More than just a “Wedding Planner”
When you tell others that you hired someone to “coordinate” your wedding you typically get several snickers, a few laughs and a lot of questions that sound like, “what were you thinking?” “you’re going to be one of ‘those’ brides” or the most famous, “doesn’t that seem a little superfluous for your
budget?” These comments of course come from those who have yet to plan a wedding. Those people who are married and either did or didn’t hire a coordinator will greet you with these responses, “It is the best decision you’ll ever make!” or “Our only regret was not hiring a coordinator” and here’s why….
Coordinators are not just someone who watches a lot of TLC Programming, Jennifer Lopez movies and has a subscription to every bridal magazine offered around the planet. We don’t just “pretty” your wedding and absorb your budget with tulle and mason jars, telling you to buy all these beautiful things to earn your rightful claim on Pinterest boards the world over…. Actually, my job involves very little of that.
My actual job is being that person who comes prepared on the big day for any and every catastrophe that the Wedding Fairies can sprinkle from above. My actual job begins 9+ months prior to your big day with building your schedules, lists, color coded systems and many other conflict resolution strategies that create a proactive plan for eliminating, avoiding and solving problems before they even happen. My brides can show you the worksheets in their binders to prove this if you have doubts.
When you meet with a coordinator you are putting your faith in someone to care just as much about your wedding day as you do. You are “hiring” a best friend to gossip with about sappy details, someone to listen to you gush over your fiancé, a crafty person to make your visions tangible, a teammate to go to bat for you when your parents seem to be against the ENTIRE wedding, or think you’re “doing it all wrong,” a referee when we have the “parent/teacher conference,” an educator on etiquette and tact, a shadow for the big day, and a pocket to keep all your random thoughts, notes, appointments and even lip gloss. You are hiring someone you trust to be there, and will not drop the ball on your biggest day ever.
Once all of the planning has been done, and you have turned your binder over to me, its game day! All the practice and drills have paid off and the morning has come. When you ask us what we bring with us on the big day, the answer is much more than just confidence, preparation, a clipboard full of structure and a good attitude….
Setup Tubs A & B: Our contributions start Rehearsal Night with these two set up tubs. They are dropped off in GEG’s Headquarters (set up somewhere at your venue) and are accessible to a few key wedding helpers you delegate. They are not a public free for all, but in fact mostly for coordinator use only. This is because we know where everything is and need it to remain organize for faster response time on the wedding day.
Setup Tub A: Structural Components- items used to “build” the wedding
In here you will find items similar to a workshop: hammer, extension cords, ropes, garbage bags, funnel, tape, staple gun, tent stakes, drop cloth, door stops, solar powered walkway lighting, flashlights, cases of nails, screws, bolts zip ties, hand tools and much more. These items are considered BACK UPS in case the ones you have brought are either not functioning or misplaced. In a perfect situation we would not have to open Tub A! We do utilize multiple things at every wedding, but they are restocked before the next event.
Setup Tub B: Problem Solving- Items used “in-action” on the big day
This tub is full of several separated pouches designated for specific needs: Reception, Sewing & Floral, a whole bag of tapes, Beauty Supplies, Office Supplies, and just basic Problem Solving equipment. Again, the goal is to avoid even opening Tub B! Our motto is simply to prepare for everything. (Here I must mention one of my favorite past employees, Bre Schmidt, who spent countless hours organizing and labeling our kits for us so that we could be more efficient. She gets the credit for this elaborate and extremely diligent work)
Reception: Many problems can arise during a reception, which we can handle, but a few common things that pop up can be solved with these few things on hand: cake server, can opener, plastic tongs and a pack of cake napkins. Another item we always find to be helpful is a corkscrew, but we do not provide that because our contract is strict about us not contributing in any way to the distribution/supervision of alcohol.
Decorations: We always have a pack of white balloons, white ribbon, and a small roll of tulle for any last minute quick fixes (mailbox balloons always seem to be forgotten)
Tape: Self explanatory
Sewing & Floral: We are always prepared with floral tape, corsages, boutonniere pins, sewing kits and more.
Beauty Supplies: Again, not meant to be used by the entire wedding party and as a last resort. Sadly, we began having to bring this for all of those brides who couldn’t explain to the fiancé’s enough how important that make up was to her (or how expensive) before he decided to ruin it with cake. Goodbye sunset pictures… L You’ll regret that your whole life!
This kit also includes smelling salts (in case you pass out), static guard, hairspray, lint rollers, Kleenex and mini toothbrushes.
Office Supplies: Self explanatory too, but I will point out how many times I fish in here for a thank you note so the bride can write it for someone she forgot! Envelopes are also a highly used item on wedding days.
Problem Solving: This is my favorite, and probably the one that I have the most fun shopping for. I will be walking through the store and just see something I know I can use to solve a problem and pick it up! So this bag is the biggest and also keeps growing…. It includes mosquito repellent, ice packs (sprained ankles in those heels!) athletic tape (yes I can tape your ankle if you sprain it), sunscreen, umbrellas and more.
Friday Setup Crate: This crate is specific to the rehearsal. It comes out to the actual wedding lawn (typically grass) for setup. It include a string line and mallet to create a perfectly straight chair aisle, along with a measuring tape to make sure the bride’s dress will fit. We bring stepping stones for the bridesmaids to stand on so that their high heels don’t sink, organizers full of nails, screws, wire to secure any decorations on altars, gazebos, etc. A first aid kit, and wet wipes to clean all of the chairs. We do not plan to go out ourselves and wipe down all your chairs, but there are plenty of people standing around who can help out J. Duct tape in a neutral color is used to mark where groomsmen stand and garbage bags are always useful.
Wedding Morning Kit: This kit contains spray bottles with water to spritz down your linens once they are on. Wrinkles will settle out in the sun/heat with a little self steaming. We have linen clips that we put on outdoor tables to keep linens from blowing away. They are removed right before guests arrive. We bring a fabric steamer, which is NOT meant to do all of your linens, or your dress, but more for last minute wrinkles such as ribbons, curtains, etc. No person other than GEG members can use the steamer. We bring two hand pumps full of sunscreen that we will set up near the rest rooms for hospitality.
Couple’s Retreat Boxes (Project 6): These tackle boxes are built with the couples’ specific needs in mind. One is for the bride, the other for the groom. Each give me a list of their favorite energy/coffee drink and power bar which I stock the kit with. Kits also include any personal items that they might need throughout the day. I tell couples to consider this their “purse” or “pocket” for the day. Think about where your sunglasses will be on that day? Not in your pocket! I have these kits waiting for them at their private retreat area immediately following the ceremony before they head off to Newlywed pictures so they can primp or take a coffee shot and eat. I then move them to under the sweetheart table so they have it all night. The only exception is that I do not let them put their cell phones in here. Those should be far away from them so that they are present on their big day and focused on the guests who ARE there. I also have a med kit with the basic Band-Aids, cough drops, athletic tape, etc.
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The next three pull out trays: Including an emergency “Something Blue” ribbon to accommodate the last minute superstition, drinking straws to protect lipstick, shower caps to get your curly updo across the parking lot for pictures, shoe laces for those groomsmen who always seem to tug too hard on their rentals, fray check for those nylons and hems, and much, much more!