I have found that when people ask what I do for a living, and I tell them I am a Wedding Planner, Event Manager and Designer, they become very intrigued, and then ask me a series of follow up questions as to what my daily life looks like. I decided to write this blog to share with you what I do, how I manage my time and why I love my chosen profession so much.
I could write this from a few different perspectives. My "everyday" is not the same as an event or wedding day. Since most people seem to wonder how myself and my team handle wedding days in particular, I've decided to try and share a bit of my world on these intense, long, yet very rewarding wedding days, and the rehearsal the day before.
Typically, we have the rehearsal the evening beforehand, getting the wedding party ready for their roles on the big day, and working with the venue and the officiant to ensure that the details for the ceremony are all set. We make sure all members of the wedding party have copies of the timeline, and understand where they need to be and when on the big day. We will have already reached out to all of the vendors hired for any kind of service for the wedding day to make sure they are also secure with the timeline, and answer any lingering questions they may have. Some weddings have 10-15 vendors, and we are basically the "ring master," making sure all of the different arms of the wheel work in tandem. The details can be quite involved, and our job is to make sure that each vendor juggles their duties without dropping any proverbial balls. Sometimes, we help plan or design the decor for the rehearsal dinner, so in those cases, we head to the dinner location to make sure every detail we have planned is in place, the decor looks amazing and the waitstaff knows about the special dietary needs of various guests. After we are certain everything is in place, we leave to try and get some sleep for our BIG day the next day. We encourage the wedding party to enjoy the evening, but also remind them that they will need to get some sleep to carry them through the different activities and plans for the wedding day.
It's Wedding Day! My alarm for these days usually goes off between 4:45 and 5:00 am, and I am usually full of adrenaline and very ready to execute as flawless of a day as possible! I check and re-check my emergency kit, which has everything from a first aid kit, super glue, double sided tape and pretty much anything else you could think of that might become necessary during wedding preparations to ensure I have everything at the ready, should any of it become necessary. We load the car with different decor pieces the couple has entrusted us with and pack a change of clothes to change into for the ceremony. My drink of choice in the mornings, and well to be honest, most of the time, is Diet Coke. I make sure I have enough Diet Coke in my system and some to go to carry me through the busy morning, and we head out! Most of the time the bride and the girls in the wedding party have their hair and makeup done at the venue where they are getting married. If that's the case, we head to the venue, and will be the first to arrive. We make sure the bridal suite is ready for the hair and makeup team, and arrange for coffee and water to be available for the girls to have as they get "beautified!"
We then like to take the bridal gown out of the garment bag to "air out," so we can determine if we need to do any touch up steaming to it. We also start touch up steaming on the bridesmaids dresses, and the suits or tuxes for the guys. Once the hair and makeup team arrives, we make sure they stick to the times we have laid out for them in the master timeline, to ensure that everything remains on schedule.
As the girls get "all done up," we head to the reception room to start setting up any decor the bride and groom have given us, and we start setting tables. Depending on each event and venue, the couple might have chosen to rent linens from another company, if they didn't want to go with the standard linens included with the venue. If this is the case, we make sure all of the rented linens are delivered on time, and sometimes other rented items can include: a dance floor, upgraded chairs, uplighting, string lighting or Edison bulbs and upgraded chargers and/or place settings. Once we are sure everything has been delivered, and we have everything on the invoice(s), we begin to drop the linens on the tables - taking care to make sure they are not overly wrinkled. If so, we start steaming the tablecloths and napkins. We then set the place settings the way we know they want them, and prepare for the flowers and centerpieces to be delivered. It's important for us to have the linens down and place settings in place before the florist arrives, so they can set up the various centerpieces on the different numbered tables per the design plan we have previously created with the couple and the florist together.
At this point in the day, we check again on the hair and makeup timing, and then begin receiving deliveries from the bakery of record, with the wedding cake or other treats for a sweet bar. We also anticipate the arrival of the caterer, (if the venue is not responsible for catering) and make sure the kitchen is ready for them to work out of. We also anticipate the arrival of the photographer and the videographer (if contracted), and make sure we have their "shot lists," so we can help keep them on time, and to ensure they get the most important shots the couple has indicated they must have. Some couples are very traditional, and do not want to see each other before the ceremony. Others are opting to have a "first look," where the couple is guided to meet in a location and surprise each other all dressed up in their wedding finery, and the emotional moment is captured by the photographer and the videographer. Usually, if a couple does opt to go with a first look, then we plan for the photographer/videographer to take group Wedding Party pictures before the ceremony, which does give the bride and groom time to enjoy their cocktail hour, when traditionally they would be utilizing that time to take the Wedding Party pictures, as they would have not seen each other beforehand.
We are at about forty-five minutes before the ceremony, and I make sure the DJ or musicians have arrived and complete their sound-check, after they completed set-up. We make sure the music begins about twenty minutes before the scheduled ceremony, and then I line up the wedding party to get ready to walk down the aisle! While the ceremony takes place, we make sure the servers and staff are ready to go with the cocktail hour drinks and food. We also light last minute candles for cocktail hour, and prepare a special plate and drinks for the bride and groom to enjoy while they have their formal pictures done, if they selected to go the traditional route, and not see each other before the ceremony, so they do not miss out on the offerings during this time! The ceremony is complete, Congratulations to the new couple! We are right there to usher guests into cocktail hour, and to gather the wedding party and immediate family for more formal pictures. We deliver the food and drinks to the bride and groom, and then head back to ensure everything is running smoothly for the guests. Also during cocktail hour, we make sure the kitchen staff or caterer is getting appetizers out promptly, and that the bar is not being overwhelmed with long lines. If the lines look to be too long, we will take drink orders ourselves, and give them to another bar that might not be open yet, but is willing to work with us!
