Students Learn the Art of Wedding Planning for College Credit

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Getting married is serious business. By some estimates, it is a $160 billion a year industry. And in the last four years alone, brides and grooms-to-be have shelled out 20 percent more on every last detail: flowers, music, gifts, gowns and pictures -- all to get it just right.

Weddings have become such a huge industry that George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., is offering a class in wedding planning for college credit -- the first in the nation.

The class is part of the school of Recreation Health and Tourism and is taught by Maggie Daniels, a professor who used to be a wedding planner. Daniels warns that the class, like the profession, is no easy A.

"There is an enormous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to have a seamless day," said Daniels. "And for that to happen, the timelines must be perfect, the budgets must be perfect, the communication and coordination must be perfect as well."

Daniels literally wrote the book on wedding planning: She designed the course and co-wrote the textbook. In an industry where every detail counts, the course does not appear to leave a single topic uncovered.

On the syllabus students will find the difference between pin spotting and wash lighting and how to tell the Trumpet Voluntary from the Canon in D.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & Family

Posted January 31, 2008 at 7:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. RichardKew wrote:

Perhaps seminaries should offer additional training for potential clergy on how to work with a wedding planner!

January 31, 8:35 am | [comment link]
2. TomRightmyer wrote:

I have worked with various “wedding planners” in 41 years of ordained ministry. I tell brides when they come to see me that I am in charge of what goes on in the church building, that I will respond to reasonable requests from the bride but that the role of the wedding planner is limited to lining up the ushers and bridesmaids in order at the rehersal and at the wedding with a minimum of fuss.

At the Naval Academy when I was Assistant at St. Anne’s, Annapolis, a retired Admiral’s widow was on the chapel staff with the title of Pusher. Her task was to push brides up the aisle every 15 minutes for the day or two after graduation.

Tom Rightmyer in Asheville, NC

January 31, 9:51 am | [comment link]
3. Cathy_Lou wrote:

My 11 year old daughter and her best friend have recently decided they want to have a double wedding and be wedding planners when they grow up.  She was just asking me “what would I study in college to be a wedding planner?”  I told her probably meeting management, but it turned into a good time to remind her why it was important to pay attention to her despised math and study skills/organization classes at school to get ready for a lot of calculations, expense tracking, estimates, bills, contracts, etc.  Her alternative profession right now is fashion designer, and she is a good artist, having had a “quirky fashion sense” since she was a toddler.

January 31, 10:21 am | [comment link]
4. Irenaeus wrote:

Note that “wedding planning” has much less to do with planning the wedding than with planning the SPENDING.

Before the last few decades, only fairly wealthy people spent on the scale that has now become commonplace. Wedding receptions took place in the parish hall or its equivalent. Ring bearers made do without tuxedos. Life went on.

Some of this excess reminds me of how Kirk Kirkorian’s ex-wife’s made a “child support” request that included $25,000 for a “birthday party planner.”

January 31, 2:12 pm | [comment link]
5. Irenaeus wrote:

Lavish wedding budgets don’t necessarily reflect a broader generosity. More than a few couples with such budgets feel entitled to use clergy and church buildings for peanuts—-even at churches they don’t attend.

January 31, 2:21 pm | [comment link]
6. sophy0075 wrote:

I don’t suppose the course includes sections on compatiblity, how to argue with one’s spouse, and managing the topics that are the challenge to most married relationships - money (budgeting), sex, and children.

January 31, 7:52 pm | [comment link]
7. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Easy solution to that, Irenaeus. Don’t offer church facilities for weddings except to parish members and their offspring.

February 1, 2:38 am | [comment link]
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