Weddings are a multi-million dollar business. In 2006, the Fairchild Bridal Group estimated that about $125 million was spent on about 2.1 million weddings. The cost of weddings, like many other things, has inflated drastically over the years. In the past, just the bride's family funded events. Now it is the bride, groom, and both of their families. That is as many as six wage earners as opposed to relying on the wage of the bride's father.

There has been a 73 percent increase in the cost of a wedding in the past 15 years according to the Fairchild Bridal Group. They estimate that the average cost of a wedding is now about $30,000. The bridal industry now encompasses a greater venue than it used to. It includes travel, home decorations, home furnishings, and much more.

The Fairchild Bridal Group estimates that the average age of couples getting married is 27 to 29. These couples are older than they were 15 years ago. People are waiting longer to tie the knot. They have better jobs and know what they want better than their younger counterparts do. They are willing to spend whatever it takes to get what they want, even if they go over their budget. In most cases, couples will spend much more than they originally budgeted.

The responsibility of who is paying the bill has also changed over the years. Since couples are older, they are often expected to pay their fair share. In 2007, about 25 percent of the brides asked their mother and father to help pay for the wedding. About 30 percent of brides and their mate paid for the entire wedding on their own.

What does this all mean for a wedding consultant? It means that the field and the demand are growing. In addition, many more brides are choosing consultants to help them with their weddings. Since brides are older, many have full-time jobs, and they cannot spend the time that their younger counterparts could on planning and executing a wedding.

You can earn a good amount of money planning and executing weddings and parties. How much money? The average charge for a wedding consultant is usually based upon a percentage of the entire wedding cost -- typically 10 to 15 percent. As a result, an average wedding consultant that does about ten weddings a year can make about $18,000 to $27,000 a year. You could do that on a part-time basis. If you intend on making it a full-time business of about 40 weddings a year, you could gross upwards of $70,000 a year.

However, there are drawbacks. Where you live can determine the amount of money you can expect to make. In New York and California the average wedding costs about $40,000; this is about $10,000 more than the national average. If you do not live in a metropolitan area, you could have a hard time making a living at wedding consulting. This does not mean you should give up your dream, this means you need to be creative and, at the same time, realistic.

Many wedding consultants work from home. This can be a blessing and a curse. If you are not a self-starter and motivated to work hard and market yourself, being at home can be a huge distraction. Wedding consulting is hard work because it is not just about planning a wedding reception and picking out flowers. It is about contracts, business, accounting, and negotiation.

Realistically, it can take a couple of years to be able to get a wedding consulting business off the ground. So do not quit your day job yet. You have to build a reputation and client base. Wedding consulting is not a business of repeat customers. Rather it is a business built on word of mouth. Once you are successful at creating dreams for a bride, she will soon tell all of her friends to hire you right away. If a wedding does not go as well as everyone had hoped, then it can definitely hurt your ability to book future weddings.

Let me end this article on a high note. Wedding consulting is a very rewarding business because you are able to transform a couple's dreams into reality. Many women will say that they had their weddings planned out since they were a little girl. With your skills, contacts, and experience, you can make a pashmina fairy tale come true.