We’re so excited to begin a new series on our blog, and we’re kicking it off with a bang! We’re taking you behind the scenes of our events and letting you see all the work that goes into your wedding day, and we’re starting with a feature on our amazing Lead Planner, Katie! Below, she tells us in her own words how she keeps it all together at her weddings:
First Things First...
When I first arrive at the venue, I like to introduce myself to the venue coordinator and let them know I’ve arrived. It’s great to connect with them, and start confirming all the details of the ceremony and reception sites to make sure everything is correctly set up for the day. I usually start with checking the number of chairs and tables, and then ensure the extra tables (like a welcome table, memory table, cake and favor tables) are there and in the location the couple wants them.
Make It Sparkle!
Next up is decor! I always start designing the spaces in the order they’ll be used: ceremony, cocktail hour, and then reception. If we’re also providing florals for the day, I make sure to get the bouquets, boutonnières, and corsages to the bridal party before any pre-ceremony photos may begin. It’s also the perfect time to check in with them and see if they need anything and what I can help them with! After that, it’s time to finish up the ceremony decor and move on to the next site.
Check ‘em In.
As vendors arrive, I make sure to introduce myself and show them where they should set up and answer any questions they may have. Once all vendors are ready to go, it’s usually time to do my final touches before the guests arrive. If the couple has a lot of paper items (ceremony programs, menus, or name cards, for example), I’ll place these last to make sure they don’t blow away or get shuffled around before the guests arrive.
As guests arrive, I direct them to their seats and make sure to communicate with the vendors that we'll be starting soon. As we get even closer to the start of the ceremony, I line up the processional of the bridal party and check that everyone is ready. (Fun fact: This is also when I make sure no one has their phones or wallets in their pockets, gum in their mouth, or sunglasses on!) I remind the bridesmaids to hold their bouquets at their belly buttons so their beautiful faces aren't covered, and give everyone a last note to look up and smile as the photographer will be taking photos the entire time.
Here We Go…
I signal the ceremony musician that we're starting, and then dismiss each person down the aisle one at a time to give them each their own special moment. Before I finally send the bride down the aisle, I signal the musician for the song change, and then fluff the back of the bride's dress and open up her veil to make sure she looks perfect before sending her on her way.
After the ceremony has ended, I'll help direct guests to the cocktail hour site and get the newlyweds away for a few minutes of alone time to enjoy their brand new wedded bliss (and a few drinks and snacks before the party begins). While guests enjoy the food and drinks, I'll clean up the ceremony site and remove any installed decor. It's also during this time that I'll remind guests to sign the guest book so the couple has those memories of who attended their big day. I then make my way to the reception site for final touches, like lighting candles and placing the bride's bouquet on the sweetheart table. Finally, I line the bridal party up again for their introductions into the reception.
The last thing we want is the couple to not get a chance to eat! I'll make their dinner plates first, and then start dismissing tables to the buffet (or assist the caterer with making sure all plated meals are served). It's also at this time that I'll notify any guests giving speeches to start getting ready. I'll pass the microphone to each person giving a toast and make sure everyone is in the right order.
It's finally time to party, but the work is far from done. I grab the couple for their cake cutting and show them how to slice it just right. While it's definitely the "sweetest" part of the night, it can be the trickiest. I always make sure there are plates and forks for the couple to eat their first bites, and then once the cake is cut, I like to pass out the pieces to guests. (You wouldn't believe how much cake can go home with the couple if you don't remind guests to get their sweet tooth on!) I also help get the top tier saved for the couple to take home with them and to have on their first anniversary.
The Fun's Just Begun
If the couple has any fun games planned (like a bouquet and garter toss, shoe game, or money dance), I like to remind the DJ of when it's time to start and when to cut the dance tunes back on. While everyone is dancing, I start cleaning up the remaining decor and put it all in one place so it's easier to load out at the end of the night. I always gather the couple's gifts and cards, too, and put them in a safe place we've designated together so they don't miss them. Finally, I'll pass out any wedding favors and grand exit materials (like sparklers or bubbles) to guests just before the party wraps up.
As you hear the last call, I start to line guests up for the grand exit and send the couple through once they’re ready. It's always so rewarding to see their complete joy as they walk through their loved ones to finish out the best day ever! During their entire day, I've made sure my couple is completely taken care of and has had constant communication with me to keep them on their timeline and absolutely happy. (I've also communicated with the vendors so they were always prepared for what would happen next and so that everything runs smoothly.) If the couple has provided them, I then pass out any tips or gratuity to vendors at the end of the night and thank them for a job well done. Once I'm all packed up and the venue is clear of all guests and decor, it's time to head out and get some much deserved rest.
As the coordinator, I am everyone's "Go-To" girl. Any questions, concerns, or unexpected issues are thrown my way and I make it my mission to always be 110% prepared prior to wedding day to handle it all gracefully. I will have all my questions answered, all my details organized, and know exactly what the couple wants.
It's definitely not unique to a wedding planner to always have a unique situation to address.
Here's a few of my recent ones:
I've had a bride's veil keep falling off as she walked down the aisle, so I held it in place for her on the way to the altar.
I've had brides forget their bouquets and I've run to the dressing room and back to the ceremony site before the start of their music so they could have it in time.
I've had guests unhappy with their seating arrangements, especially when their kids weren't seated with them and instead were at a designated kids table. (When this happens, I've been able to assure them that their kids could join them at their table and other guests have kindly adjusted their seating arrangements to accommodate.)
Most frequently, I handle family members, parents, and guests providing their own suggestions to change the day or event in a way that wasn't originally planned. It's my job to let them know that the couple has decided they would like things the way they've previously communicated them to me, and that it is, "Their day, their way."
No matter the personality type or problem that could arise, I make sure to come up with quick and acceptable solutions, as calmly and efficiently as possible. I have a passion for helping others and bringing people together to create lasting memories!
We Share the Love
At Marylee Marmer Events, we know that Katie's strong work ethic, attention to detail, ability to multitask, effective communication and organization skills, and her love for checklists are just a few of her strengths that will eliminate stress and allow you to enjoy your special event.
Contact us today to learn how you can have Katie in your corner for your wedding day!