Making YOUR wedding day the absolute best day it can be is always our goal. We share a lot of insights into making this happen through our Instagram stories. (You should really follow those at @emersonfieldsvenue.) We've gotten to a place where we'd like to share some more in depth tips and discuss some issues that the format of "stories" doesn't allow for. That's where the blog entries come in. These blog posts will replace our tips that we had been sharing on our "Wedding Wednesday" Instagram/Facebook stories. No worries; we'll still be popping up in "stories".
Photos by Kelsi Kliethermes Photography
Our biggest/best/most epic tip thus far is a complex one; hire a wedding coordinator. That may not seem complex and you may not think you need one, but that's where the complexity begins. You need one. Point blank. This type of wedding venue isn't your small church wedding with punch in the fellowship hall afterward. The type of wedding venue that you've invested in is one that works well with someone in charge of the event. That someone can not be Y.O.U. It should not be your mother or mother-in-law-to-be. It cannot be anyone in your bridal party. (enough of the "can nots")
Let's go back to the type of venue you've rented for a second. Emerson Fields is designed for you, the couple, to enjoy time with your family and friends. It's a gathering place. You have invested in a wedding venue because you want to host an event that celebrates your love for one another. That type of gathering is an event. You are typically inviting everyone to the ceremony, reception dinner, dancing and celebration. That makes your wedding more of an event than you sometimes realize.
Put yourself in this bride's shoes and imagine they are brand new 3 inch heels; you're going on little sleep because you've been pressed all week to get all the final details lined out, things at work/school finished up before you take a few days off, pack for the honeymoon, and you are trying to keep everyone in their places on the week of so that things go off without a hitch. The big day arrives. You begin getting hair and makeup done at 8:30am, by noon everyone is ready, you eat lunch, have your picture perfect first look, bridal party pictures and then finish up family photos by 4:45pm. Your guests arrive at 5:00pm. Ceremony is at 5:30pm. There's a few after ceremony photos and cocktail hour is over by 6:45pm. Dinner is served, cake is cut and toasts finish up around 7:45-8:00pm. Everyone loves to stay and at least see the first dance which is around 8:15pm. And who can walk out until the anniversary dance is over? So, you're coming up on 9:00pm and the dance party is just beginning. The bar is open, guests are laughing and you're trying to make the rounds to say hello to everyone who was so sweet to come and celebrate with you. By 10:30pm you can't feel your feet. You've been hosting and going non-stop for 14 hours now. Our "closing time" is 11:30pm and by that time you're ready to sleep on the concrete floor in your dress.
Moral of the story, it's the longest, happiest day of your entire life and you haven't had time to go to the restroom. Just being honest. I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble with that scenario but it happens time and time again. You wanted a day to celebrate WITH your family and friends and that's why you've rented our space. What you don't realize is that you can't celebrate WITH them if you're trying to manage the celebration itself.
Who's going to tell the flower girl when it's time to walk down the aisle? Who's going to notify the caterer that dinner needs to be served 30 minutes early because pictures didn't take as long as planned? Who's lighting all the candles before the dinner hour begins? Who's going to go find the lost groomsmen when it's time to make your grand entrance? Who's going to track down the officiant and witnesses and get their signatures on the marriage license and make sure it's in a secure location so this is all legal? Who's going to dim the lights when you and your friends are ready to have some fun on the dance floor? Not you. And, honestly speaking, as a mother of three married daughters, it cannot be your mom or she will miss out on almost everything on the day that she just wanted to experience with her daughter.
You simply HAVE to have a person to be in charge of all of these final details and manage the event. This person can be someone who's highly organized, has the timeline and names of all the wedding party, knows all the vendors names and phone numbers in case of emergency, knows where the extra trash bags and TP are in case there's a shortage, knows how to pin on boutonnières at the last minute and knows how to cut the cake when you realize your cousin doesn't. This person could be your aunt or a close friend but then she misses out on almost all of the festivities, isn't in any of the photos and doesn't get to sit and watch the ceremony. If you have someone that's uber qualified to do all of these things and doesn't care about missing out on the fun, then get that person to walk through every aspect of the planning process with you. Share everything that's rolling around in your head with that person. They need to know everything from how to bustle your gown to how to lock up the venue after the DJ is loaded up.
