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What does a wedding planner do?

Erin Morrison Photography www.erinmorrisonphotography.com

At my first bridal show the #1 question I was asked is “What do you do?” Now 10 years later I am still asked “What do you do?” The term wedding planner has been used so many times in different wedding scenarios it is hard to tell what a bride & groom do, and what a wedding planner does. So I am here to lay it out for you;  Wedding Planner vs. Wedding Designer vs. Wedding Coordinator.

Kelli Boyd Photography

WEDDING PLANNER:

Jennifer Lopez first set a standard for what a wedding planner does. Everyone remembers the rescue kit strapped to her abs, and her feeding the best man a beautiful toast thru an ear piece. She was amazing, but Hollywood made her that way. Lets face facts most weddings don’t have a $100,000 wedding budget, and most weddings don’t need a 30,000 sq foot tent. Most weddings need to be planned, organized, orchestrated, set-up, directed, and finalized. This where a wedding planner thrives.

A wedding planner is someone there to help you plan your wedding. We help you select vendors best for your wedding needs; we tour venues with you to help see conflicts and benefits of each location; We help you choose the right number of tables for your guest count; We tell florists and rentals companies how many centerpieces, or linens are needed; We work with a cake bakers to make sure your cake will feed everyone and look amazing; we speak to your DJ about what kind of music you like and what should be played during the right moments; we make sure all mothers and grandmothers have a corsage and your bridesmaids have bouquets; we make endless timelines for your planning, your invitations, your vendor deliveries, and your wedding day; We help select a well balanced flavorful meal for your and your guests; we double check bartenders are licenses and insurance; we make sure someone will cut the cake; we even make you eat and drink the day of your wedding. A wedding planner’s list is endless. If I actually listed everything I have planned for my clients this blog post would never end.

I think of being hired as a wedding planner in 3 ways:

  1. to plan anything and everything for the bride & groom- for those who just want to show up at their wedding
  2. to plan help the bride and groom plan all aspects of the wedding- for those wanting to be a part of the wedding planning
  3. to plan details of the wedding with vendors which have already been hired- for those who thought they could do the wedding planning, and then life happened.

Wedding planners are great for any planning you need. Most will focus on specific tasks you need help planning. Choosing a wedding planner means choosing someone who you trust with your wedding. Who will make the best choices for you?

By the Way, the best movie wedding planner will and always be “Hanz” from Father of the Bride.

   Jennifer Crook Photography

WEDDING COORDINATOR:

A wedding coordinator has one of the most important jobs, executing all the wedding plans on the wedding day. Whether you had a wedding planner or not, a wedding coordinator is the best investment you can make. Who wants to set-up 20+ tables, put linens on, set-up 200+ chairs for a wedding ceremony and another 200+ chairs for the wedding reception, then get dressed, slather on make-up and look perfect in photographs? Not many. A wedding Coordinator takes your plans, takes your vendors contracts and oversees all of it: Setting up tables, chairs, linens, cake displays, guest card displays; communicating transportation, following a timeline; fluffing a bridal gown about 50 times; dispersing last vendor payments; go over reception events with DJ or MC; making sure the band is comfortable and fed; directing the wedding processional; making sure the mother of the bride  has tissues; knowing which song is played for whom; filling champagne flutes; transporting ceremony decor to reception; triple checking the bride & groom have food readily available; cueing the DJ/MC for all announcements: triple checking the vegetarians receive their veggie entree; packing up guest books and photos; lining up guests and lighting sparklers; breaking down tables & chairs; stuffing tablecloths into a linen bag; saran wrapping left over cake….and it goes on and on and on. A wedding coordinator is there to be your voice on your wedding day. To make sure your plans actually happen they way you planned them to.  The job of a wedding coordinator is sweaty, back aching, foot swelling, adrenaline pumped, passionate love that we adore.

