“If I can plan my wedding, I don’t need a wedding planner!” Maybe, but you probably need a wedding coordinator. Stela Parties recently coordinated a wedding that was completely planned by the bride and groom but all of the fabulous details couldn’t have been carried out without a coordinator.
During our first meeting with this lovely couple half a year ago, we knew it would be a blast working with them. It was clear that they truly loved each other, respected each other’s opinions and had discussed all the important things that need to be discussed before the planning begins…vision, budget, and guest list. They were so excited and had lots of great ideas for their wedding. They quickly engaged us by enthusiastically describing their day step by step.
They chose a small, coastal community, non-denominational chapel for their ceremony. When we visited this sweet, old New England, secluded house of worship, we found a beautifully simple, well cared for venue. The windows had mixed panes of clear and red glass and the white walls held small sconces for warm lighting. The “altar” was undecorated, leaving it a clean slate for each bride to personalize. Our bride ordered 4 canvasses, each painted with one letter to spell “love.” On the wedding day, we hung these with removable hooks in the center of the front wall. It was so simple but all that was needed. As guests entered the chapel their eyes were immediately drawn to the letters setting the theme for the day. On the left side of the “altar” we placed a small blue table (something blue) to hold her unity candle. At the door of this small church we handed out programs fashioned to be fans with dainty, handmade (by her mother) handkerchiefs embroidered with the words, “For the happy tears in life.”
The processional was complex and included parents, grandmothers, and the wedding party. With no rooms other than where the guests were, we had to carefully coordinate the processional to unfold as it was supposed to. The bride had a specific post ceremony photo in mind and wanted to be sure it was captured so as she and her new husband walked out of the chapel, we handed her a “Just Married” parasol and closed the chapel door. Anticipating a warm day, the bride had us set out a pink plastic bucket with ice waters just as guests were exiting. As quickly as they arrived, the bridal party and guests departed for pictures. We cleaned up, removed the couple’s personal touches and locked up, leaving the chapel as we found it. All of her careful planning needed to be carried out by someone other than a friend or family member who should be enjoying the day. Our coordinating efforts were well needed here.
The reception venue was as unique as the ceremony location in a beautiful, historic building on the property of Roger Williams Park Zoo. This is by far, one of the most interesting venues we have ever seen, but there is no staff member to assist with putting the event together. Any services or supplies must be secured from contractors. Our bride and groom put together a great team to provide rentals, bar, food, and music. They also spent time and effort on extra details to make their reception memorable but help was needed to carry out on the details on the wedding day.
When we arrived at the Casino, we kicked into action making sure the tables were set up according to the floor plan, then setting up a Del’s Lemonade bar for guests to enjoy as they arrived (“Love is Sweet, so Have a Treat”), a long ledge of pictures and bio’s of the Bridal Party entitled “Meet the Maids and Men”, a mantle of family wedding photos the bride and groom called “Generations of Love”, cocktail tables with photo props as centerpieces, and the blue table from church complete with guest book, cigars and personalized matches. Perhaps most important to the bride, we removed the large potted plants and fake trees and found inconspicuous places to stash them in. The room was set up exactly according the bride and groom’s plan. The guests arrived to abounding food from the family bakery and signature cocktails at the bar.
Over the months preceding their wedding, our bride and groom searched out antique coffee pots, cameras, books, kitchen utensils and tiered dessert stands. Were they decorating their home? Not a chance! These became their table centerpieces. Along with rose petals, pearls and candles, each table had a different centerpiece to be assembled exactly as described by the bride. No two tables were alike. It was a very different style from any we had any seen. But as it came alive in the ballroom that day, it opened our own minds to the uniqueness of each couple. Although the main part of each centerpiece was different, the unifying pearls, rose petals and candles tied them all together perfectly.
The set-up wasn’t complete yet! The ladies restroom had special décor including a beautiful bride doll, candles, pearls, and rose petals. We prepared the bridal suite for the bride’s and mother of the bride’s outfit changes and laid out certain items for the requested special photos. After that, we set up the favors- the “J&R Bloom Bar.” We set a long table and stocked it with four different kinds of flowers, scissors and twine so guests could make their own bouquet. Of course, there were a few more potted plants and fake trees that we moved out of the reception space before set-up was complete!
The bride and groom peeked in just before we were done and were speechless to see their carefully planned vision become a reality. This reality would not have been possible without us, their wedding planners, to carry their plan out to the end. Unique venues are becoming the norm for wedding receptions, but for the most part, these locations only employ staff to watch over the building, not to be each couple’s private wedding coordinator. In addition to the set-up, we were still left with coordinating times with the other vendors, gathering the bridal party for pictures and announcements, and keeping the bride and groom on schedule. By having wedding planners on location, the bride and groom could place the details in our hands and enjoy the magical day they had taken such pains to plan.
For brides and grooms like our latest, the “day of wedding coordination” package is the answer to a carefree wedding day. We will be there for couples from ceremony to cake carrying out their day, their way!