Tag Archives: wedding coordinator

Yesterday marked a year since Kendall proposed. Things are really falling into place for our April 7th wedding, but we’ve definitely learned a lot in our year of planning. With my (second) shower/ bachelorette party coming up this weekend, I wanted to take the time to reflect on what planning a wedding has been like. This is a long one so I hope you can stay with me.

  1. Checklists, such as the one on The Knot, are a great way to get started, but real life doesn’t work in such a linear fashion. To quote another bride friend: “checklists are great if you can take off a year and just stick to them.” It actually got to the point where my coordinator at the Mayflower Hotel told me to stop trying to follow it after I sent a frantic email to my DJ and venue telling them, “the Knot checklist wanted me to ask ABC and I’m not sure what that means.” I knew what I needed to accomplish- the big things are pretty much taken care of. The little things get done when they get done and at this point even if they don’t we’re pretty much good to go… which brings me to my next point.
  2. The more I planned, the more I let go. To be honest, most of what I’d dreamed of is not how my wedding is turning out, but that’s ok! It’s evolved into something better than I could have imagined! I used to really want to get married at the National Cathedral and have the reception at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Both spaces were entirely too cavernous, and we couldn’t be happier with our choice to get married at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Georgetown, with a reception at the Mayflower. Some other examples- I used to want an all-daffodil bouquet, but they’re apparently fickle flowers that are also sticky. The music I envisioned for my ceremony- not going to happen because it needs to be traditional church music. Not complaining at. all. but this is something the newly engaged should be prepared for while planning a wedding.
  3. I didn’t know how difficult it would be to schedule meetings with the church but I just have to keep in perspective that my wedding is a huge day for me, but St. John’s has so many other responsibilities in the community besides marrying off two crazy kids. (They actually host a rotating homeless shelter in Georgetown which I think is amazing!) We LOVE Gini, our officiant, and look forward to our pre-marriage meetings with her. Our relationship always feels renewed afterwards. The stress of trying to plan will be totally worth it.
  4. Kendall actually has a lot of opinions. This is AMAZING but in my little planning brain, I didn’t think about what my groom would want, so it’s a good thing he tells me. The funny thing is that he agrees with my mom on everything, which is super convenient. I happen to love naked cakes and I originally wanted a naked funfetti cake with fresh berries. Kendall and Mathy wanted hazelnut and think naked cake is ugly. We’re getting two smaller cakes rather than one huge one and neither is naked. I had always envisioned my groom and his men dressed a certain way, but Kendo has a great style and did something different. It’s his day too, and he’s had to reign me in from doing too much.
  5. It’s so important to have someone in your corner. Luckily, I have my mama bear to come to the rescue. Anyone who knows my mom know’s shes not like a regular mom, she’s a cool mom, and since she’s retired she has taken on this wedding as a part-time job. She spent one morning a couple weeks ago calling vendors when I had a really stressful day at work. She’s opened about 30 billion candle holders to make sure they’re all perfect for our centerpieces. When I was told by my bridal salon that my dress wasn’t a priority, she called them and suddenly it was. (Ha!) She’s been in constant contact with my MOH for my shower, and had gone with me/ will go with me to all my fittings to make sure my dress is exactly my vision. She’s as detail oriented as I am, so every little thing will be justso.
  6. I’m just going to start this paragraph with people will be weird. The first weirdness was someone I haven’t seen since I was four asking me for an invitation. I honestly didn’t even know what to do so I (you guessed it) called my mom. We crafted a response and I never heard from this person again. No loss I suppose, since… I haven’t seen them since I was four. Kendall had someone he used to party with text him not once, but twice, asking to be a groomsman. Apparently, he’d done this to one of Kendall’s groomsmen for his wedding too. This one didn’t happen to me, but one of my friends had an aunt ask her to use the photographer for family pictures after the ceremony. I’m pretty sure she called her mom too. Don’t let people bully you into situations on your big day.
  7. Recently, people have started most conversations with me with, “you must be so stressed!” Actually, I’m not. It comes in little waves. I was stressed about finding a hair dresser, I was stressed about hiring the limo, I was stressed momentarily about the invite list to our rehearsal dinner. But those things are all taken care of and I’m sure I’ll get through whatever else. And like I said, even those things that might go wrong, so much will go right I’ll probably be the only one who notices. I know I’ll be a hot damn ass wreck the week of the wedding, so hopefully I can just remember to breathe and enjoy it.

I honestly could go on and on- I’m still really thinking about writing a wedding book. I have a title and everything. It’s be funny and might get me in trouble. We’ll see. 😉 Right now I just want to enjoy my last couple months of crazy before finally getting to become Mrs. Caroline Suzanne Downing Price.

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The moment the dust settles after popping the question or saying ‘yes’ – when all that hysterical euphoria starts to stop swirling with such ferocity – the excitement of planning a wedding starts to sink in. Most newly-engaged’s waltz into this process filled with excitement, anticipation and pure undulated joy but, a couple of weeks into it, the reality starts to become a little less perfect.

There are things on the wedding planning list that are nice to know. Things like where the good dress shops are, which planners did whose weddings and any tribute bands that are worth checking out on Youtube. Then there are things that you need to know; things that make the stress manageable, the choices less daunting and playing the role of conductor-slash-bride a bit easier to enjoy.

