YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED!!! Now what... part one.

"If you fail to plan you plan to fail."

Benjamin Franklin

My ultimate goal whenever a couple books their wedding with me is to make their day the best it can possibly be.  I will do whatever I can do to make your day the best day possible. Over the course of the last five years I have had the opportunity to be a part of so many really amazing days.  There are a few things that I have learned that can help make your day better, less stressful, and ultimately more fun. So, I wanted to do a series of blog posts of things that you may or may not have heard before on some tips that will make your day everything you dreamed of and more.

So, YAY, you got engaged. All the happy face and ring emoji's around. I am sure you have virtually planned your wedding-thank you Pinterest-and are well on your way to that ultimate day.  Once you have come off of Cloud Nine-and I recommend staying there awhile, that newly engaged feeling is pretty amazing. So, take your selfies, get the t-shirts, buy the coffee cups that ask if your ring makes you look engaged. Revel in this feeling. There is nothing like it-except for most people once the big day is finally over and you can look at your new spouse and say-we did it. 

Once you are ready to start planning I want you to consider a few things in your budget. Clearly, I think the photography part is huge and well worth your investment-that goes without saying as I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER. Here is something I want you to consider though. Consider hiring a Wedding Planner or at the very least a Day of Coordinator.  

Many times when I bring this up to my couples they look at me and say: "Oh, we don't need one of those. We have Aunt Mary and Aunt Susie. They will take care of all of that."  And you know what-they just might do that.  But here's the thing. A coordinator will make your day go so smoothly. They are your liaison for the day. Most couples will spend hours upon hours planning the perfect day.  And then the day comes.  And everyone has questions. Where does this go? What do I do with this? It breaks my heart because so often my brides don't really get to truly enjoy their day and just live in the moment.  Because even after all that planning they are still planning ON their actual wedding day. 

Here is another great thing about planners/coordinators. They do all the dirty work. They coordinate with ALL your vendors. And once you start planning a wedding you will see you have A LOT of vendors.  They also help coordinate where people need to be and what they need to be doing.  In essence a good day of coordinator is like a personal assistant on steroids.

Think about this. Who, after a super fun, but long emotional day wants to actually tear everything down and put everything away. Have you ever noticed that unpacking after vacation is done is a whole lot less fun than packing to actually GO on vacation? Same thing applies for your wedding. It is a lot more fun to set up for your wedding than tear down. No one got time for that.  

I LOVE timelines. I will help you develop a timeline that will work for your day that will maximize your time with family, friends, and photos. That being said-I am NOT a wedding planner. I am not a day-of-coordinator. I don't make your invitations look pretty, I am not strong on my floral game, or even really know what color fuchsia is.  And most importantly-I am not there until the last dancer leaves the dance floor, I don't clear your linens, I don't make sure your gifts are safe somewhere. 

The second thing brides will tell me after they have family that will do that is that the venue has a coordinator on hand. And I will tell you-in MOST instances, not all, but MOST that they are not the same thing.  An on site coordinator is concerned with the on site things that go on. They are concerned the food goes out good, that nothing is getting damaged, etc, etc, etc. Not that they are not GREAT people and if you are one-I LOVE you, you make my life easier. However, they are usually not there all day with you, bustling you, getting the flowers ready for you, getting everything packed up for you.  A day of coordinator WILL. (I have been known to be a really great dress bustler, but ask me to pin a boutonnière on and I will stick you. And your flower will probably fall off and die. But ask me to take a beautiful photo of said flower and I am your girl.)

I have to admit even I was on the fence with coordinators or planners my first few years of shooting weddings.  And then I worked with Ashley.  Ashley Skeie Wedding and Event Planning specializes in helping couples invest in their wedding day and she truly invests in all her couples. Her vision to make your day special and timeless and wonderful will leave you so excited after your first meeting with her.  Her, and her team, execute a flawless day.

I remember one wedding in particular that I worked with her.  It was late-we had both been working at this wedding for over 12 hours. I was wrapping up and to be honest Ashley was just warming up. She was taking everything down off the tables, packaging it all up to make it easy to haul out of the venue, making sure the gifts were being taken care of, that everyone was getting paid. She literally took ALL the stress of the wedding day off of the couple. In return my couple was able to truly enjoy their WHOLE day. They were able to live in the moment and to soak up their time with ALL the friends and family.  And that, my friends, you can not put a dollar sign on. 

Stress can easily ruin your wedding day. Have you heard of the saying too many chefs in the kitchen? Well, with weddings this so often is true. There are so many emotions, so many opinions on what should be done, how it should be done, and when it should be done that it becomes almost impossible to get through your whole planning and actual wedding day without tears from someone. And unfortunately, I am not talking about the happy kind of tears.

So, really think about adding a coordinator or planner to your budget. They will be the ones to help you enjoy every aspect of wedding planning. 

PS. If you don't get one- I am not going to be shaking my head at you. Like I said above your day is going to be perfect. As it should be. However, if you can afford it-adding that coordinator/planner will really be worth it's weight in gold.