Early on I realized we wanted to enjoy our day. I'm totally Type A and prone to getting fixated on details. I also really want people to enjoy themselves starting with getting enough to eat, having people with similar interests to talk to, etc.
So one of the first things I did was ask a friend who does amazing events in Texas (Red Velvet Events) for her opinion. Another phone call and I had a recommendation for a Month of Coordinator. An email and visit later and we were sold. We chose Brittani Waldman at Dream a Little Dream Events.
Brittani was amazing to work with. Months out from our day we'd catch up over email as to what had been planned and what we had remaining. When I was struggling with finding bartenders, her Rolodex yielded a solution for our budget. Faced with space constraints and my desire to have everyone together so that no one missed anything, she suggested a new floor plan that brought everyone into the same room. She's also found ways to tweak timelines to reduce costs and worked with vendors to redo contracts.
To every bride who thinks going in that they can forgo a Month of Coordinator, rethink that decision. When we were three days out from our wedding, I'd have been a basket case without Brittani. There were tons of details that I didn't have to doublecheck/coordinate. It was absolutely amazing to just get an email or call with a shortlist of what to do instead of a never ending checklist. I loved having the time to focus on my paper DIY projects (programs, table numbers, and place cards).
Throughout the day of our wedding and reception, Brittani or her assistant were never far. I just had to think something and Brittani materialized. I never saw Brittani not smiling - she truly loves what she does.
Walking in to our reception and seeing all of our DIY projects set up and exactly as we envisioned was amazing. More astounding was that everything was neatly packed and ready for pickup the next day. We had our table numbers that I'd forgotten to photograph, our ribbon wall all neatly bundled, our name cards, all our mason jars, etc. I run events and know that at the end of a day packing up is typically the last thing anyone wants to do. So for me to see that even cleanup was handled with care was truly impressive.
In our initial budget planning we'd thought planning/coordination was an area we could do ourselves to save money. After being overwhelmed in a vendor meeting we realized having a professional would be wise. We originally selected a different planner. (I'd felt like I was drowning and went with the first life preserver.) Not all planners/coordinators are the same. Unluckily (or in hindsight luckily) for us the first planner had gotten sick. While she was sick, understandably her response back to us was delayed. We made the decision to go with a larger team with proven record to avoid any hiccups on our wedding. Another 10/10/10 bride had her coordinator fall through the day before her wedding due to illness and was left without a backup.
My advice to brides currently planning their weddings: write down how you want your day to go and how you want to feel (these are the guidelines for finding a planner/coordinator); take a close look at your budget and look at other areas (decor, bar, etc.) to save money; and choose a planner/coordinator who loves what they do, gets your vision, and is willing to work with you within your budget.