By Lois Pearce, MBC™, Beautiful Occasions, Hamden, Conn.    Photography by Victoria Angela Photography

This year, the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) welcomed nine new Master Bridal Consultants™, among 18 candidates, at the Business of Brides annual conference in Denver.

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Mirrored after the three-step Guild System in Europe, the Association of Bridal Consultants master program was created for planners and vendors who have demonstrated industry experience and knowledge, the willingness to give back, the ability to build relationships and develop their craft.  Masters write about their craft, teach, mentor, and set standards. Those who meet the requirements can present themselves and their work to a panel of industry professionals. Here’s what “seasoned” Master Bridal Consultants™ have to say about the designation:

“Becoming a master was important to me because it made it clear that we worked hard to improve ourselves for the benefit of our clients. We strive for excellence and this distinction made it clear that we made the effort to become the best of the best.”
– JoAnn Gregoli, MBC™ (since 1999), Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli, New York City

“Many in the wedding industry look up to me, and it has opened doors to new adventures in this industry. I am able to continue my profession as an educator to help others in the ABC grow and expand their knowledge in the industry.”
– Joyce Smith, MBC™ (since 2002), Weddings Unlimited, Inc., Cincinnati

“It distinguishes me from my competition. I also love that others contact me when they need help or have a question. I am so touched when they reach out to me and [when I am able] to give back to others starting out. When someone told me, ‘you inspire me,’ that put it all into perspective. I am also proud to be the first male master!”
–  Frank J. Andonoplas, MBC™ (since 1999), Frank Events, Chicago

“People look at my wall of awards and say, ‘Wow, you take this seriously.’ I went for master because this profession is a passion, and I wanted to be the best I could. And this gave me the tools to do that.”
– Teddy Miller Lenderman, MBC™ (since 1993), Bearable Weddings & Special Events, Greencastle, Ind.

“Being a master provides a platform for me to be of service to others by mentoring, teaching, and coaching. Often a master is looked upon as an expert in their field, and this has benefited me with many opportunities, such as speaking engagements, television appearances, and contributions to books and magazines.”
– Shelby Tuck-Horton, MBC™ (since 2002), Exquisite Expressions & Events, Inc., Beltsville, Md.

“Becoming an MBC™ was less about ‘arriving’ and more about the beginning of a journey. It’s important to have role models in the industry who value education, relationships, and sharing knowledge.
– Mark Kingsdorf, MBC™ (since 2009), Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants, Philadelphia

“The MBC™/MWV™ designations I hold seem to have propelled me toward the top in my area when it comes to inquirers and fees. Those in my field consider me an expert. The ABC designations have given my years of experience more of a ‘neon glow.’ In other words, Weddings by Jane and the Bridal Mansion of Lisle, have taken on a ‘glow’ out there due to ABC membership, education, and networking without having to pay the sign man and the electric bill.”
– Jane Skarosi, MBC™, MWV™ (since 2004), 
Weddings by Jane, Naperville, Ill.

“Ten years ago, I received my masters designation.  I was the guinea pig to do the first oral presentation. I believe that if you are going to pursue a career, you should try to be the best you can be.”
–  Steve Stawicki, MBC™ (since 2003), The Wedding Connection, Inc., Huntington Woods, Mich.

“With the letters MBC™ come responsibility. This is not an end to my career but the beginning of another segment.”
– Mary Charmoli, MBC™ (since 2009), Saratoga Weddings Inc., Webster, Wis.

“Being a master carries a lot of cachet, and it speaks to your success.”
– Lou Ann Dunn, MBC™ (since 1999), Artful Parties & Events, Salina, Kansas

To sum it up, being an ABC master means being among an elite few with a proven passion who do their best every day, represent the best of the industry, and guide others to do the same.

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