Waldorf Photographic Art/ Kelli Boyd Photography

WEDDING DESIGNER:

A wedding designer is the most modern term you will hear. Not all wedding designers are planners and not all wedding planners are designers. A wedding designer creates the environment for your wedding. Think of an interior designer for your wedding. Will those linens coordinate with those chairs? Is it best to spend the money on centerpieces or on chandeliers? Where should the bar and buffet go? A wedding designer can go as far as selecting furniture for a lounge area to arranging the flowers laid on the head table. They are there to make sure the location your guests will walk into looks amazing!

Floor plans are one of the best ways to use a wedding designer. How do you want your wedding to feel? Make your self at home, mingle & dance, or a formal dinner? Arranging the tables, chairs, and furniture within your wedding location can immediately change how your guests feel. Also using certain items can change the floor plan: farm tables or linen tables, Bench seating or dining chair seating, assigned seating or just find a seat? All can change the way your floor plan is constructed.

Pinterest has contributed alot to wedding design. Some brides find exactly what they want, but have no clue what it costs. Some brides love what they see as wedding trends, but want to add their own personality. A wedding designer is able to understand what you want and like thru pinterest, but then adjust it to your location, your budget, and your personality.

I am fortunate to call myself a wedding planner/designer/and coordinator. I love making weddings happen. I love designing a wedding that expresses the bride & groom’s personalities, traditions, favorites. I love planning weddings  and bringing the wedding design to life, and I love being trusted with coordinating the wedding day, making every plan actually happen.

For more about what I do check out my website livelaughloveweddings.com and schedule a coffee date!

 

Imagine Pinterest

“Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination. Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination.”

-Willy Wonka

I find myself staring at a wall or table, and wondering “There must be something I could do with that.” I reach for a tech device, click my Pinterest button, and get lost in a world where wooden pallets become chairs, chairs become night stands, and a night stand becomes  a kitchen. It is a world that can stretch, deepen, and enhance your imaginative mind; or it can be a world that consumes you and you lose your own imagination.

As a wedding designer it is my job to take a person’s style, interests, ideas and make them into an environment that reflects one of the most important days in their life, a wedding. When I started as a wedding designer there was no Pinterest. You flipped through magazines or watched reality TV to find the latest trends. Big trends beginning in NYC or LA didn’t reach little Knoxville til 2 years later. It always fun to design for bridal shows. You could make your booth/display completely out of your imagination, and get brides to think “huh! Thats different.” It could be purple, yellow, all black or all white. It was always exciting to see what people would dream up. Now we have pinterest to filter to us the latest trends, and we get them as quick as we can. The pantone color of the year” greenery, the latest dress style: grace kelley/lace;  the trend of weddings; copper. It is all at your fingertips, no imagination required. Weddings seem to be more about replicating a photo, and less about expressing personality.

Now don’t get me wrong. I who hold a Bachelor’s in Art find myself searching Pinterest many times a day for various projects. I too have lost a since of imagination. My goal now is to awaken my old imagination. I urge you to do the same. Find the latest trends and ideas, and apply them to your wedding. Just remember you are not like everyone else, you want your wedding to be special, set apart. Use Pinterest as a taking off point. So, copper is the latest trend, how you use it is key. Are you a bride who serves a cocktail  in a moscow mule mug, or are you a bride with a sweet tooth who will fill it with krispy kreme bread pudding? Are you a spreadsheet type person who will use copper geometric lanterns for centerpeices; or will you be adventurous and copper spray paint your grandmothers teapot as a memory to her.

I urge you to use Pinterest, and discover a world of imagination. I also urge you to deepen your imagination and go one step further than Pinterest. The world of weddings can be endless, it is important not to lose you and your imagination in such a giant world.

