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Put Us In Summer And We Are….Happy Planners! Why It’s Important To Fully Understand What A Day-Of Planner Does Do Out-Of-Town Guests Come To My Rehearsal Dinner?

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Why It’s Important To Fully Understand What A Day-Of Planner Does

What in the world do “Wedding Day-of Services” mean?

We are hoping that this post will be informative an enlightening about the role of a Day-Of Coordinator at your wedding, and clear up any confusion you may have. Many planners offer quite a few wedding packages like Full Service, a Partial Service, or a Day-Of Service, but Day-Of Service is by far the most confusing term…so let’s clear things up.

Full Service Planning is pretty self-explanatory…it is what it says. Most planners will help in every aspect of planning your big day. Big details and small details, they’re involved.  For those overwhelmed, ‘Jesus take the wheel’ brides, this path is one that you may want to consider.  We will be the hand holding, dress shopping, and mother-in-law interference playing friends that you need.

Partial Planning Service has agreed upon aspects of the planning process that will help you with your big day. This service is really for the couple that needs help navigating through the timeline of getting to their wedding day, but still wants to be very hands-on with the decision making process. So now that we’ve got the definitions of those services clear, let’s move on to the confusing one.

So some questions that we hear in conversations with an inquiring couple for Day-Of Services include (we will answer these a little bit further into the post):

  1. But I have done everything so you don’t need to call my vendors because they said they would show up. Just be there to make sure that they do.
  2. I just want your team to set up and tear down and make sure everything happens on time, I’ve done all the hard work.
  3. My DJ is going to coordinate so we don’t need you to make an itinerary. Just make sure it all works out.

So let’s get down to it…Day-Of Planning Services… seriously, it is a confusing term…we know! Those of us in the wedding industry have never favored this term because we know that there is no such thing as just showing up on your wedding day. Some planners may call it Month-Of Services for this reason, but we have also found that this term causes confusion. Yikes…we can see it now…having a planner just show up the day of your wedding and trying to run with it – could you imagine??

The reason day-of planners get involved on the wedding day is because they want it to run smoothly. To do this they like to be prepared and at-the-ready (most are Type A individuals). Just showing up on the wedding day would be the exact opposite of what a wedding planner would plan to do for you…it would actually be very stressful for even a professional if you think about…and YOU don’t need that stress either! You have put so much into the planning of your wedding day so in reality you DO NOT want a “Day-Of Planner” (going off of the term) to just show up that morning and try to run with your precious wedding day. So…this means prep and lots of it for your Day-Of Service. Yes, even for the role of Day-Of wedding coordinator, it requires time, thought, and planning that happens before the wedding day.

For Day-Of Services, wedding planners start several weeks out meeting with the couple, getting contracts of secured services and items, touching base with all vendors and getting cell numbers for wedding day communication. There are many hours spent developing a detailed timeline and sometimes back-up timelines in case mother nature wants to change her mind. We have seen it first-hand…those darn nor’easters and hurricanes. Hours get poured into this Day-Of Service…for you, for your big day, and you should want it that way. Planners are here to serve you!

Here is how we respond to those statements above that confused couples say to us:

