dc wedding coordinator

Adam and Ryan's Carnegie Institution of Science DC Wedding

Photo by Justin McCallum

Photo by Justin McCallum

Adam and Ryan signed on to work with me back when I was about to have my 2nd baby! I helped them get started - nailed down the venue and some of the major vendors, had my baby (!), then came back to help them out with the rest of their planning. And I’m SO blessed and thankful that they took a chance on a very pregnant woman. This might have been one of my favorite weddings of all time. They were so much fun to work with and I knew that their love and their wedding would be so special. Justin McCallum’s awesome photos capture every moment, big and small. They started the day with some photos around the Carnegie Institution of Science. Then after signing the license with friends and family, they had a beautiful ceremony in the round. One of my favorite details was that they’d ordered two custom gobos - one for during the ceremony (which listed both of their “maiden” names), and one after, pronouncing them, The Hunters :)

After the cocktail hour, their wedding party had some of the most fabulous entrances I’ve ever seen, including their officiant walking in to Like a Prayer, the ring bearer dancing, and of course, Ryan clacking that fan.

Dinner by Main Event Catering was delicious, as was their stunning custom cake (which incorporated their married logo) by Fluffy Thoughts.

And then… it was the best part of the night. Adam and Ryan did their first dance to Beyonce’s XO, and then announced the incredible Riley Knoxx. This infamous Beyonce performer surprised the guests with a 20 minute set and kicked off the dance party like no one else. (and BTW, she also appears in Taylor Swift’s new music video!). It was legit one of the best weddings I’ve had the honor of being a part of - I need more Beyonce in my life (who doesn’t??).

Thank you and congrats again to Adam and Ryan for allowing me to help plan and organize this awesome day! And a special shout out to Scorpio Entertainment. They not only kicked ass as DJ but had a ton of other elements to coordinate - like Riley’s performance/lighting/sound, the special logo lighting, etc - and nailed it all.

Adam and Ryan’s Vendors:

Planner: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Venue: Carnegie Institution of Science

Caterer: Main Event Caterers

Photographer: Justin McCallum

DJ, Lighting, and Sound: Scorpio Entertainment

Florist: Highway to Hill

Cake: Fluffy Thoughts

Hair/Make-up: Ebonie Jones

Performance! by Riley Knoxx

What does a wedding coordinator actually DO?

Photo by Jess Latos

Photo by Jess Latos

This week we're talking about wedding coordinators!

What to look for in a wedding coordinator? I firmly believe all wedding vendors should make the PROCESS (not just the day-of) easier. Look for a coordinator who is a clear communicator, easy to talk to, friendly, real and who also reflects your values (#loveislove folks!)

Does a coordinator only help out on the day of? NO! We are usually involved months ahead of time, to help couples with their timeline, look for any red flags in the structure and organization of the day, coordinate all details with all vendors, and do a final walk through of the venue. There's no way to do a good job on the day-of without prior planning and involvement.

Coordinators are also important because we help run the rehearsals, along with your officiant. We help line up and organize all wedding party members, talk through (and physically put them!) where they'll be during the ceremony, and cue both the music as well as the actual processional and recessional. All those small logistical details matter!

One of a coordinator's most important jobs is to make sure everyone else is doing their job! We are there at load-in to make sure the caterer, venue, sound/music, lighting and all other vendors are there on time, setting up as they're supposed to, and everything is going according to plan. Trust me, you want someone ELSE worrying about whether the DJ is an hour late (which has happened to me - it all worked out) :)

So what does a coordinator do during a wedding? I always say we think of it as a cueing system - we're always 5-10 minutes ahead of what's actually happening, thinking ahead to the next transition and what needs to happen to make it run smoothly. So why have a coordinator? So your DJ doesn't announce the toasts while the bride is in the bathroom (something I've seen happen at a wedding I didn't coordinate!). A coordinator helps all those seemingly effortless moments happen.

How to start planning your wedding

Photo by Jess Latos

Photo by Jess Latos

Talk about your wedding priorities

So you're engaged! Now what? This week we're discussing the first steps every couple should take to get started planning their wedding. First step? Talk to each other and any other family that will be involved (generally parents). It's important to set aside time to really discuss what matters most to you - your priorities and expectations when it comes to vibe, location, and the number of guests. Take notes and see what type of wedding it's shaping up to be!

Establish a wedding budget

So you know your priorities and expectations - what's the next step in getting started with planning your wedding? Budget! Everyone's favorite subject. If you don't have a planner (like us!) to help you, there are lots of sample budgets available online to help you get started. My main piece of advice is to be realistic about both what you CAN and what you WANT to spend. Budgets are also where your priorities come in handy - you may need to cut corners here or there, so decide what matters most so you know where to allocate the most funds

Create a wedding guest list

The third step in getting started with wedding planning is creating your guest list! Create a guestlist spreadsheet with your partner so you can see who you (and other family) really want to invite. You can't pick a venue before you've finalized your guest list - no one wants to find themselves in the bad situation of having to disinvite people because they won't fit, or having too few folks in a huge venue!

Wedding venue

After you've narrowed down your priorities, guest list and budget, the next step is the venue and location. Local wedding cause all family is local and you have a huge family? Destination wedding to a location that matters to you both? Your hometown? Indoor or outdoor? Consider and talk through all the possibilities and what matters to you and your family.

Hire a planner!

The final step in how to get started planning your wedding... is hire us! :) Seriously though - it doesn't have to be us, but a wedding planner is truly a wonderful resource that can help you get started - we help you navigate all the conversations (from wedding vibe, guest list and location), we help you create a budget, and we help to narrow down your options so the whole process isn't overwhelming