So he finally proposed, or you did, or you both decided its time… either way the excitement has just kicked in, you’ve called all your friends, they’ve screamed and oohd and aahd over your amazing ring, your mom is so excited about Umkwenyana ( son in law) and your dad is already planning the traditional wedding guestlist ( trust me, fathers can be fatherzilla’s of note if not reared in). Dates are discussed, ideas shared, you are on pinterest quicker than you can say WED, and in your head, this will be the best few months of your life..what could be better than planning your own wedding!
Things like: lunch with friends, date nights, cool afterwork drinks, holidays, time with babies, time with future hubby that does not involve arguing over font sizes and menu options, NOT thinking about colour swatches, and cutlery and stretch tent sizes…
After the appeal of the idea starts wearing off, the planning bit can get quite tedious…
Comes in me… someone who is perpetually obsessed with swatches, and ambience, and running orders, someone who gets a serious kick out of spending her weekends trolling through wedding venue after the other..in search of that amazing feeling, that ultimate venue that gives you goosebumps.
So heres the deal, there are many variations of wedding support structures, and sometimes they get mixed up. Namasaya for instance specialise in event styling and on the day wedding coordination, while others do pure planning or pure coordination services…. Have I already lost you…As a bride, it helps knowing what one or the other does. I am a wedding stylist- I predominantly deal with décor and the overall look and feel… in my posy there is the wedding coordinator, the wedding planner, the venue coordinator and the events manager… to name a few, All of us nearly always work together, but all are specialist in the specific areas..
Heres the breakdown:
Think of a wedding planner as your new best friend. This person has no other job but to make sure your wedding is exactly what you want it to be (so pretty much the most amazing best friend ever). Theoretically they are the person you call shortly after you get engaged and after you figure out a general budget (and whether or not you can afford a wedding planner, which we’ll get to in another post). Once you hire a wedding planner, you give them a very broad (or very detailed) vision of your wedding and they can then help you pick out everything from a wedding venue to caterers, furniture rentals, invitations, and even the event stylist. Depending on your time and budget constraints, you can then be as involved as you want to be. If you’re super busy at work or in life and don’t have 150 hours to dedicate to wedding planning, they can take it over for you. Or if you have time for certain aspects of it but not others, they can work with you as much or as little as you want. Wedding planners can help you not only create a detailed timeline and budget but hopefully help you stick to it.
The wedding coordinator is pretty much a gift from the gods on your wedding day. They are the woman or man behind the curtain, making sure that your wedding day goes as smoothly as possible so you (hopefully) don’t have to worry about ANYTHING. They are not the person you call after you get engaged to help you pick out the perfect wedding venue, caterer, florist, or other design details, but they will take all the hard work and research you’ve done and turn those plans into reality. You typically meet with a wedding coordinator several months or several weeks (depending on the service level you opt to get from them) before your wedding to go over your wedding timeline, guest count, venue details, devise a seating chart and day-of timeline (such as when the speeches would take places as well as the first dance and toast) They make sure the tables are set on time, the guests are seated in the right spot, the ceremony starts and ends on time, things are packed up and sent back to the vendors and that everything is running as smoothly as possible. Wedding planners usually add a fee for this service, but you can always get this exclusive to a planner.
Various venues offer a dedicated coordinator who is your point of contact for your wedding, their key task is to ensure that everything that you have sourced from them as a venue runs and works smoothly. They are not a wedding coordinator and do not run your wedding day for you. If you have a wedding coordinator, they will work closely with them to ensure all the elements of your day run smoothly. The Venue coordinator is usually assigned to you by the venue. Interaction is limited to venue arrangements such as catering and ceremony versus reception spaces. They won’t become your best friend, but they are a critical person to know.
Like their name suggests, event designers or event stylists thrive on design and décor. Some adore this profession simply because it’s highly creative. Others become event designers because they are also florists, set designers, or interior designers, and their skill set is highly transferrable to event design. These professionals all have a host of things in common, but the two most important points are: 1) Event designers have the very unique ability to completely transform a space and 2) Event designers create feel. The key way to differentiate between a event planner and event stylist is to see it as function vs expression, the one is to ensure the event runs… the other to ensure it is enjoyable. Very rarely does the one work without the other.
So.. which do you get.
The good news, the venue coordinator is generally a given, meaning you can be sure that there wont be another wedding booked at your venue on your day… the not so great news.. choosing between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator is greatly dependant on your budget. Wedding planners generally offer the coordinator service as part of their package but that can prove quite costly, whereas the use of a wedding coordinator for the actual day can prove far more cost effective, but understand that you will be running solo until that point… some of us are just NOT ABOUT THAT LIFE.
Event stylists on the other hand, are almost always going to be necessary ( And I don’t say that because I am one.. hehe.. okay, just a little bias..) think about it. Have you ever been to a great wedding that didn’t LOOK great… that didn’t FLOW and didn’t encapsulate a certain FEELING… that’s all wedding styling. Those candles on the table with the ornate centrepiece, that amazing tablecloth and those lillies on the napkins… those are all conceptualised pieces that come together to create a feeling… that is event styling. The great thing about this service is there is generally no added fee outside of the actual cost of décor, the service charge for event styling is quite a bit less than that of our planner friends.
Okay now you have the 411 ( Do people still say this??) … go forth and plan!! Decide on your budget and see who you can add to your list of necessary services. Some brides are mega wizzes and can do it all themselves… some just don’t want that added pressure… and some really just want to have someone there with them who has expertise.. Either way, your day is always going to magical if you put love in it!
Love & blissful lighting
*Namasaya offers both event styling and wedding coordination services.