Today’s post is the first part of a three-part series highlighting some of the regrets I have for my wedding. My wedding was very much a DIY wedding. A DIY wedding was great for me for several reasons.
- I had plenty of event planning experience.
- My mom lives nearby and is retired, so she had plenty of time to devote to the wedding projects.
- I had lots of bridesmaids and friends to help.
But there were also some things that ended up being too much for me to manage while being a bride and trying to enjoy the day. In hindsight, I really wish we had spent the money on a day of coordinator. Day of coordinators are usually minimally involved in the planning process but they’re rock stars the day of your wedding. From the start of setup until the last tear down task has been handled, day of wedding coordinators are there taking charge and making sure everything goes the way you want it. They’re also there to handle the inevitable crises, like forgetting your cake knife (yep…but that’s content for another post!)
At my wedding there were a few key problems that a day of wedding coordinator would have handled. I’m going to walk you through some of these problems over the next few days. The first area I really wish I’d had assistance with is setup and tear down.
Setting up for a wedding is not an easy task, especially if your ceremony and venue are in different locations, or if you don’t have access to the venue until the day of your wedding. The venue I chose is very popular – the weekend I got married has wedding Friday, Saturday, and Sunday just about every weekend, so we couldn’t decorate until the morning of the wedding. My wedding and ceremony were all in one place, but setup still took a lot longer than I planned. My mom and several female relatives (also known as my fairy godmothers) were in charge of setup. To prepare for this, I created diagrams indicating where everything had to go. I also included checklists so that nothing would get forgotten. The fairy godmothers were meticulous. They got there as soon as they were allowed – 9 a sharp. Our wedding ceremony wasn’t to start until 3p, but we’d decided to start pictures at noon. It took the fairy godmothers the entire three hours to setup the venue – so my mom missed all of hair and makeup, and she was also late getting to help me into my dress, because after setting up in the heat for three hours, she had to shower before getting herself ready.
I really wish that my mom could have spent time with me that morning. She would have enjoyed being with me and my bridesmaids but instead she had to oversee setup because there wasn’t anyone else who knew as much about the wedding, other than me, and I certainly wasn’t in the right place to be worrying about that!
Although the fairy godmothers did an amazing job, one very important setup task got forgotten. My matron of honor spent hours making hand poured candles for the tables and to scatter around the reception space. Since they were long burning soy candles, the candles were supposed to be lit just before the ceremony, so that when people moved from the ceremony into the reception space, the barn would smell like fresh linen and be gently lit by the candles. This didn’t happen, and the candles didn’t get lit until dinner was almost done. This wasn’t really a big deal, but it’s a great example of one of the many important roles a day of coordinator fulfills.
Another woe – instead of being able to fully enjoy my evening, I spent a lot of the evening worrying about cleaning up the venue at the end of the night. We had so much stuff to pack up and I spent so much energy trying to make sure nothing was left behind. Having a day of coordinator to shoulder that burden would have made my day a lot more relaxing and enjoyable for me, my mom, my bridesmaids, and my fairy godmothers.