Brilliantly Green Events & Education, oh my!!!
Collin College update – Please see this post if you are interested in taking my Wedding and Event Planner Certification
Hello my amazing party people,
Today I wanted to tell you all about my Collin College Wedding Planner certification classes. Three years ago when I was approached to develop and teach this class, I had no idea the profound effect this class would make on the rest of my life. First of all, all certification courses are not created equal!
Back when I got my online event planner certification, the course I went through did not touch on several topics I thought were necessary to have a successful event planning business in the 21st century- project management skills, greening events, social media & small business skills being the biggest pieces left out. I always said if I ever taught a class, I would include those points. If I am putting my name on this certification, the students will be getting a complete education!
My students put together their wedding business in class complete with a “sticky” name and tagline, 5 year business plan, press release, headshots and public image assessment. I’ve had several come up to me and say it was much harder than they expected but definitely what they needed to know.
I also said I’d make it fun! Planning parties is hard work but it is also a lot of fun. And no one retains information when they are bored out of their skull, least of all me! So we have learning games I’ve developed like “Survivor:Wedding Edition”, “Bridalpiece Theatre” & “America’s Next Top Planner” which hone their wedding planner skills.
In the second half of the class, they also get thrown into a real-world wedding exercise where they use all the planner information they’ve been given to plan a local “wedding” where I am the bride and have final say over vendors and details. They have to research local vendors, control the budget & develop the wedding day timeline.
Each wedding has a twist (just like a real wedding). Past twists have included gluten free diets, flower allergies, theme weddings, cultural weddings & eco-chic weddings. It always amazes me to see how my students incorporate the “Bride’s” demands with their own sense of style to produce a memorable occasion.
I also bring in several of my trusted local vendors to talk with the planners in a section I call “Inside the Vendor’s Studio” where I informally interview the vendor. This allows the students to learn about the person behind the product or service and allows them to begin building their vendor database.
The planners learn how to tell a good vendor from a bad or inexperienced one, hear what drives the vendor to do what they do and what they wish planners and brides knew before coming in. This allows the planner to really understand the concept that vendors are people too and the relationships they forge really reflect on them as a planner. We’ve been lucky enough to have such choice vendors as Chef Pete Catering, Illumination Fireworks, Heartsong Productions, Cater 10, Envision Images, and of course, my amazing friend Photo By Eleonore.
We recently had a reunion of the first four seasons of our class and our favorite vendors centered around the wickedly funny movie Bridesmaids, complete with our own awards, the Emeralds (aka the Emmys) that the planners got to vote on.
Thirty planners and the talented Tony Valadez from Flashbox Photography came out to mix and mingle. The awards included “Miss Congeniality”, “Most Improved”, “Favorite Vendor”, “Best Business Name”, “Most Likely to Plan a Celebrity Wedding”, and “the Maverick” award for the “best of the best” of the class-designed weddings. We laughed, we cried, we ate popcorn and sang Wilson Phillips (Bridesmaids reference. lol)
It was an amazing night with amazing party planners and I am so lucky to have come into contact with all of these beautiful, talented women! I hope they stay in touch! They have taken the information I’ve given them and really made the wedding planning world take notice. I look forward to seeing them follow their passion & grow into their own niches of the market.
Wishing you Love, Laughter & Happily Ever After . . . .
Melissa Wagner-Gens, PMP
Owner & Chief Chica Verde
Emerald Events & Weddings
Developer & Producer of
Emerald Certified Seminars
Be Brilliantly Green; Be Emerald!