Junior Katharine Mann doesn't just fantasize about her own wedding. She dreams about other brides' big days as well.

"Having someone telling me what that vision is and making it come to life that's just what it's all about, making that big day so special for the bride and groom," she said.

Mann became a certified wedding planner last month after a two-day class in Greensboro with The Bridal Society, a wedding planning certification agency. The class was taught by the agency's founder, Laurie Hartwell, a well-known wedding planner.

"I picked The Bridal Society because it's an actual classroom setting. It's not online and it's face-to-face with Laurie and she's known in the area and she knows what she's doing. I knew that I was going to get a better learning environment if I was in the classroom learning with her," Mann said.

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And learn she did. According to Mann, Harwell taught the class every facet of weddings, from dresses to bookkeeping, and Mann absorbed all of it.

"I've never had that I love school feeling and this is the first time I think in forever that I've been in a classroom and have not wanted to leave the classroom and I just couldn't get enough," she said.

"Laurie could not have given me enough information. This is something that I could learn forever. I knew I must be in the right genre of jobs if I know that I don't want to leave the classroom."

Mann, a sport and event management major and business minor, said the idea to get certified stemmed from her love of planning.

"I was always the friend that always wanted to get our friends together and plan stuff," she said

A wedding planner Mann spoke with this summer convinced her to take the professional plunge.

"He really, really inspired me to just go for it, and it was so out of the blue too. I was like wait, really, I should go do wedding planner right now, and he was like why not go for it," she said.

Mann has since launched her own business, Katharine Mann Wedding and Event Planning, complete with a website and business cards, all while balancing school.

"It's hard though. I don't really have a set plan. Homework comes first of course. That's what I'm here for, I'm here to be in school, but as soon as I get a little free time, I open up the wedding planning," she said.

What about her own wedding? The one she has been imagining since she was little?

"Hopefully I'll have a bunch of wedding planning buddies when I actually get married and get engaged that will help me execute the ceremony and the reception and the rehearsal, but I'm definitely going to talk to vendors and get my wedding planned on my own and have someone help me execute it, but that's a long way down the road," Mann said.

Mann has already begun planning her first wedding, her cousin's in June.

"She was like don't worry I'll be your guinea pig. You can practice on me, which is so great because sometimes it's hard to get your first step in the wedding planning industry. It's hard to get your first client and get your foot in the door," Mann said.

According to Mann, she'll make the business full-time when she graduates next year, planning other events, like birthday parties and baby showers, as well.

"After college, I have something I want to do that I love," Mann said.


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