Posts filed under ‘Planning’
I recently attended a wedding and was appalled and saddened for the bride and her parents. This was the day that the bride waited so long for and it certainly was not at all what she envisioned or would want to remember for her lifetime.
Her parents spent a good amount of money on what was supposed to be one of the most beautiful and carefree day of their daughter’s life. What it turned out to be was a complete disaster that could have been so easily averted if they hired a day of wedding coordinator.
A day of coordinator is essential for certain venues that do not have the staffing or offer a onsite coordinator on the bride’s special day. When considering your venue, this is something you need to know prior to booking the event. Unfortunately because you do not get married every day, it is hard to know the questions to ask. If you would like some guidance on venues that I would suggest a wedding coordinator for, please click here.
In the case of this wedding, it is exactly what they needed, a “go to” person to handle all of the small items that multiplied and turned into the large disaster that it was.
My husband and I arrived at the event a little early, the staff were still setting up the chairs, this was less than one hour prior to the event! When they did complete them, there was no middle aisle and chairs were set up less than 3 feet from where the ceremony would take place. Where was the bridal party going to stand? And worst, how would the bride be able to make her entrance???? The tempeture was over 92 degrees when we arrived and the tent the ceremony was going to be in had to be over 100 degrees, due to no fans or a/c in the tent. The set up people left the sides down so there was no air what so ever! You cannot know how hard it was for me to not do something, but I had to remember I was just a guest! Unfortunately this was the first sight the mother of the bride saw when she arrived. She was in tears, a little after the chairs were rearranged but the tent sides were not removed as she asked, not a great way to start her day.
The florist arrived and had no direction on how to set the ceremony flowers, the photographer arrived and there was no space for them maneuver to get good pictures without standing in front of the guests and because the chairs were so close to where the bride and groom would be standing, he could only get side shots, the videographer arrived and because there was no middle aisle, the also had to shoot from the side by taking out some chairs and pushing the side of the tent out. The venue could not find their red aisle carpet so they put down a piece of square carpet under the first few seats. It was chaotic.
By this time the majority of the guests arrived and we were asked to proceed outside to the tent for the ceremony. Not being able to keep my coordinator hat off, I started looking around the room for a coordinator to prepare the wedding party for their entrance, no one was to be seen, including the wedding party!!! We all proceeded into the tent, which was like walking into a sauna. Before we were in our seats, I see the mother of the groom walk up the aisle, still no groomsman, still no bridesmaids in sight. About 2 minutes later the mother of the bride comes rushing down the aisle as well as the bridesmaids and all of the sudden, the a couple of the groomsman walk to the front and then here come more from the side with the officiant. All of this was going on and here comes the bride, no pause, no special entrance, it broke my heart. The D.J. was trying to keep up with this because there was, I am sure, a song for each entrance but because of the sporadic entrances there was no way and therefore, the bridal march did not start until the bride was half way up the aisle. Ok, that’s enough, you get the idea. None of this would have happened if they had someone there to prepare for these issues in advance and then execute them that day. Is a professional day of ceremony coordinator a good idea? You bet!
A word of caution. When choosing your day of coordinator, please ask these questions:
1) Are you a full-time coordinator? Many people get a website and call themselves coordinators actually have full-time employment somewhere else and do this for a little extra money on the side. Do you want focus for coordinator to be part-time or do you want someone who is dedicated and committed only to YOUR wedding creation and be there to focus on YOU.
2) What is your background that qualifies you to coordinate the most important in my life? Some brides who have had an extraordinary wedding experience feel that they are now qualified to coordinate weddings, this is usually because they had great vendors and venues to make the wedding a success. It is imperative that your coordinator has been in the wedding food and beverage or wedding venue industry for at least 10 years. It takes at least that long to learn all of the “ins and outs” of a perfect wedding. You can’t learn this in a class or a book, it must be hands on. It takes years and years of experiences to know how to handle all situations that may arise.
3) How flexible are you with your package? Don’t pay for things you don’t need. Of course no matter your needs the co coordinator will be spending many hours prior to your wedding preparing for the day of. But make sure you have a good conversation of what is needed. Each venue is unique; each offers great and not so great services. This should a make a huge difference on the cost of your coordinator.
