The virgin event planner that is. That’s right – this weekend I officially coordinated my first wedding as a Certified Wedding Planner. Let me start from the beginning. I completed my course certification almost a year ago and immediately began searching for close connections who were newly engaged that would happily be my guinea pigs. Read: Friends or friends of friends that don’t want to go through the process of finding and hiring a planner but desperately wanted help.
(I apologize for the crappy iPhone pic)
The first couple I had the pleasure of working with came to me through one of my sorority sisters, whose cousin had just gotten engaged. They are your typical loud, fun, South Florida Hispanic Family: full of energy and expecting one hell of a party. Right off the bat I knew there were going to be some challenges with this event:
- The couple was working off of a very small budget as they had just purchased and were in the process of renovating a brand new home.
- They have a large family which obviously means a potentially large guest list.
- They were hoping to move into their new house as soon as it was completed, but the bride is very traditional in that sense and wasn’t having it until she was married. Needless to say – they wanted a short engagement.
- The couple has a very tough schedule to work around, he DJ’s at night and she works for a promotion company, so I knew that our meetings would be few and far between.
The bride and groom had an extremely sweet engagement story – he proposed while planting a sapling tree at their new home together – and they really wanted to incorporate a garden feel for the wedding to reference their proposal story. Originally the plan was to host the reception in the backyard at their new home with a traditional garden tent wedding. I was totally game with this idea – I truly believe that weddings are all about you (the bride and groom) and aim to infuse personal touches into every event I create. There was one major problem however – this theme confronted us with challenge number one: small budget.
Most people do not realize how expensive weddings are/can be – especially when you are talking outdoor tent weddings. In this situation EVERYTHING has to be rented – even bathrooms. Also, people tend to underestimate the impact their region of choice has on the event. South Florida is expensive. South Florida weddings are extremely expensive. With much pleading, convincing and a number of personal hurdles to overcome (for both parties), the couple found their way into a reception hall wedding. In my opinion this was the smartest decision they could have made, as it was an almost all inclusive package and gave them more room in their budget.
So the planning began! Thankfully the bride had a huge support system from her family and her two sisters spent a lot of their time and energy assisting in the planning process. Though I did not have a full planning responsibility in this event, I was able to offer more of a consultation role for the bride and her fiancé. I am thankful for her sisters’ involvement; I’m not going to lie- often times they were an extremely difficult couple to work with (brings us back to challenge 3 and 4). There were moments where I doubted my ability to actually pull this off with what I was given. Their ceremony was planned to be a full Catholic Mass at their local church (cathedral?). The reception involved a lot of DIY projects that the family was creating – including favors, centerpieces, place seating cards, menus, programs, décor – the list goes on and on. Oh and did I mention the bridal party was 14 children below the age of 7? No, I forgot to mention that?
In the end how did the garden infused reception hall event turn out? You’ll have to wait for the next post to find out (and hopefully see some photos from the event itself – and I promise it will be overflowing with images).