How to Become a Wedding Dress Consultant: Step-by-Step Career Guide
Find out how to become a wedding dress consultant. Research the training requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in wedding dress consulting.
Do I Want to Be a Wedding Dress Consultant?
Wedding dress consultants are specialized retail sales workers who work in bridal gown shops or boutiques. Consultants work one-on-one with brides to help them find gowns and accessories. They measure brides and use their knowledge of fashion trends to help select dresses that will best flatter a bride's body shape and size.
Wedding dress consultants often get to work in comfortable retail store settings. However, work may be slow during wedding off-season and then very busy during peak months during the summer.
No degree is required to begin a career as a wedding dress consultant, though previous work experience in a retail environment and college coursework in fashion design may expand job opportunities. The following table outlines common requirements to become a wedding dress consultant:
|Degree Level||A degree is not always necessary, but having one may help a candidate stand out to employers*|
|Degree Field||Fashion design*|
|Experience||1-2 years work experience in retail*|
|Key Skills||Ability to multi-task, strong organization and communication skills**, knowledge of fabric types and fashion trends*|
|Computer Skills||Ability to run an electronic cash register and a computerized ordering system*|
Sources: *Bridal and Beyond **David's Bridal
Step 1: Gain Retail Experience
Wedding dress consultants typically work in fast-paced sales environments, so it is essential that aspiring consultants possess work experience to prepare for working in high-pressure retail conditions. An aspiring consultant can seek employment in any retail environment, though stores specializing in clothing/accessories may best prepare a candidate for employment working with wedding gowns and bridal accessories.
- Work a commission-based job. Many bridal shops and boutiques use a commission-based system to pay their wedding dress consultants. Working for commission may help an aspiring consultant improve his or her sales skills and become accustomed to working on a commission basis.
Step 2: Enroll in a Fashion Design Program
While a college education is not always required, some employers may give preference to applicants who have completed some coursework or hold a degree in fashion design. Wedding dress consultants need to be familiar with methods of garment construction, types of fabric and a variety of gown design styles, and a college program can help an aspiring consultant gain the knowledge he or she needs to get started in this career. One route aspiring consultants can take is to earn an associate's degree in fashion design, which could include courses that cover topics such as fabric and fiber technology, construction and draping, color and design and sewing techniques in fashion. Alternatively, a student can earn a four-year bachelor's degree in fashion design, which will cover the same topics but in greater detail as well as more advanced topics not covered in an associate's program.
- Take business and sales electives. Wedding dress consultants must possess excellent sales skills. Taking elective courses in business and sales can help students gain the skills they need to succeed in this industry.
Step 3: Secure Employment
Aspiring wedding dress consultants can find job opportunities through online job postings or by inquiring in-store at a local bridal retailer. Consultants will likely receive on-the-job training through their employer to become familiar with what brands the store carries, what computerized ordering system the store uses and what specific sales approach the employer prefers when working one-on-one with a bride. A consultant can focus on advancing within the company by consistently bringing in a high-volume of gown and accessory sales.
Step 4: Continue Education
While no formal continuing education options exist in this field, consultants can continue to expand their knowledge of the industry independently to improve their skills on the job. For example, consultants can subscribe to popular bridal magazines, attend bridal conventions or attend trunk shows hosted by gown designers to see new trends in bridal wear as they hit the market.
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