OR. Hire a wedding planner or coordinator. At this point, I know you sigh thinking about the expense of what it will cost, but consider your investment. You will likely spend a year or more planning this event and several thousands of dollars. Do you want all of your heartfelt planning from the last eighteen months to go down the tubes on your perfect day when you realize that you can't be in seven places at once?
Here are a couple of quotes from our wedding coordinator friends:
Tyena from D-Zines Weddings in Macon.
"D-Zines is a full time florist, wedding rental and wedding coordinating one-stop-shop in downtown Macon. We have over 20 years of experience and we are dedicated to helping you creatively, and affordably, style your wedding.
We offer multiple in person meetings to help you plan your decor. Our services include assisting with the reception set up, coordinating the rehearsal and finishing up last minute details on the day of. We are here to guide you through every step of the way. Being located in the Macon area, we are very familiar with the venue and how it could work best for your celebration"
Photos by Kelsi Kliethermes Photography
Christian from Gather & Co. Events in Columbia.
"Our passion and purpose for wedding planning is to better allow the couple to focus first on their marriage, not just their wedding day. We want to take care of the details, logistics and plans so that the bride and groom and their family can celebrate to the fullest! Here at Gather & Co. Events we will ensure that every detail from design to the day's timeline is exactly what the bride told us was her desire. We know the importance of and stick to a budget, are confident in our ability to decipher and analyze legal contracts with vendors and because of our valued partnerships in the wedding industry- we bring unparalleled service from a great multitude of suppliers. Our team is highly trained, professional, kind, thoughtful and fun. Each planner brings a cool-calm collectedness to their work while delivering, creating and executing your dream day."
I apologize if this blog post was a little too "real" for you, or if it made your wedding day sound like a lot of work, but please consider that the event you are planning, your wedding day, is a lot of work, an investment and completely worth having a coordinator help you execute just as you've envisioned it. One more heads up; don't get too caught up in planning the wedding day of your dreams and forget to focus on working towards the marriage that's to come.
Lastly, take it from a few of our brides that have used wedding coordinators:
"I did all the wedding planning, and had the gal that was my Day-of-coordinator help me along the way, putting her contact information on all the vendor information forms. Since she was involved in the process from early on, she was able to know my vision for the day, understand my husband's expectations, know what was important to us, and help us make all that a reality the day of. She also asked for us to have 2 friends be her "go to people" for my needs and my husband's needs.
The coordinator made sure the vendors were all paid (we had the funds ready for her in labeled envelopes ahead of time) and she helped me formulate a "playbook" or script for the day that we all followed. The script was even color coordinated, each vendor had its own color for any actions, times, etc. that they were supposed to take some kind of action. It made the day run so smoothly.
My coordinator also made calls to finalize vendors and arrival times the day of. I had no idea ho helpful that was until she informed me after the wedding that the cake did not arrive until an hour prior to the start of the ceremony. She handled all the minor problems we had flawlessly. It was also important that she had authority from me and my groom to handle all those small things. The last thing I wanted to do on my wedding day was micromanage. "
"Having a coordinator for our wedding was totally worth the money! She was there for rehearsal making sure everyone knew what to do and that the wedding would run smoothly. (Which it did!)
The day of the wedding I was able to enjoy the day with my bridesmaids and not have to worry about making sure things were getting done. I remember looking out from the bridal suite at one point (while sipping a mimosa) and seeing her finalizing table decorations, the cake lady was there setting up and the DJ was unloading his equipment. I didn’t have to do anything. She had it all under control."
"I am happy that we hired a wedding coordinator for a number of reasons. I had my vision. She helped execute my vision better than if I would have tackled it with Aaron and my wedding party/family. And, even though I had been in a number of weddings, she reminded me of the finite details, but didn't let me get worked up about it either.
My mom also stated many times how she wanted to enjoy the wedding and not be working."
Photo by Kelsi Kliethermes Photography