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New Wedding Planner Certification Set to March Down the Aisle at Lone Star College-North Harris in 2009

The many and complex decisions of planning a wedding has given rise to terms, such as “bridezilla” and TV shows, such as “Who’s Wedding Is This Anyway?

However, as weddings have expanded from ceremonies followed by cake-and-punch receptions to destination weekends or dinner-dances, the need for creative, organized and resourceful wedding planners has increased exponentially.

“According to research from the Wedding Planning Institute, this demand has broadened the job market for certified wedding planners and in Houston, there’s a strong need for people to start a wedding planning business or to become adept in planning their own weddings,” said Lorie Qualls, program manager for one of the newest continuing education offerings at Lone Star College-North Harris, “The Wedding Planner Certification.”  

The new program, which will be offered Jan. 22 and continuing for 10 weeks, will meet on Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the LSC-North Harris campus on W. W. Thorne. Tuition for the class, which is offered in partnership with the experts at the Wedding Planning Institute, is $864.

Individuals attending the 10-week program will learn the basics of hospitality management and industry trends while mastering the skills of budgeting and timeline development, selecting and working with cake designers, caterers, floral designers, musicians, lighting designers, photographers, videographers and other vendors.

“Those attending the class will gain experience and practice, applying business tools, using formulas and presentation methods,” Qualls said. “They’ll also have opportunities to practice business as well as the day-to-day business of wedding planning.

“This course will be a fast-paced learning experience in a relaxed classroom environment that encourages group participation,” she continued. “In many cases, students will have opportunities to participate in weddings, bridal shows and meet with professional vendors during the course.”

Because wedding planners are, generally, independent business people, they don’t collect salaries but, instead, charge a percentage of the cost of the wedding.

According to television’s “Great Day Houston,” the average Houston area wedding now costs around $26,000. The Wedding Planner’s Institute estimates the average wedding takes approximately one year to plan.

“Successful wedding planners are, usually, people who are creative, innovative and resourceful,” Qualls said. “They enjoy a challenge and are highly organized but they also are flexible and expert at solving last-minute problems.”

According to Salary.com, the median expected salary for a typical Meeting/Event/Wedding Planner in the United States is $51,262. (This basic market pricing report was prepared using their Certified Compensation Professionals' analysis of survey data collected from thousands of HR departments at employers of all sizes, industries and geographies.) SalaryList.com estimates that U.S. wedding planners earn around $51,000 annually.

Most wedding planners are self-employed and charge an engaged couple a set fee or a percentage of the total cost of the wedding, so their income can vary greatly, depending on how many clients they have and how elaborate the weddings are.

For additional information or to enroll in the course, call 281.618.5602.

Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 E, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. Registration for spring 2008 is now in progress. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit: NorthHarris.LoneStar.edu.

Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including CyFair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and Lone Star College-University Center. It is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.