Article by Doris Nixon, President of Weddings Beautiful:

Tips for Consultants
Doris Nixon, President
Weddings Beautiful Worldwide

Having a printed and formal Code of Ethics is very important for all wedding coordinators. Even more important is living up to your personal code! Words are easy but living up to those standards is not always easy.

A statement about honesty should be included in your Code of Ethics. How tempting it is to let a vendor slip you a "kick-back" when it is offered, although your Code of Ethics excludes this. NEVER lower your standards by accepting such. Recently a vendor mailed a Weddings Beautiful Worldwide wedding consultant a check, although the consultant has refused to take the money offered. She asked for my suggestion about how to handle the situation. "Either endorse it to the bride or give it to the bride's favorite charity," I replied. Think of the impact that gesture had, not only on the bride, but also on the many friends who heard the story. You do not have to compromise!

Honesty also involves telling the truth about your credentials. If you are a new consultant, without experience, it is better to offer your service at a lower price than you will charge later and be up front about this when you are hired. At this level, experience will be more valuable than money.

Never, never misrepresent your education when working with a client. The coordinator, who claims to have been "certified," "registered" or has whatever title offered by an organization that trains coordinators could get in big trouble. Sooner or later she will be caught and her reputation will be lost. Misrepresentation of who you are is a serious breach of ethics.

A Code of Ethics should talk about value. Value is that which is perceived by your client, not what or how you see the situation. Every attempt should be made to give more service than you are paid to do. Too many consultants charge the bride to listen to them while the bride is paying the consultant to listen to her. Your brides aren't interested in what you have done for others, how successful you have become, how many "incidents" you have prevented. Every bride is interested in her own wedding, in how you intend to help her, in what you can do for her. You are not being paid to talk. You are being paid to listen.

Your personal printed Code of Ethics should include a statement about your attitude. Many consultants have gained the reputation - and often it is deserved - as being snobbish, pushy and other descriptions that need to be avoided. Do you turn down a bride with a low budget? One consultant recently booked a wedding with a $100,000-plus budget. She was working with a bride whose budget was only $6,000 but this bride had some rich guests who saw the consultant at work. What a great bonus for doing a budget wedding!

Some consultants seem to believe that the vendors at a wedding are working for them, not the bride. Who is paying the vendors? The bride or the consultant? The photographers, DJs, banquet halls, florists, caterers, bakers and all others involved with a wedding are a part of the consultantâs network team. They can refer other jobs to consultants and they will, when treated with respect.

Another point to make concerns your dress code. True, we do live in a casual world but a wedding coordinator is a professional. She should look like one! So, forget the comfortable sneakers and jeans. Wear fashionable clothes, be neat and be clean. This includes hair and fingernails.

The role of the wedding coordinator is serious business. Let me encourage you to live the part. For further information about being a Certified Wedding Specialist, contact:

  Weddings Beautiful Worldwide
  3122 West Cary Street
  Richmond, VA 23221
  Phone: 804-355-6945; Fax: 804-359-8002


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