Pinterest Wedding Trends

Wedding Imagination

bright pops of yellow wedding

Bridal Shows | What to Expect

If you’ve just started planning your wedding, are newly engaged, or if you’re in the final stages of planning, Bridal shows can be an excellent place to find all of your needs for your big day. Going to bridal shows can be better than picking up stacks of wedding magazines or spending hours on Pinterst, because it allow you to see current wedding trends in person and meet the killer vendors in our area.  Bridal shows have everything you would possibly need for your wedding day- from D.Js, to invitations and photographers, right down to the silverware and napkins. It’s also a great place to bag freebies!

Bridal shows can be stressful, crowded, and overly stimulating, but it is still worth it to go; if crowds really aren’t you’re think consider getting there when the doors open or go later in the afternoon when things should be winding down. Bridal shows are like an awesome right of passage, just like getting engaged, you never will forget your first one.

  • Wear a good walking shoes- you’ll probably be at the bridal show a good 3-5 hours, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking. You don’t want to have to leave the bridal show early because your feet hurt or because you have blisters. Forgo those cute peek-a-boo pumps for your gym shoes; your feet will thank you later.
  • Research what vendors are going to be at the Bridal show, and visit the websites of the company hosting the event; it’ll give you a concrete idea on what to expect and who to keep an eye out for.  There are many ways that vendors can advertise their business, having a booth at a bridal show is one way they can invest in, so don’t expect to see the best of the best at every show, but it will still give you a pretty good idea on what’s out there.
  • If you don’t already have one set, have a few wedding dates in mind when you visit with vendors; even if you just have it narrowed down to “sometime in June of next year”, is helpful.  Keep in mind some vendors may already be booked for that specific date if you do have one.
  •  Eat before you come to the show, but try not to come overly stuffed, remember to leave some room for cake; lots and lots of cake.  Bakeries and caterers most often will have free small samples for you to try while you’re there.
  • Bring a few members of your bridal party with you, but let your honey to decide if he wants to come or not. Most bridal shows do have special things for your man, like tux fashions, so if you’re hubby-to-be is honestly interested in going you should take this opportunity to introduce him to all things wedding, but don’t be upset if he tells you he’d rather watch ESPN then brave the bridal shows. Take your girls, have fun, and enjoy being a bride.
  • Do you have any reusable totes in your car? Bring two bags to put all those bridal brochures in. Use one for vendors that you are seriously interested in, and use another for ones that you’re not so crazy about, that way when you go home you won’t spend hours sorting through brochures. Slip in a small notepad and a pen so you can make a note of the vendors you liked the best.
  • Most importantly: pace yourself. Some Bridal shows have as much as 20 to 100 booths, take some time to talk to vendors if there’s one your interested in , ask them questions, like how long have they been in the wedding industry, or if you can see a portfolio of previous weddings they’ve worked on.

If you live in the Knoxville area, you have several exciting Bridal show opportunities coming in the next few months:

The Pink Bridal Show– August 19th, Knoxville Convention Center- tickets are $10 and can be bought at the door or online. This is one of the top bridal shows in our region, and will feature a bridal fashion show for the whole wedding party.

29:11 Event Studios– September 30th, Knoxville Zoo- 29:11 Event Studios is having a blow out bridal show, information is coming but this is definitely one you will not want to miss.

10 Tips for Keeping your Wedding Guests Happy

With wedding season in full swing, many brides forget an important element of the big day: the guests. While the day of the wedding is considered the “Bride’s day”, some thought should be placed on who is going to be there to celebrate with you. A good host should make the comfort of the guests a priority, and not the last thing on the list. Here are a few tips on how to make your wedding a celebration everyone will enjoy:

10 Tips for Keeping your Wedding Guests Happy

1. Wedding invitations should include a map with clear detailed instructions of where the ceremony and reception site is. You should always be aware of unsafe areas your guests should avoid. If the ceremony and the reception is at the same location, have a cocktail hour where guests can mingle while pictures are being taken.

 2. Guests invited to the ceremony should be invited to the reception, and vice versa. There is an exception to this: if you’re wanting to have a small intimate ceremony, it is acceptable to only invite close family and friends, and then invite a larger group to the reception. Also, if you’re having a destination wedding, you could choose to only invite a few family members and close friends and have a larger celebration later.