 

 Wedding Planning Wine Glass
  1. Know Your Numbers

Nothing is going to frustrate you more than picking a venue and then sending out invites, only to discover there isn’t enough space for all the added extras that make up a wedding – catering staff, band members, waiters and dance floor. The unwritten rule is: allow at least 25 square feet per guest. It may seem like a not now, but not when the party kicks off. Or- check with your dream venue, they’ll let you know how many guests they can accommodate comfortably.

  1. No Double-Booking

Before you swap your pencil for a pen and decide on a date, check all the possibilities of there being a crossover. Ask around your social circles to see if there is another wedding, check if there are any trade fairs, conference events, charity do’s, or anything else that could see people say no, traffic become a problem and hotels to be booked up.

  1. Don’t Underestimate Undergarments

This is the dress you will be wearing in every photo from your big day onwards – that photograph that family will always look at when they flick through albums – which is why you need to be fully prepared at the fitting. That is why you need to consider your undergarments. For a full list of advice, check out this list at www.loveandlavender.com. But, to sum it up, you need to think about the bra you will be wearing, whether you will wear Spanx on the day, and what sort of slip you will be wearing under your dress. It all matters, and it will all prevent you from having a mess meltdown on the big day when you try everything on.

  1. Vendors For Help

The people you hire do this full time. This is their living. Their calling in life. So, use them. Use one vendor to help you decide on another. When you have chosen a photographer, ask them to recommend a florist with excellent blooms, ask the venue’s manager if they remember any incredible bands that are worth speaking to, and ask any planner’s you meet about good caterer’s. Nothing beats a little bit of social proof. We were thrilled when our cake bakery had nothing but awesome things to say about or coordinator.

  1. Think About The Kids

If you are a conventionalist, then you’re plan is to get married, enjoy the honeymoon period and have kids, which is why you need to accept that some of your guests will have kids, and that is why you need to have a kid policy. It could be that you welcome kids with a hug and a smile knowing that kids are awesome; it could be you decide to have a zero child policy; you could only embrace the kids in your immediate family; or you could get a childcare service in. Whatever your choice, decide ahead of time so that you aren’t freaking out on the day wishing you had decided ahead of time.

I looked around the web for how to handle this delicate situation, and found what I think is the perfect wording for my wedding site:

While children are a joy and a blessing, we respectfully ask that this be an adult-only ceremony and reception, barring the few little ones who are in our wedding party. The Mayflower offers a babysitting service at $25 an hour with 4 hours minimum. Please give them a call at (202) 347-3000 to arrange.

This not only clearly sets my expectation, but offers a solution! (I also asked my SIL if, as a mommy, she found it appropriate. She said definitely and that Ryker will not be attending any other weddings with her but ours so she can have fun and let loose!)

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I have to say- I adore my month-of wedding coordinator. Tabitha Roberts, aside from having one of my favorite names, is covering all the details on my big day that’ll drive me crazy. I opted to do day-of (really month-of) coordination which includes:

  • Orchestrating vendor walk through one month prior to wedding
  • Collaboration with vendors on floor plans, setup, and time lines
  • Being the point of contact for vendors and family on wedding day
  • Coordinating your rehearsal before the big day
  • Unlimited hours with our Coordinator and assistant on the wedding day

I didn’t really need a wedding planner, per say, but she’ll definitely been needed so I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off… at least more than I need to be.

Between being in two weddings without a coordinator start over and hour late and having one awesome coordinator actually sew myself and the other bridesmaids into our dresses when all of our zippers broke, I’ve seen how valuable the extra help can be. There is no getting away from the fact that an expert wedding planner can relieve some stress of planning your wedding. But let’s also not forget that the elimination of stress does cost some extra money. So as lovely as that might be, it isn’t always going to be a luxury that we can all afford. You may be on a budget that is pretty tight or like to plan an organize most things yourself. If so, then there are a few lessons we can learn from the professionals when it comes to planning a wedding.

Luxury marble wedding planner book

 

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

If you’re going to be doing it yourself, then you need to allow plenty of time to get things done. You’ll have your regular job to contend with, whereas planning your wedding would be the full-time job of a professional. Around eight months should be plenty, but a year can be the ideal time to get all of the plans in place.

Be Prepared To Negotiate

Your wedding is your wedding. But for wedding vendors, it is merely a transaction. So when it comes to planning, it can help to see things as a business transaction too. Which is why being savvy and negotiating can be a good way to get the best deal. If you don’t want certain elements that the photographer is offering, then ask for something else or just have the price reduced. Be prepared to negotiate so that you only end up with the things that you want.

Get Help When Needed

Some elements will need some professional help. So don’t be afraid to ask for it (just be prepared to negotiate when you do). Looking for a reception venue can often bring with it some wedding organizers to help plan things for the day. So work with them and make sure that they have a clear idea of how you want things to look and work on the day.

Spend Money Wisely

The cost of weddings can spiral out of control if you let it. So it is a good idea to plan carefully and spend wisely. It could be a good idea to get a specific wedding credit card that will allow you to earn cash back or air miles for your honeymoon, for example. You’re going to be spending the money anyway. So you may as well get some extras for your sending, right?

Read The Fine Print

A professional is going to be the person reading through the contracts all for you. Which is why you need to make sure that you are checking all of the fine print if you decide to go it alone. You might be signing away hidden costs or extras if you don’t check on this kind of thing. As has been said, your wedding is just a business transaction for vendors. So check the details of everything, including (even though it will be the last thing on your mind) things like cancellation policies.

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The above post may contain affiliate links and I may receive compensation if you click on any of the above links and/ or make a purchase from those links. Opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love!