There’s one person who can keep you from tearing your hair out on your wedding day, and as much as you love him, it’s not your fiancé. It’s that person with an earpiece who’s waving down traffic, orchestrating lighting and making sure you stay hydrated all while remaining cool, calm and collected. This person is your wedding planner, and unless you’re eloping, or only having 50 guests at your wedding, they are a vital part of the process.
I’m currently working with one of the best wedding planners in New England — Stephanie Diaz Eldredge, a senior planner with Cape Cod Celebrations. I can say with some assurance that I’d have thrown in the towel on my wedding long ago if it wasn’t for her insane wedding planning skills. Her company was just named a “best of weddings” pick by The Knot for 2016, and if it were up to me, they’d win it every year from now until forever. So why exactly do they warrant such praise? Simple — they captain the unwieldy cruise liner that is your wedding and get it into port without anyone jumping overboard.
I was curious what tips or anecdotes these captains might have for a couple with a wedding ceremony looming ahead of them. Here’s what Stephanie Diaz Eldredge and Jamie Bohlin, the owners of Cape Cod Celebrations, had to say:
1. Pinterest — helpful or hurtful to the process?
Jamie: “We love Pinterest to help gather ideas, get a feel for what the clients want and be able to build off of it, but when a client is looking for an original idea, sometimes Pinterest is not going to help. We actually wrote a blog post a couple of years ago called the Wedding Pintervention. It certainly is a blessing and a curse!”
Stephanie: “Pinterest is great to find new, creative ideas for weddings. It can be difficult when a bride falls in love with an idea but doesn’t have room in the budget to execute it.”
2. Speeches — what are some pointers?
Jamie: “For speeches, we recommend limiting it to three if you can at the wedding. Welcome by either the parents of the bride or the couple, then the Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor. All other speeches should be held at the rehearsal dinner. We highly recommend that the speeches are kept to five minutes or less and it is super helpful to have a theme. This is not the time to reminisce about drunken college parties, huge mistakes or past relationships. Keep it short and sweet and involve both bride and groom. And try not to drink a lot before you speak.”
Stephanie: “Try to keep away from the horror stories. Special quotes or recounting favorite moments of the couple together are great. And keep it short and sweet, five mins max, two to three minutes is the sweet spot.”
3. Vendors — what type of vendor is typically the hardest to work with?
Jamie: “I would say that it is any vendor that is running late or is messing with my timeline! So those vendors could potentially be the hair and makeup team by not staying to schedule or the photographer or videographer who decide to take the bride and groom out for sunset photos right when the entree is about to be served.”
The lesson here is if you’re meeting with a potential vendor and they run late, drop them like flies.
4. Seriously, what can brides do to minimize stress and maximize fun on their big day?
Jamie: “I personally recommend taking ‘wedding planning vacations’ — as in take a week off and don’t do any wedding planning! Or exercise like yoga or running or anything really helps clear the mind of the craziness!”
Stephanie: “I always advise brides to remember why it is that they are getting married. Rain or shine, late or on time, it’s hopefully about marrying the person who means the most.”
Man, it feels good to know I have all that expertise standing behind me. If you’re about to start the wedding planning process, I would highly suggest getting a good planner on board first thing. If you’re on a budget, consider cutting expensive flowers or lowering your head count to make room for one. It’ll be worth it when you’re not the one making calls to a vendor who’s three hours late on the day of your wedding when your makeup is not even half done.