The next big moment is the introduction of the wedding party into the reception. At this point, the reception room will have been open for fifteen to twenty minutes, to allow the guests the opportunity to locate their escort cards or to check their seating assignment on a specialized board created for the reception. Of course, we will be there to assist those that might have trouble finding their assigned table. We will make sure the DJ/Emcee has the correct order and pronunciation of each wedding party member, and the party begins!
Typically, our next job is to make sure that the "standard dances" take place with the correct music. This includes the first dance with the newly married couple, the father/daughter dance and the mother/son dance. After this point, if it is a plated dinner. the kitchen staff or the caterer will typically serve the salad course. Once the dances are concluded, if it is a plated dinner, we instruct the kitchen or caterer to begin service of the main entrees. Of course, we make sure the bride and groom are served first. If the couple decides to have a buffet style dinner, we will personally invite each table to the buffet, so that there are no long lines, and that the kitchen staff or caterer is able to keep the food fresh, hot and coming out regularly for the guests.
After dinner, couples usually like to have their champagne toast, followed by the cake cutting. We make it a policy to ask each of our couples what their preferences are in regards to other couples giving toasts. Some couples welcome toasts from the best man, the maid of honor and their parents, and they don't wish to take up more time on toasts from other guests. If that is the case, we make sure the DJ/Emcee is aware of this situation, and the DJ/Emcee will then divert the attention of the guests to start eating cake and dancing! If the couple would like to allow spontaneous toasts from the guests, it is our job to allow the toasts to happen, but not get out of control. No one wants to hear a person who might have had one cocktail too many before taking control of the microphone! With experience, we know that the bride and groom both get unnecessarily embarrassed from the "over-toasted" toaster, and so we do our best to keep this possible scenario in check! Usually at this point, we are making sure the event staff is clearing tables to allow the guests to enjoy their cake and champagne, and we prepare for the bouquet and garter toss. This is a tradition that we find people either love or they hate. If they love it, we make sure to work with the DJ/Emcee to ensure the music the couple has selected for the tradition is ready, and we get things going!
Once the bouquet and garter toss are complete, I like for my couples to have the opportunity to just cut loose with their guests and dance until their hearts are content. At this point, we are working with the waitstaff to ensure all the place settings are clear, and we ask that the kitchen box up any leftover food that they can for the bride and groom to enjoy later. We understand that they likely will not eat during the reception, so we like to make sure they have some great food to enjoy later- if they wish. While the guests are dancing, we take it upon ourselves to make sure we gather all of the cards/gifts the guests have brought to the reception, and give them to a designated family member or member of the wedding party, established prior to the event by the bride and groom. We do NOT want to take any chances that the bride and groom might forget any of their cards or gifts!!
It's about 45 minutes until the send-off, so we are busy making sure the specific mode of transportation or get-away car is on their way, to be in place exactly when the reception ends. We begin to go through the rooms the bridesmaids and groomsmen have gotten ready in are free of any personal items from the wedding party, and if there is something we need to pack up - we do just that. When we are about thirty minutes before the send-off, we ask the DJ/Emcee to announce the "last call" for the bar. At the same time, we are surveying the crowd, and trying to determine if there is anyone who might need us to call an UBER or cab service. We do not let anyone leave that is supposed to be driving and appears to be impaired. The DJ plays the last dance, and we are ready to hand out favors, and/or sparklers or bubbles for the send off! The last dance ends, we hand out our goodies, and everyone is on their way!!! Congratulations, to the new Mr. and Mrs.! Congratulations, to Diamonds and Pearls Events, and the team of vendors that have helped us throughout the day! We execute send off, and make sure everyone leaves safely.
It's vendor load-out time! This is when the florist will come back to break down any arches or structures created for the event, the DJ breaks down, the rental company comes back to tear down rented dance floors, bars and to collect rented place settings and linens. We are there to help, and to ensure the venue is left in good shape, and that nothing is out of place. Load-out can take anywhere between one hour to an hour and a half. We are very thorough! Once everything has been triple checked, and we know all vendors have loaded-out, we do a final check of the venue, and load our car with items that we have brought from our personal collection. It's time to go. That's a wrap! We mentally wish the couple well, and head home, to get some rest for another day of planning another wedding the next day.
If you made it this far in the blog, thank you! We wanted to make sure we could be as authentic as possible with this entry. With that said, there's always something that is a bit different, or could need more attention with each wedding. We know this, and thankfully are always prepared for anything that might come our way. We'd love to help you or your loved one plan their big day! Please contact us at 904-412-4981, or by email at Morgan@DiamondsandPearlsEvents.com, to schedule a complimentary consultation!! Happy Planning!!
All the best,
Diamonds and Pearls Events