Training up wedding planners


For Kimberly Harden, the only wedding coordinator is a trained one.

"There are a lot of wedding coordinators who will put the shingle up -- and they don't have the training," said Harden, 37, owner of Majestic Day LLC, a Columbia-based wedding and event-planning firm. "They make the professional wedding coordinator look bad."

To that end, Harden will teach a four-week seminar -- "The Business of Weddings" -- starting Saturday at the Morgan State University Entrepreneurial Development and Assistance Center (EDAC). The Saturday sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to noon.

Topics to be addressed include working with customers, developing budgets, coordinating vendor services, working with liability issues and understanding wedding traditions and etiquette.

"Most brides don't really appreciate the value of a wedding coordinator until two weeks before the wedding," said Harden, who has planned about 50 weddings since she opened her firm in 1991. "When brides don't realize [the full services of a coordinator], they can waste a lot of money and a lot of time."

Harden is a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants, based in Connecticut. Those completing the Morgan State seminar will receive a completion certificate, she said.

"Most people think that you just come to the wedding, walk down the aisle, and that's it," Harden said. "It's a $3 billion industry. You can also make money."

According to Shelby Tuck-Horton, the statewide coordinator for the bridal consultants' group, one of the major issues professional wedding coordinators face regards liability. The organization has about 100 members in Maryland.

"In this society, people will sue you if you sneeze the wrong way at their wedding," said Tuck-Horton, who also teaches a wedding-coordinator course at two community colleges in the Washington region. "You have to make sure you cover yourself."

The Morgan State course was developed with Omar S. Muhammad, EDAC's director. The center is housed in the university's Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management. For more information, call 443-885-3261 or visit online.

Other events this week include:

Tuesday The Maryland Small Business Development Center presents "The First Steps to Starting Your Own Business" at 6 p.m. at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold. For more information, call 410-777-2325 or click here.

Wednesday Mario Armstrong, the technology advocate for Baltimore City, speaks at a meeting of the Technology Policy Group of the Greater Baltimore Committee at 8 a.m. For more information, call 410-727-2820 or click here.

The Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will meet at 6 p.m. at the Engineers Club, 149 N. Luzerne Ave. For more information, call 410-558-3515 or click here.

The Entrepreneurs Exchange holds its monthly meeting at the Yellow Fin restaurant in Edgewater. The speaker is John Elstner, executive director of the Chesapeake Innovation Center. For more information, visit online.

Thursday The Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention meets through Sunday at the Baltimore Convention Center. For more information, call 301-424-1876.

The Baltimore-Washington Chamber of Commerce holds an orientation program at 8:30 a.m. at the organization's office in Laurel. For more information, call 410-792-9714 or 301-725-4000; send an e-mail to; or click here.

The Annapolis-Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce will hold a mixer at 5:30 p.m. at the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association in Annapolis. For more information, click here.

In Gaithersburg, the Technology Council of Maryland sponsors a seminar on biotechnology clinical trials at 9 a.m. at Health Pathways Inc. For more information, click here.

Saturday Women in Mission, a Baltimore-based organization, presents the Youth in Mission Prayer Conference at the Baltimore Convention Center. The free event features guest speakers addressing such topics as abstinence, anger management, relationships and spiritual development. The conference is from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 410-313-9497.

Baltimore-based NAACP opens its 95th annual conference in Philadelphia. Guest speakers include presumed Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry and comedian Bill Cosby. The session ends July 15.

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