Meet Maria, Wedding Planner in Training

Wedding, weddings, everywhere! George Mason University, I recently found, offers a semester-long course on the topic we on this blog spend 90 percent of our lives thinking about. Except this class isn’t for engaged couples—it’s for students who want to be wedding planners. Wedding Planning and Management began in spring 2005, after assistant professor Maggie Daniels fought the administration to get the okay; it’s now one of the most popular classes at GMU, with two sections that consistently max out at 50 students each.

Last Monday I popped into Maggie’s section—49 girls and one boy (“This is the only elective that fit into my schedule, but it just so happens I’m getting married in July,” he told me)—and sat through three speedy hours of talking about the day-of timeline, marriage license rules, and trends in wedding food, like starter olive boats instead of bread and butter. This class may be designed for planners-in-training, but it is a serious boatload of useful I-never-knew! info for anyone getting married. So much so, that I asked Maggie to hook me up with a student to blog about her experience in the class. Meet George Mason freshman Maria Abrams, who will join Bridal Party every Thursday to fill you in on what she’s learning as she plans a wedding—using real vendors—for her final class project. 


I’d heard through the grapevine that Maggie Daniels’s Tourism 190 class, Wedding Planning and Management, was an intense semester-long class with the goal to teach us how to start and run a successful wedding consulting business—not to help the young fiancés at George Mason plan their special day. I remember walking into class and hearing some of the first words out of Professor Daniels’s mouth: “This is not an easy course. If you’re looking for an easy ‘A,’ perhaps this is not the class for you.” Polite, firm, and political. With that statement I could tell—we were going to learn how to be fantastic wedding consultants.

The expectations are clear: In this business, excellence is a must, and procrastination is not an option. Our big project is to plan a wedding, start to finish, using area vendors and sticking to an assigned budget and timeline. The Washingtonian has asked me to blog each week about what I’m learning, so hopefully you brides and grooms can glean a few tips on how to save money, pick the right vendors, and stick to your theme, as well as get the buzz on the latest wedding trends.

Was it overwhelming a few weeks ago when I walked into Marc McIntosh’s bridal show at the Dulles Expo Center? Heck, no! Okay, maybe just a little. One step inside and I felt like someone had taken my breath away. In front of me were rows and rows of cakes, photographers, tux rentals, limos . . . how do brides choose? That’s where I, the (future) bridal consultant, come in. My job is to work with you to help you plan that special day, to help suppress that completely overwhelmed feeling, and to use my ins and outs of the trade to get you the most bang for your buck. No matter the culture, tradition, or location. Welcome to the inside scoop on planning a beautiful wedding.


Check back next Thursday to read more from Maria about her adventures in becoming a wedding planner.