Kristin and Jason were married last July at Lewis and Clark College in the Agnes Flanagan Chapel and their reception was at Smith Hall in the historic Albany Quadrangle on campus. Many thanks to Joe Riedl for the photos of the day.
We enjoyed working with the following great companies to make their day truly special:
I get a lot of requests for Wedding Day Coordination that begin: “We just want someone that can keep everything running smoothly, keep the flow going and keep us on schedule.”
Let’s break this down, then:
Keep us on schedule.
What goes into a schedule? And how will your coordinator know what it is? A wedding day coordinator will normally put in 20-30 hours of advance preparation before appearing at your wedding. This includes collecting and reviewing all of your contracts to ensure understanding of everything you have arranged and what you are entitled to; review of your wedding design, venue, and vendor policies; understanding you and your families’ preferences and decisions about what you want to achieve on the day; and speaking personally with all vendors to reconfirm arrangements. Often the coordinator will condense this information into an timeline event plan. Twenty to thirty hours. And that’s just pre-event.
Keep the flow going.
What is “flow” when it comes to a wedding, anyway? I interpret it as that magical mix of timing and logistics that makes your wedding feel joyful and unplanned, while at the same time using every moment allotted to you by the venue and your vendors to the best possible advantage.
How does flow happen? Well, it doesn’t “just” happen. A coordinator keeps the flow going by being present throughout the day and nudging things along according to what’s been agreed to and what current conditions may be affecting the flow of the day.
Keep everything running smoothly.
On the day of the event, in order to keep everything running smoothly, a wedding planner may have to deal with a multitude of issues behind the scenes. Here are the most common ones:
prep time, especially hair and makeup, not going as scheduled
transportation and parking woes
decor issues: wrong color, wrong piece or fit
missing items and going back for them
lateness of vendors or bridal party
Of course, a good wedding coordinator is going to prevent most of these from happening by doing some detailed research, outreach to vendors, and prep work well before the day-of.
Even if everything goes 100% perfectly (and the reality is, it doesn’t) a wedding day coordinator still must be constantly available to act as a surrogate host, direction-giver, traffic controller, scheduler, and people-mover. They must be on site well before you or any guests or vendors arrive, and stay on site long after everyone has departed. These duties will take 12-16 hours to complete on the wedding day itself. Not to mention 1-2 hours of rehearsal time explaining the procedures to the wedding party and family; and the little post-rehearsal errands that always seem to come up.
In sum, while your wedding day planner’s job is to “just keep the flow going and keep everything on schedule”, in order to do that, they and their staff must put in upwards of 48+ solid hours of work, both on- and off-site, that results in your well-run wedding day.
I know, crazy, right? Why would The Portland Wedding Coordinator blog about not needing a wedding planner? The plain truth is, not every wedding really needs one. Here are some signs that yours might be one of them:
1. You are very laid-back about the look and feel of the wedding and don't need for things to turn out or look a certain way.
2. Your event has very little etiquette, protocol, or time constraint
3. Culturally, the expectations of family and guests of your ability to host a party experience are low.
4. Your guest list is small (less than 40) people, and you don't have friends and family coming from out of town
5. The how-this-will-all-come-together is pretty cut and dried. Logistics are really easy, and your vendor team has all worked together before in that venue. Additionally, you are not creating a script or schedule that deviates greatly from what's been done before.
Say what you will about corporate event planning, but I am always amazed at how often corporate events stay one step ahead of wedding trends. Often, something I see at a corporate event I know will translate perfectly for a social one; and before long I see that trend start appearing at weddings.
The art wall is one of these trends. The party host puts up a large backdrop containing drawn frames, individual watercolor sheets, or even Lego(TM) baseplates and allows each guest to customize an area of the wall. Each guest installs their art piece in the display which then becomes a grand version of a guest book as well as part of the cocktail hour entertainment and a conversation piece.
Here, website design company Virb invited guests to draw what they loved, and to tag their photo on instagram in order to enter a contest. This same multi-frame backdrop could easily be used for individual wedding guest drawings or guest book entries.
At the Lego Kids' Fest in Portland, individual 5" x 5" base plates/"tiles" were provided with a wide selection of Lego shapes and colors. After each guest completed a tile, they were invited to add their tile to the larger display.
Are you incorporating any interactive components into your guests' experience? Or did you come up with a novel idea for cocktail hour entertainment? Please share in the comments!
The past week was plenty busy with our participation in the first wedding show of the year – The Art of Weddings. We had so much fun and saw all kinds of cool things that we just have to tell you about. So today's Saturday Roundup will have a lot of content, hang in there!
First off, we were so lucky to be placed near Annette from Swanky Tables Event Design. Her business centers around getting all the little details on the table just right, from linens to place cards, and she even has a candy buffet setup service! Her table was all decked out in pink and silver, and it was hard to resist the pink rock candy swizzle sticks! We can't wait to do an event with Annette.
Next up is Karren's Specialty Cakes.
They were handing out full-size samples of their chocolate orange and
pear cake and both were fabulous. I am really picky about
cake so take my word, it's great! I heard tell that Karren only does
one cake a weekend, so if you're interested, get on it! Pictured below
is the Porceline cake from her website:
Just discovered Wedding Mapper, and it looks like it could be really helpful. I’m a big fan of explicit directions and maps, so when I found this online tool I was really enthused. Definitely worth a look!
I can’t pass up a great deal on champagne, can you? If your wedding is coming up soon (or maybe even if not), and you’re permitted to bring your own champagne, swing by the Laurelhurst Wild Oats for the wonderful price of $9.99 (normally $11-12) on Domaine Ste. Michelle Blanc de Blancs or Blanc de Noirs Washington State sparkling wine. It’s made in the traditional methode champenoise, so it’s everything Champagne, except for the country of origin and the high price. And you can feel good about supporting a local Northwest business!
Or if prosecco is more your thing, a fine version of this lovely Italian sparkling wine is available at Great Wine Buys for right around $12.99 last time I checked.
Today, I called a florist with a last-minute request for a few more napkins and linens. The wedding is tomorrow, it’s been a very elaborate, complex one, and as I was going over the list I realized that a few service tables might not have linens, and I didn’t want any franticness on the day of the event.
After I made my request, the florist said “OK, we’ll take care of that for you.” Then, she added sarcastically, “The rental company is just gonna love us.”
And I thought to myself, thank goodness my client has a wedding coordinator, because she was spared that kind of attitude the day before her wedding. In my opinion, the grating remark was unnecessary and unprofessional. There was no need to comment on the trouble involved, since it is our job to go to a little trouble.
The wedding industry is supposed to be about taking problems and stress away from the client, and by transference, taking them on ourselves. That’s what we’re paid to do. If all florists did was arrange flowers, then they’d be out of a job the minute a bride saw what was available at the farmers’ market. If all wedding coordinators did was to make phone calls, then any bride could do it. Our business is supposed to provide much more than that. We are supposed to provide professional service and peace of mind.