If you've spent any amount of time getting to know us, you'll appreciate that we encourage creativity and broad thinking. We know that not every client has spent his or her life dreaming about their wedding day and that for those who do, their dreams are not exactly the same.
We're shocked sometimes - truly! - at the number of couples across the country who feel like the wedding industry leaves them out in the cold because their ideas are too crazy, too bold, or somehow fall under the label of "inappropriate." We are all too familiar with the stunned, blank stare that receives some of our off-the-wall suggestions.
It's so hard not to fold under the pressure of that which is "normal": a white wedding dress and men in tuxedos, an even number of bridal attendants of appropriate gender, neutral colors, a religious ceremony, served dinner and a stacked wedding cake, dancing and champagne. If you find yourself bending in a direction that makes you uncomfortable, step away from the planning for a moment. Clear your head of Pinterest and think about your favorite color, flower, or foods. Listen to your favorite music and dance around in your favorite clothes. Rediscover who you were before you became "A BRIDE" and ignore the voices in your head that say that a Catholic bride can't wear a red dress or that no one likes Cajun food or that khaki and champagne is the hottest neutral combination for 2016.
... then call your wedding coordinator and we'll remind you of things like this:
Sometimes white just isn't a bride's color. Purple suited this woman's personality so much better and she left a trail of glitter everywhere she walked. That wasn't even our favorite part! She and her new husband recessed after the ceremony to the tune of Billy Idol's "White Wedding" ad she danced with her dad to "Gangnam Style."
The couple that hoops and sings together shouldn't try to fit anyone's mold of "traditional." Boho/vintage style fit these two like a glove.
... and, let's face it, sometimes flannel is a lot more practical than a pashmina, especially at an October Barn wedding in Central Pennsylvania. The flannel was a great contrast to gold sequin tablecloths and a groom's cake crafted to look like a pickup truck.
We're here to help you realize that kooky idea that's bouncing around in your head. Your wedding day should reflect you: your love, your personality, and your hopes for the future. Your vendors should celebrate your special brand of crazy, your unique combined selves. We'll find a way to express that side of you on your wedding day while maintaining some sense of decorum and elegance so as not to make your grandmother uncomfortable. And before you say that it doesn't matter if people are comfortable: yes, yes it does matter. You are the host. Your responsibility is to make your guests comfortable.... but more on that another day.
Let your freak flag fly.
What a difference a year makes.
13 short months ago, Megan and I pulled the trigger, took the plunge, started the ball rolling on this adventure as partners in event planning. Eyes wide open and facing forward, we knew it was going to be difficult and fun and exhausting and so, so gratifying.
Where are we now? This wild ride of a year was all we expected, and more. We reacquainted ourselves with old friends and discovered new ones. We cast our net for vendors a little bit wider and were delighted with the results. We were responsible for yards of gold sequin in barns and wineries from Warrior's Mark to Belleville and left buckets of glitter in ballrooms from University Park to Milheim. We experienced our first wedding interrupted by a mooing cow and some unexpected, almost crippling sleet in October. We learned that Cori should never, ever climb a ladder and that if any actual sprinting needs to be done, Megan is the one for the job. We learned that a couple that hires us 5 weeks before a wedding often requires as much time as the one who hired us 18 months out.... it's just condensed into a shorter time period.
Our intuition that all vendors are not suited for all brides (and vice versa) was reinforced over and over again, just as we had to remind ourselves that we are not necessarily going to be a good fit for every couple. We learned some valuable lessons about doing business and making people happy; knowing our own limits and when to say no. Suffice it to say that our personal strengths and opportunities for improvement became abundantly clear. At the end of the day, we made our client's dreams come true and then some. Success!
What will the next year bring? For one thing, we hope to do a better job with our social media and blog postings. People want to hear from us, and we're thrilled! We have a lot to say. Besides that, we look forward to more weddings, perhaps a smattering of other types of events, more lessons, cutting edge design ideas, and opportunities to give people a pleasant surprise.
To our clients and vendors from 2015: thank you for trusting us. We owe you everything.
#weddingcoordinator #happybirthday #weddings2016
Every wedding is surprising in some way. Katie and Johnny's wedding ceremony and reception, held on the groom's family's cattle farm, was filled with happy, delightful hurdles.
