Smart entrepreneurs are walking down the aisle to big profits. Every year, more than 2 million happy couples tie the knot, each spending thousands of dollars on facilities, catering, photography, music, flowers, invitations, apparel and accessories, limousines and much more. One of the newest expenses to be added to the budget is a professional wedding consultant. Also called bridal consultants, wedding coordinators, wedding planners or wedding directors, wedding consultants offer a range of services--from basic by-the-hour advice and vendor referrals to full-blown planning of entire weddings.
Long-term changes in family life are spurring huge growth in the wedding consultant industry. Traditionally, the bride's mother was responsible for planning her daughter's wedding, but these days, both the bride and her mother often have demanding careers that leave little time for the extensive preparations even a simple wedding requires. These busy brides and their families are turning to consultants for help.
Another trend creating opportunities for wedding consultants: More couples are getting married in unfamiliar cities. "People are moving, then coming back to their hometowns to get married; others are moving and getting married in their new places of residence," says Eileen Monaghan, vice president of the Association of Bridal Consultants in New Milford, Connecticut. Either way, these couples need consultants with knowledge of local wedding sites and suppliers.