  1. You really do need us to call your vendors. We are all human and can easily make mistakes. Having a day-of planner follow up with a wedding vendor to confirm delivery time of items or services is like having extra insurance for your wedding day. We could bend your ear on how many times there has been a small discrepancy in what the couple “thought” and what the vendor was going to do (wrong dates, wrong colors, wrong location, wrong time etc.). Getting everyone on the same page makes your day simply flawless and perfect. If we don’t call to confirm and there is a mix-up with the couple’s agreement with the vendor, we would be the ones trying to fix it at the last minute (that can cause heart palpitations…trust us) and it would ultimately be on us. So as to cover our bases and stand by our professional reputation, we must connect with your wedding vendors.
  2. Yes, planning your wedding is hard work and we applaud you for the time and dedication you have put into the planning process. That is all the more reason why you want us to execute your day flawlessly. Creating the timeline and connecting with vendors, setting up (sometimes in under two hours around the same time you are getting ready for your ceremony at possibly another location), making sure events happen on time and making the evening flow perfectly without any lows, packing up and cleaning up, all take time. In fact, it’s a minimum of about 20 hours of work for us. Work we pour into your wedding because of your hard hours of planning. We promise you, you wouldn’t want less than that kind of dedication for your day-of service.  We care about your day as much as you do, and want to be aware of every last planning detail – the hours you spent on that Pinterest board finding the perfect shade of coastal blue, the lengthy cake tasting until you decided on the buttercream frosting, the e-mails back and forth with the florist until your centerpieces were just right – we want to make sure that these months, perhaps even years of planning will all come together for you on one day.
  3. We love working with deejays and bands. They are truly artists that ensure folks at your wedding reception have the time of their life celebrating y’all! Can a deejay or band put together an order of events for the reception (first dance, toasts, bouquet/garter toss)? Sure. (We will just say, as a small precaution, that it is VERY obvious when it is a seasoned professional verses a newby in the industry who, if they have to, develop the order of events. So please, please choose wisely and go with a seasoned professional because it makes a HUGE difference in the flow of your reception…but we digress). We are confident in saying that you can ask professional wedding bands and professional deejays if they would prefer having a, at a minimum, day-of coordinator present at your wedding, and they would say emphatically, yes! They need to focus on their music, and you want them to. Coordinators can walk around the reception room, they can know when a special family member (mom, dad, grandma etc.) has stepped out, and quickly get them back in the room for your cake cutting. Coordinators can know if something has happened with the bride’s dress and she needs to excuse herself from the reception for a bit which may delay the next event on a music professional’s timeline. The day-of coordinator is the go-between for communicating with the band or deejay if something needs to get pushed up or pushed back. This keeps your music professional entertaining your guests without having to focus on outside details that could distract. We know they would tell you that they would prefer having those extra eyes, ears, and assistance so they can do what you paid them to do without skipping a beat (no pun intended…okay maybe..ha!).

So to wrap this up, a day-of coordinator takes care of most every aspect of your wedding day so it runs smoothly (they don’t just set up decor and leave). This requires prior planning and coordinating with all of your vendors. It requires hours of time and energy for your big day. It takes a seasoned professional to be both type A on the timeline, and then to roll with the punches and be flexible on your wedding day. If you choose not to have a Full Service Planner or even a Partial Planner, please do not leave your wedding day to chance and mishap by not securing a professional Day-Of Coordinator. A coordinator wants to see all your hard hours of planning brought to full expectation on your wedding day!

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Do Out-Of-Town Guests Come To My Rehearsal Dinner?
chamberlin_wedding

Photography by Echard Wheeler Photography, Planning by Emily Weddings

Do all of my out-of-town guests come to my rehearsal dinner? Well, this is a question we frequently answer so we thought we would share with all of our readers what we share with our couples. The number of out-of-town guests can vary at each wedding so our response is usually tailored to each couple, but we will give you our general rule of thumb to help navigate this area of planning.

First, let’s talk about the rehearsal dinner and why couples have them. Rehearsal dinners (by the way, they can be brunches or even breakfasts. There is no hard-and-fast rule that says it has to be dinner, but for all intents and purposes, let’s call it a rehearsal dinner for this post) are usually held after the wedding rehearsal and before the wedding day. It is a great way for the families of the couple to get to spend some time together in a relaxed atmosphere before the big festivities begin. It’s a way to say thank you to those who are taking part in your wedding ceremony. The rehearsal dinner is a time where you have those closest to you together in one place to express your gratitude for their influence in your life, and for their support on this next journey in your life as a married couple.  Emily Post explains the details well here on her site.

Typically, those invited to the rehearsal dinner are your immediate family members, the folks that are participating in the wedding ceremony, spouses or dates of those participating in your wedding ceremony, and the officiant and officiant’s spouse. So this is where it can get tricky…

The average cost for a rehearsal dinner is $30-$70 per person. That can get pricey if you are inviting many out-of-town guests. All of your out-of-town friends and family do not need to be invited to the rehearsal dinner. We agree that you should take time to greet them and show your gratitude to them for making the long distance trip, but it does not need to be the rehearsal dinner. So how do you do that, you ask?? Here are a few thoughts…

2 Options to Greet Out-Of-Town Guests

We encourage our couples to list out local activities, attractions, restaurants etc. on their wedding website as well as on the note added in the welcome bag left at the hotel desk for your arriving guests. This way guests can find places to eat that are special to the area where the wedding is taking place.