4) How many coordinators will be present on my day? This is not a one person job! If you want your day to be all that you envision, it will take more than one person to orchestrate the day. No one can be in two places at one time, for instance someone may be pulling the final details together at your reception site as the other is preparing the wedding party for their entrance. Although we like to think we are superwoman, no one person can handle it all and have the day run that way it needs to. Do not consider having your officiant act as a coordinator as well. It will not work to your advantage. A professional officant will not suggest this. They will work closely with you up until the day of your ceremony, but that day, it is the responsibility of the officiant to focus on the bride and groom and the preparation of your ceremony, and to assure a very special experience as you say your vows to each other. They cannot be focused on you and all that is going on around you to make you event special no more than you would expect a D.J. to also be your server. You deserve both!
This is a very important part of your life; please work with a professional that has your best interest in mind.
If you would like to set a consultation or have further questions please contact us
Programs are an optional item at a wedding. There is no right or wrong. You may want to have them, you may not. You may want them to be very formal; you may want to have fun with them. I have seen so many interesting and beautiful programs. Some in the shape of fans or flowers for outdoor weddings, some with beautiful ribbons and scrolls, some with photos. This is a great place to really show off your personalities.
The following is an outline of a program and some tips for content:
The typical cover will include the date of the wedding and the name of the couple. You may also want to include the location and time of the ceremony, a picture of the couple or a design that is meaningful to you.
This is where you will list the order of the ceremony. Ask your officiant to assist with this. You will want to include the processional music, greeting, readings, prayers, exchange of vows, ring ceremony, sand ceremony or unity candle ceremony, pronouncement of marriage, recessional music, and any other ceremony music. Be sure to list the events in the order they will occur.
This can simply be a listing of names and roles of your bridal party or you may want to include their relationship to you such as:
Officiant: Deborah Walker
Parents of the bride: Rita and Joe Donavan
Parents of the groom: Roberta and John Engle.
Stepparents of the groom: Edith and Robert Evens
Grandparents: Elsie Tilley, Roger and Jean Wright
Maid of Honor: Sharon Marshel, the bride’s sister
Best Man: Morgan McCarthy, the groom’s friend since they were 5 years old.
Bridesmaids: Brenda Rogan, the bride’s roommate from college Carmen Aybar, the groom’s sister
Groomsmen: Justin Coogan, the Grooms friend since the age of 10. Josh Jones, the Grooms best friend
Readers: Claire Pufson, Debbie Wilson
Other items you may wish to add:
An explanation of traditions or rituals used in your ceremony
A request for audience participation in certain parts of the ceremony (e.g. affirmation of the marriage, communion, singing, offering of the peace, standing or kneeling)
Message of special thank you
Memorials (for example: The memorial candle is lit in honor of the bride’s mother, OR On this day of happiness, we would like to remember those who are with us in spirit, especially Robert Donavan grandfather of the bride, and Roberta Brown, mother of the groom.)
An explanation of the significance of the location, theme, first dance song, etc. (for example: the reception will be held at Aqua Knox, the site of the bride and groom’s first date.)
Quotes or poems about love or marriage
Directions to the reception
A great tool for you is a Bridal Show.
The basic concept of a bridal show is that many of the wedding vendors in the area will get together for an afternoon or a weekend under one roof. This gives brides a chance to meet a lot of different vendors in a short amount of time.
It is a great opportunity to see who is out there, ask questions, and make follow up appointments for a later date.
There are a great number of reasons to attend a bridal show. The vendors that are going to come out in full force are those who do not have a large storefront. So it can be a terrific chance to meet independent wedding professionals who can give your wedding unique and personalized attention. Bridal shows are a great place to find wedding officiants, planners, florists, photographers, bakers, limos, entertainment and others.
There are certain categories of wedding vendors that you are more likely to meet at bridal shows than others. For instance, many well-established bridal shops will choose not to participate in bridal shows because they figure that most brides already have their gowns by the time they get around to attending shows however some smaller shops that you may miss because they do not have thousands of dollars to spend on advertising may attend and have the dress of your dreams.
You may also see artisans who create things such as candles, soaps, chocolates and other favors will often gather at bridal shows. You may also find people who make handmade wedding jewelry for gifts. If you have been looking for some original touches for your wedding, you may find a bridal show to be helpful.
Many brides who attend bridal shows will go simply because it is a fun thing to do, some go to win the prizes most shows have, that can be reason enough. But most come to get information and choose the vendors they need to complete their special day. Whatever your reason, here are some tips to make the show worthwhile for you.
Pre-register. Pre-registering saves you from having to fill out your name and information at the entrance. This is used often used for drawings as well. Part of the fun of going is to see if you win a prize.
