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Friday, November 5, 2010

The Value of Certification and Continuing Education

Most industries have professional organizations to provide members networking and continuing education opportunities as well as to hold them to a higher standard. The medical industry has the AMA, attorneys have their bar associations, and teachers have numerous professional associations. The wedding and event industry is no different. We have organizations that cover all categories of vendors, such as ISES (International Society of Event Professionals) and JWI (June Wedding, Inc.), but we also have an association made up solely of wedding planners: the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP).

StarDust wedding planners are certified by and active members of the AACWP. This organization provides support, resources and networking, as well as continuing education for its professional wedding planner members. AACWP planners commit to adhere to the group’s strict code of ethics and have undergone a thorough application process, which included reference checks with former clients and vendors. When it comes to hiring someone to plan and execute the most important celebration you will ever host, do not skimp! Hire a planner that is educated, experienced and informed. In wedding planning, the saying, "you get what you pay for" really rings true and there is no chance for a do-over when it comes to your wedding!

The going rate for a certified wedding planner for “weekend of” or “month of” services averages around $2,000, while for full service you can expect to pay somewhere between $4,000 and $7,000, depending on the complexity and size of your wedding. If the rates you are quoted are significantly lower, look around. Be sure and get references from at least two former brides, and then CALL those brides to get their feedback on their experience with the planner and their perception of the planner’s abilities. Lastly, if someone says they are certified, find out by what organization and check them out. Unfortunately, many planners are not well trained, nor do they have the experience necessary to plan a wedding.

Learn more about AACWP certification and the organization’s rigorous membership standards at their website:

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