What is a Professional Wedding Consultant?

It used to be a bit simpler: you attend a university, major in what is most appropriate for your desired career path, graduate and use that degree as a launching pad for your (ideally) successful, lifelong career. While a 4-year degree still holds an enormous amount of merit in today’s society, many people, especially entrepreneurs, are utilizing specialty or vocational training programs to kick-start their careers.

Many wedding and event planners hold degrees in Hospitality Management, Business Management, or in some type of communication studies, but not all do. In the last decade, event and wedding planning has skyrocketed into the main-stream as a “legitimate career” as opposed to a part-time hobby, and the education and training has grown to match. Nowadays, many college’s offer wedding or event planning concentrations within their Hospitality programs, and some even offer it as its own degree. However, most professional planners receive their titles through private training programs that specialize in event and wedding planning as we know it today.

One such training and education program is the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, or ACPWC. The ACPWC has been training and educating professional, certified wedding consultants for over 20 years, and is known as a leader in the industry. We are very proud to have graduated from their prestigious program and wear our “Professional Wedding Consultant” title.

On the unfortunate side of things, slapping a few letters after your signature can be all too easily accomplished in this Web-accessing day and age. How do you know if the company you are working with is truly professionally trained and certified? What is the difference between a professionally trained, Professional, and Certified planner? Where can you find a reliable and established planner?

Based on the curriculum and structure of ACPWC, here is a brief description and outline of a proper training program.

Professional Training and Educational Course- this is an intensive, all-encompassing course that is designed to give the student a thorough overview of the wedding world. After an extensive application process, students must complete several projects during this training period, including a vendor database, contract review and structure, and role-played event management troubleshooting. Once this course is completed, students are encouraged to work on as many weddings as possible in order to gain real-life experience. Their progress is monitored by the Executive Director, and at least a year after completing their training course, they are eligible to submit for their Professional Title.

Professional Wedding Consultant- At least 12 months after completing the Training and Educational Course, students are eligible to submit at least 6 “reports” from real weddings that attest to their skills, knowledge, and overall ability to apply their training to a real life situation. Once these reports are received and approved by the Executive Director, the National Board presents the student with their Professional Wedding Consultant title.

Certified Wedding Consultant- Once the consultant has their Professional title, they may begin the work to receive their Certified title. The consultant must remain active within the industry for at least another year, during that time working on at least 12 additional weddings and having positive reviews/reports from them. Additionally, the consultant must submit and complete a Master Project (the thesis of the wedding world) that is beneficial to themselves, the organization, and the wedding community as a whole. Once all of the above is completed, the consultant earns their title of Certified Wedding Consultant.

Miranda, the lead consultant at Divine Affairs Event Design, began working on her Training and Certification Course in 2009, completing in 2010. She received her Professional title in 2011, and will be obtaining her Certified title before the beginning of the 2013 wedding season. She has also begun work on a new accreditation, Certified Professional Catering Executive by the National Association of Catering and Events.

It is extremely important to know the credentials of any professional you work with, and the same should go for your wedding or event planner. Remember to do your own homework and make sure that the consultant you choose to work with is not only professional/certified, but also licensed and insured.

Miranda receiving her Professional Wedding Consultant Certificate

Happy planning!