After you have decided the kind of wedding you will have, you might ask, “Do I need a consultant?” That depends solely upon you, your temperament, your schedule and pressures, your parents or available assistance.
Most couples prefer to go through the process of investigating on their own and then, attend to the many details themselves. When they make their personal choices, they feel they have achieved a wedding uniquely their own.
There are situations, however, in which a competent consultant or coordinator is not only a boon but a necessity. Engaging the right one for you becomes a very personal choice because you will work together closely and must “click.” There can be no opposing goals or ideas; your tastes must jell, or at the very least the consultant should completely understand what you like.
You need to consider whether you would like a consultant/coordinator who will take full charge of everything from start to finish, or one who will assist to a limited degree in the particular areas you specify.
An expert full-charge consultant can personally direct the logistics and take responsibility for every phase of the preparations, including the important wedding day itself.
• She has often encountered and solved the same problems that are new and worrisome to you.
• She will know which of the many caterers, photographers, bakers, florists and other services are dependable and efficient, and will engage them.
• She will even take charge of ordering, addressing and sending invitations and announcements.
• Should you need a reception location, she can provide a list that includes cost of rental, capacity, available equipment, parking facilities and liquor restrictions. She will make arrangements for the one you select.
• Most self-employed consultants have imagination and a flair for entertaining. Just as restaurants vary in quality and expertise, so do consultant/coordinators. Only you can judge whether you are on the same wavelength.
Some coordinators are primarily caterers who have expanded their contacts in order to fulfill some of their clients’ other requirements. They will have available dishes, glassware, silver, chafing dishes and other serving needs. They should be able to oversee the reception routine.
A few major stores and some bridal shops provide consultants who coordinate the wedding party gowns, including that of the mother of the bride. They will help the bride and groom select and register gifts from the store’s selection and will have useful suggestions based on their experiences with many engaged couples. Occasionally they will deliver the gown on the wedding day and help the bride dress. A store consultant rarely handles all the services you will need.
Before determining cost, you must be aware of how diverse consultant/coordinator services are.
One coordinator might specialize in the sky’s thelimit excellence, while another takes pride in her economy, even to making available rental wedding gowns. This is why it is essential that you discuss your financial limits frankly. If one consultant is not able to produce what you want within your allotment, consult another.
Charges are made in a variety of ways:
• A flat fee. Inquire exactly what the fee includes and omits.
• A percentage, ranging from 10 percent up to 40 percent, is added on to the bills for services, in which case she will submit the bills to you.
• A fee plus a commission paid directly from the various suppliers she engages.
• An in-house consultant is paid by the establishment for which she works.
You may be wondering whether a consultant is merely a luxury or a necessity. You must interview the consultants in depth, and secure reliable recommendations, before you select one with whom you can work congenially. I strongly recommend that you talk to people who have used the services of the one you are considering. Were they truly satisfied? You might also want to talk to people who did not use a consultant. How did they manage?