 3. Single guests should be allowed to bring a friend with them to the wedding- if the budget permits. If you have a larger or open wedding budget, you should give your friends the option to bring someone with them. If you have a stricter budget try to have single guests sit at a table with people you know they’ll get along with. Like for instance, if you have a sweet aunt Francis whose an expert at making people feel welcomed, that would be the perfect place to put a few of your single co-workers.

4. If you are having an evening wedding, you should feed your guests an actual meal. Serving just finger foods and appetizers are okay for a morning or an early afternoon wedding, but it’s suggested for a late afternoon or evening wedding, that guests should be served something a little heavier. If you’re working with a smaller budget there are some options. Treat your guests to a dessert bar; serve a variety of cupcakes, cake pops, and other pastries. If you’re still wanting to have an evening wedding, have your caterer serve a small plate option, or a simple buffet.

5. Think about your younger guests too: have a grab bag with coloring books and crayons available for the kids invited. You can save money by printing coloring pages online.  A wedding is good when everyone is having fun and enjoying themselves.

6. Consider the comfort of your guests with an outdoor wedding. In the warmer months, if you’re not doing tents make sure that there is plenty of shade or provide guests with a way of keeping cool and sunburn free; have a basket with sunscreen and provide bottled water. In cooler weather, provide your guests with outdoor heaters or quilts. Guests should be kept content in all types of weather.

7. Space Reception tables further apart. When you’re arranging tables for a reception, make sure there is ample space for guests to move around. Not providing enough room between tables leaves guests tripping over chairs, tables, draping tablecloths, or other guests. For the ceremony, if your wedding is outdoors or at a location where you have to provide seating, request that the aisles are wide enough for at least two to three guests to easily move around at the same time.

8. Some of your guests might require special meals. If you’re having a plated meal or buffet, have an option available for your guests who are vegan or vegetarian. Also consider having a gluten-free or egg-free option for your guests that have allergies.

9. Put thought into your wedding favors. Your wedding favors should somehow reflect the over-all feel of your wedding. If you’re having an eco-friendly wedding or a garden wedding, think about providing guests with a special seed packet with a favorite flower or vegetable. Guests love creativity and it shows that you took the time to think of them. Etsy.com is a great site to go to for original wedding favor ideas. If your budget doesn’t permit favors, take time to thank all of your guests for coming; a simple “thank you” would be more than enough.

10. Bathroom baskets are good for those things you can’t control. A guests spilt wine on her dress, another guest has a bad headache, someone else had a little too much fun on the dance floor and tore their shirt. No problem! Provide both the men and women’s rest rooms with a courtesy bathroom basket. Walk down the travel toiletry isle at Walmart or Target and pick up sample sizes of these items:

  • Chapstick
  • Lint Roller
  • Shout Wipes
  • Gum
  • Deodorant
  • a Nail File
  • Mouth-wash
  • Eye drops
  • a Hair brush or comb
  • Hair ties
  • Band-aids
  • Tampons and Panty-liners
  • Moleskin
  • Tide-to-Go Stick
  •  Hand Lotion
  • Mouthwash
  • Floss
  • Hair spray
  • Bobby pins
  • Safety Pins

One more for good measure:

11. Out-of-town guests should get extra attention. For your out-of-town guests, and for those guests arriving by plane give them the option of having a shuttle or a transportation service to take them to their hotel and later to the wedding location. Leave a “Welcome Basket” in their hotel rooms with a thank you letter from you and your fiancé (especially if your guests had to travel long distance to celebrate with you), you should also provide a list of restaurants and fun things to do while in town that you and your fiancé enjoy. Snacks, bottled water, a local map, and fruit are also good to include. For a special touch, if you’re having a wedding in Knoxville, find specific products that are made in Tennessee; include Moonpies or Goo-goo Clusters.

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