• Be a bag lady. If you’re handed a bag when you enter, take it! You’re going to be collecting lots and lots of cards and brochures with vendor’s information on it and it’s nice just to be able to slip into the bag.
• Take a pen. This way as you collect the information you can make a star on the ones you like, so if there are a lot of vendors you can remember who’s who when you get home.
• Ask questions. That’s what bridal shows are all about — getting to talk to the vendors. Ask details about the packages they offer and how flexible they are about customization for your wedding. Also, make sure they have your date available. If you feel you will be comfortable working with them, make an appointment to see them after the show. If you don’t feel the “chemistry” move on.
Contact me for information on the next show: http://www.afloridaweddingceremony.com/Contact_us.html
Our rainy season is here and I am performing two weddings outside this week end.
One in a garden and one on the beach. At this point rain is scheduled for tonight and tomorrow.
This has brought me to a new topic. Outdoor weddings. Although garden and beach weddings are beautiful and memorable, there is a little more planning and things to consider.
1) Who will be on your guest list?
Will there be elderly people or others that may be uncomfortable on a 90 degree day on the sand or lawn?
If so how will you keep them comfortable until you make your walk down the aisle?
2) BE ON TIME! Remember that your guests will be dressed and in the direct sun and wind. Please don’t keep them baking in the sun. It is very easy for them to get sun stroke and a burn, keep them out there for as short a time as you can. Your reception will be much more fun if everyone is not exhausted from sitting out in the sun for a prolonged period.
3) have some bottles of water available in an iced tub; this is just a caring gesture and much appreciated.
4) Make sure the guests are aware that the wedding will be on the beach. Dress theme of the wedding should be appropriate to the beach; a formal wedding may not be the right thing in the middle of summer in Florida.
5) Supply flip flops for the guests to walk on the beach or a have a large basket for them to put their shoes if they choose not to wear them to their seats.
6) Your programs on a fan are a great keep sake as well as practical on those warm days.
7) Wear Sunscreen! You may not think in the short time you are on the beach for your ceremony you will need it but you will! Remember, you’ll have pictures after so your “sun time” is prolonged. A nice little gift for your wedding party may be sunscreen as well.
8) Keep yourself hydrated. Not only will you feel better in the sun, your skin will look fresher too. You will also feel less tired on the big day. Start drinking extra water at least 48 hours from your special day.
9) Limit your ceremony to 10 t0 15 minutes. With the processional and recessional this will bring the wedding to approximately 20 minutes to 30 minutes. This is a great time frame for all concerned. (this tip is thanks to Paul Costello, Weddings by Paul)
10) Are you in an area that could be prone to insects? Don’t forget the bug spray! Your guests with thank you. (this tip is thanks to Cynthia Basco from Sacinos Formal Wear)
And most important…
11) Have a backup plan. Unfortunately your wedding professionals are great at what they do but NO ONE can control the weather. It may not be as warm as you expected in March or as dry as you expected in November, there is always a solution for the weather, but make sure you have your plan in advance.
The day of your wedding may be too late.
Deciding where you will get married should reflect your personality and what you value as a couple. Whether it is at the beach or in a chapel or resort the choices are vast
Is there a story behind a certain location that you have selected? Is there a family history? Are you a couple who loves the out of doors or who have always dreamed of a formal church wedding? Was your proposal at one of the local venues or have you always dreamed of coming to Florida for your Sunrise or Sunset wedding, has a certain location always been an important part of yours or a family members life?
Prior to looking for your location, decide how many people will be attending your ceremony. This will avoid disappointment if the location you choose is too small or has a large count minimum . Ask you officiant for suggestions if you are unsure.
Consider how much or how little the venue will be doing for you the day of your ceremony. Some of the catering managers also act as your “day of” coordinators, others do not. This is important as to know as you may want to hire a coordinator as well. Again, discuss this with your officiant. We are well versed in which venue does what duties, our job is to compliment what they are doing so your day runs smoothly and with as little aniexty as possible. When we all work together for your benefit your day will become seamless.
If you choose your officiant prior to choosing your venue, ask for suggestions. If you choose your venue first, share the reasons for choosing your venue with your officiant, this will be a great starting off point for you and your officiant to get to know each other. Perhaps some of this conversation will be added into your ceremony.
If you would like to view some venue suggestions click here
Wedding flower choices are endless! Fresh or silk, roses or daisies, it’s all what fits your style and color theme of your wedding. To make a good decision you will need to consider costs, colors, season of the year and the meanings of the flowers. I have found a great guide on The Knot you may want to read this article.