Wedding and Party Consultants

Can't decide whether to have butterflies or doves released at your wedding? Want to get married on a boat, but do not know how to arrange it? Want a chef who will prepare your reception dinner at the table? Even if your requests run a little more mainstream than these, it can be difficult choosing reliable florists and other vendors, and staying within a budget. The average wedding costs about $30,000 (including the dress but not the engagement ring or honeymoon), but many brides end up frustrated and disappointed with their ceremonies. Wedding consultants help brides save money and avoid stress by offering their services at the earliest stages of planning. They provide the bride with cost estimates, arrange for ceremony and reception sites, order invitations, and help select music. They also offer advice on wedding etiquette and tradition. Consultants then stay on call for their brides right through the ceremonies and receptions, pinning on flowers, instructing ushers and other members of the wedding parties, taking gifts from guests, and organizing the cake-cutting and bouquet toss.

Some consultants sell a variety of services from candles and linens to hand-calligraphed invitations to party favors. A consultant may even own a complete bridal boutique. Some consultants specialize in only "destination" weddings. They set up services in exotic locales, like Hawaii, and handle all the details for an out-of-town bride who will only be arriving the week of the wedding. Consultants also arrange for special wedding sites like historic homes, public gardens, and resorts.

A consultant can also introduce a bride to a number of "extras" that she may not have been aware of before. In addition to arranging for the flowers, candles, and cakes, a consultant may arrange for horse-and-carriage rides, doves to be released after the ceremony, wine bars for the reception, goldfish in bowls at the tables, and other frills. Some brides rely on consultants to meet difficult requests, such as booking special kinds of musicians, or finding alternatives to flowers. Weddings on TV and in the movies often inspire brides. For example a candlelit wedding in a condemned, half-demolished church on the TV show Friends sent wedding consultants scurrying to re-create the site in their own cities.

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