Bridal consultants are planning specialists.

With the typical wedding in the United States averaging over $25,000 as of 2012, according to The Wedding Report, many brides seek out highly trained wedding professionals to help plan their special day. Although online bridal consultant training programs are advertised as available through universities and colleges, these programs are usually just part of an event trainer curriculum and not specifically for wedding planners. Bridal associations sponsor the top bridal consultant online schools, which have curricula that train you in everything from business plans to wedding history.

American Academy of Wedding Professionals

The American Academy of Wedding Professionals online interactive classroom is a unique program that allows you to work one on one with an AAWP trainer. If needed, you also have access to daily chats with your instructor, a professional wedding planner, through I-Chat-Professor. Each segment of the course offers video lessons, and the organization boasts that it scores all tests and quizzes immediately with results instantly available to the students. The courses are arranged into six units with clearly stated overviews and lesson goals. The average course takes about 12 weeks to complete, but you work at your own pace.

The Association of Bridal Consultants

The Association of Bridal Consultants caters to the professional who is seriously involved in wedding planning and needs the authority that credentials provide. You will take courses in etiquette, sales and marketing, wedding day, related services, and planning and consulting. You can complete all or just one of the individual programs. The entire program takes about 90 to 180 days to complete. ABC is the largest group of wedding planners in the world, and to take the online professional development program courses you must be or become a member of the ABC as a novice planner.

The National Bridal Service

The National Bridal Service offers three types of programs: the certified wedding specialist course designed for individuals who want to open their own wedding planning business; the associate wedding planner course designated for those who want to learn about the wedding planning business but do not intend to open their own business; and the certified wedding planner course, which caters to those who have at least two years of experience in the field but who need a certification credential. The NBS online training partner Weddings Beautiful Worldwide provides the online courses. The full program consists of 18 assignments and begins with a first assignment of creating your own business plan that you then build on as you complete the entire course. You work at your own pace but are required to finish within 24 months or start over.

The Wedding Planning Institute

The Wedding Planning Institute, a division of Lovegevity, offers a certified wedding and event planner course with a self-study option. Although an average completion time is not listed, the company stresses that students progress at their own pace. This 24-chapter course program covers everything from the engagement through the wedding. Taught online, it also partners with colleges and universities across the country for semester classes. As you consider enrollment, student testimonials are available as well as live chat with WPI advisers. The Lovegevity Wedding Planning Institute course is taught using videos, a textbook and resource template materials. A mentor or an online instructor is also available to help complete the certification requirements to receive a certified wedding and event planner credential. Graduates of the program qualify to apply for a six-month internship tailored made to meet their needs.