In my two years working as a bridal consultant, I have gained a lot of insight into this industry. It is not all big smiles and special moments like we may see on television. I have compiled this list with some of the most surprising things I have learned.
- It is a highly emotional environment.
Weddings can bring out the best and worst in people, and bridal shops are no exception. Happy, sad and angry tears are all common place when working as a consultant (for the bride, their families, and sometimes even you). It is incredibly common for brides and their families to shed tears of joy when they have found the ‘one,’ as it is a once in a lifetime experience for most people and a major rite of passage. On the other hand, I have witnessed so many broken hearts because things haven’t been planned far enough in advance or families are too wrapped up in personal drama to focus on the bride and her day.. Taking what you’re given and finding something perfect for your bride is what you’re there for. Part of your job as a consultant is to diffuse when the emotions run high, refocusing the bride and her party on the task at hand. Keeping emotions in check while being in control of the appointment, with your bride as the focal point is essential to maintain your sanity. Finding something that checks all your bride’s boxes while on a time crunch is challenging but can be done with the right mindset. Even appointments that have a tumultuous start can lead to a happy ending. It is critical to be the bride’s cheerleader and offer total support for those 90 minutes.
- Winter is actually the busy season.
In bridal retail, winter is the busy season because it is 7-9 months out from summer and fall which are the most popular wedding seasons. Consultants call this time of year ‘Bridal Christmas’ and things can get absolutely crazy. Don’t be surprised if you have two or even three brides during one appointment slot. It can be overwhelming, but if you recruit the bride’s family and friends to help with dressing her, it can be very manageable.
- Matching a party’s energy is crucial to the success of the appointment.
My most successful appointments have been when I match the bride and her party’s level of enthusiasm. If a bride comes in with a color-coded binder, her bridesmaids wearing matching shirts and passion in her voice, I will be equally excited towards her to create a harmonious environment. If a laid back bride comes in a few weeks before her wedding and wants a clearance dress off the rack, then she gets the chilled out version of me. Not showing my inner panic about her extremely limited options will help her feel at ease about her selections. Befriending the bride and making her feel comfortable is beneficial to the both of you.. You’ll feel more at ease during the appointment when the energy is matched.
- The dressing room will be where you get the most valuable information.
A bride is not the same person in front of her family as she is in front of a stranger. She may start off the appointment telling you what her mother wants, posing it as her true desires. This is where your detective work comes into play. You want to get her to open up to you about what kind of dress will make her truly happy. It is so important for her to make the decision herself and not be overly influenced by her entourage. The dressing room is where the bride can be authentic without the pressures of other opinions. Countless brides break down in the dressing room when they admit that what they want is not the same as what’s wanted for them.. In this emotional environment, your impartial perspective can work wonders.
- Remember to have fun.
This may sound cliché, but remembering to have fun is crucial in defining your success and experiences as a consultant. Customers will be able to tell if you are not enjoying your work. A positive attitude and lighthearted spirit will smoothly guide you in helping women find one of the most important dresses they will ever wear. Working as a consultant is truly enjoyable, even though it can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. Any stress is overtaken by joy when you see a bride’s face light up after helping her find the right dress.
At the end of the day, you’ll meet some amazing people, make some good money and you may even get invited to a few weddings! If you have any desire to try it out, I say go for it. You just might end up saying “yes” to this career!