding consultants work on commission, earning about 15 percent of the total budget of a wedding. In 2014, the average U.S. wedding cost $31,213, according to survey figures from The Knot (www.theknot.com), so a consultant would have made around $4,680 per wedding. In an October 2016 report, PayScale.com indicated that wedding planners earned a median salary of $41,434.
Continuing Education Information
Wedding coordinators who want to further their education might pursue an on-campus or online event planning program at the bachelor's or master's level. Additionally, they might choose to seek certification through a professional organization, such as the Association of Bridal Consultants or the Association of Certified Wedding Consultants. These groups award several levels of credentials for bridal consultants based on a combination of education and experience. They also host conferences and various other continuing education opportunities.
In fully online bridal consultant certificate programs, students learn about business strategies and organizing. Graduates may voluntarily go on to pursue professional certification.