Ok, Option 1-  Reserve a small room (like a boardroom or small meeting room) at the hotel where most guests are staying for a small welcome gathering after the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner (you could choose to have this at a house, but let’s face it, not all of our friends and family are respectful of time and may make it hard for you to leave and get your beauty rest. A hotel makes this departure easier because you have no choice but to leave the room after a certain block of time). The bride and groom can add this welcome gathering information to their wedding website as well as in a little note that is in the welcome bag for guests at the hotel. The bride and groom can specifically designate one hour to meet their out-of-town family and friends for a hug and a drink before they call it a night. This way those guests feel like they have had some quality time with you before your big day.

Option 2- If you aren’t leaving for a honeymoon right away, have a breakfast or brunch the morning after the wedding at the hotel where most of your out-of-town guests are staying. You can simply have muffins and coffee, but the guests will just love the extra quality time they have with you.

Exceptions

Now if you just have one or two couples coming in from out of town, by all means, invite them to the rehearsal dinner. If your extended family would be extremely hurt (and never speak to you again) by not being invited, then make sure you have clear cut guidelines on who gets invited e.g., out-of-town family, but not out-of-town friends etc. This will keep it from getting too messy.

It’s hard trying to include everyone and you never want hurt feelings. By having a special time to greet your out-of-town guests, you help them know how appreciative you are that they took the time to be there for your special day while at the same time saving the rehearsal dinner for the intimate time it is meant to be with those you have specifically chosen to take part on your wedding day.

Cheers!

Lesner Inn Wedding

Photography by Echard Wheeler Photography, Planning by Emily Weddings

 

 

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Put Us In Summer And We Are….Happy Planners!

With daylight savings just around the corner (it’s this Sunday, y’all!) , we are pulling out the flip flops and sunscreen….too soon? Well, ok, but it still has us dreaming about the upcoming months of wedding planning, warmer weather, and longer summer days. Sigh.

Sunset pictures are some of our favs. With the longer days, it’s easier to have a sunset ceremony! SO PRETTY! If you get married later on in the summer (because the days keep getting longer) then you can have your ceremony in the late afternoon, and the photographer can take you and your new spouse out right as the sun is setting for romantic pictures. Both options are gorgeous.

EWT outdoor ceremony

Photography be Eleise Theuer Photography. Officiating by Susan Turner. Planning by Emily Weddings, Inc

With the longer summer days comes hotter weather. Always remember to keep your guests in mind when planning and outdoor ceremony or reception. A drink station at your ceremony site is always nice. Your guests can get a cool refreshment and break from the heat before the processional starts. Programs in the shape of fans can serve double duty for your big day and can look super cute. A basket of parasols are a creative option for shade if your ceremony location is in direct sunlight. You can even provide sunscreen in cute soap dispensers for guests.

Bugs and mosquitoes love the warmer weather just as much as we do, but, just like crazy Uncle Arnie, they are not invited to your wedding. To make sure they stay away, we recommend spraying the lawn before your big day. Some companies offer both an all-natural solution and a synthetic solution. The synthetic spray can last a few weeks while the all-natural spray has to be done several times a month. We love the idea of the all-natural solution, but make sure it is done just days before your event so you can get the full effect of warding those pests off.

Bugs in your food? ICK! No, thank you! Some great ways of getting around this is to definitely spray the lawn (but we already talked about that). Another option is adding herbs to your centerpieces for the food tables and guest tables. Basil, mint, lavender, rosemary, lemon balm, bay leaf, clove, tansy, and wormword are a few great herbs that help the flies and mosquitoes stay away. A must!

Make sure you chat with all of your wedding vendors and get their expert opinions on their services and the wonderful, summer heat. The baker will most likely recommend fondant (it can be SO good if you find an awesome baker!), The florist will have great flower recommendations so your flowers don’t wilt too quickly, the photographer will have great advice for sunlight and timing. With proper planning and experienced wedding vendors, your outdoor wedding can be simply outstanding!

There is SO much to love about summer: longer days, extra warmth, stunning sunsets! Make sure you can enjoy every moment of your outdoor ceremony and/or reception by following some of these simple steps. Happing planning!

EWT-Cake-Shaeffer-wedding-Zoe-Grant

Photography by Zoe Grant. Cake by Jamie’s Bakeshop. Planning by Emily Weddings, Inc

EWT first look pic Macy wedding

Photo by Echard Wheeler Photography. Planning by Emily Weddings, Inc

 

 

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