The couple was friendly and easygoing from the start. They, along with both moms, had a picture in mind of the mix of elegance, personal touches, and rustic charm they hoped to achieve in the family's working barn. It was our job to help them to realize that vision!
We quickly learned that this wasn't a former barn remodeled to become a permanent event space. Instead, it was a working barn that would be temporarily (and magnificently) transformed for the purposes of the wedding weekend.
Every gorgeous peony in each bouquet and centerpiece was grown by the groom's mother, then harvested and encouraged to bloom at precisely the right time by Allen Baney's (Avant Garden) thoughtful hand. Peonies were no small task after our temperamental weather this Spring! Each centerpiece was unique, arranged in silver bowls and trophies collected over the years for the Dawes' award-winning cattle. The stunning peonies on the cake, on the other hand, were carefully crafted by Kim Morrison, Cakes by Occasions.
The day itself was a dream: cows mooed along with the ceremony under a clear blue sky (and one planner who shall not be named jumped in shock every time she heard them). The Carolina Gents, a bluegrass band, created a playful soundtrack to a show-stopping meal (as always) presented by Catering with Style by Dan Rallis. Guests danced and clogged their way through the night to celebrate a perfect union of two simply wonderful families.
We know that the wedding industry is a tough one to navigate, even for seasoned hospitality professionals. The lingo is confusing, the budget is startling, and the possibilities are endless. Even the most organized and decisive person can feel steamrolled by well-meaning family, friends, and the media. Everyone, but EVERYONE has an opinion. It's no wonder that brides and grooms - for whom this may be the first party they have ever planned - find themselves lost and overwhelmed by choices and expectations. Many people find it helpful to hire someone impartial with whom to talk through their decisions. This is where a coordinator or planner becomes invaluable.
In my opinion, the "Day Of" label as it applies to wedding coordinators is a misnomer and needs to go away. Some may disagree, but I think the name implies that your coordinator will breeze in on the morning of your wedding and be able to flawlessly pick up where you left off ... and, you know what? Maybe she can. That said, no coordinator worth her weight in wedding cake would intentionally walk into a wedding blind. If she's doing this for a living, it's because she truly loves it and takes it as seriously as your accountant takes tax season. She knows how to make your wedding spectacular, starting with the first meeting and is going to work like crazy to make everything as smooth as possible. This process - barring last-minute emergencies and unforeseen hurdles - starts well before the wedding day.
A few terms, as we understand them:
Designer - a decorator, one who will conceptualize and execute anything and everything from tabletops, room decor, ceremony runners and florals. Often a designer will assist with favors and place cards. You may not see this person on event day but their magic will be visible everywhere.
Wedding Coordinator - "day of" - one who coordinates the details that you have put into place. You've chosen most if not all of your vendors and have begun the planning process. A coordinator will help you to make final decisions, create timelines for the day and for the weeks immediately prior, meet with you to finalize arrangements, and make certain that things are properly implemented on event day. Note: most of the brides that we work with in Centre County are interested in this arrangement.
Wedding Planner - "full planning" - one who assists in choosing all of your vendors, starting with venue; will guide you, as needed, through decisions of theme, budget, menu and floral selection, invitations, and favors (to name a few!), culminating on event day. You can be as involved or dis-involved in the planning as you feel comfortable. This is ideal for a couple who may be planning their wedding from out of town or have oppressively busy schedules.
Whichever you choose, you can expect that either a coordinator or a planner will essentially spend the wedding weekend with you, starting with the rehearsal and ending - well, at the end. They'll often work in tandem with a partner or assistant, especially for larger weddings, to ensure a smooth event. A "Day Of" coordinator will spend 30-40 hours on your wedding when all is said and done; the planner, twice that.
Don't know what you need, or even where to start? Most, if not all event companies will offer a complimentary consultation. Make a few calls, visit with people, ask a million questions and check professional references. Do what you need to do to find the person with whom you are most comfortable to lead your wedding day team.
We were as ready as we could be. The tent was gorgeous, tables and chairs were set, staff was scheduled, vendors knew what to do. Our dresses fit and no one had a visible hangover. NOAA called for light rain, on and off, until 2 pm. No problem: the ceremony was scheduled for 4 pm in my parents' back yard. We had lots of time and plenty of hands were on deck.
We think we know everything ... and that which we don't know, we'll re-post from our friends and colleagues!