Back when I was a theater major in college, studying to be a stage manager, a fabulous friend of mine told me he wanted me to plan his wedding someday. It was going to be a spectacular event and his Grand Entrance would have so many theatrical elements it would be worthy of a Tony nod. His favorite part was always when he would make eye contact with me, I would nod ever so slightly, then reach up to my ear and whisper, “Release the doves…”
This is the image that used to come into my mind whenever I heard of weddings that needed a wedding planner. Well, that and Jennifer Lopez feeding the best man his speech through an earpiece…oh and Martin Short running through Steve Martin’s house shouting orders in incomprehensible English. The first thing I always thought was, “I would never have a wedding that was so extravagant that I needed something like a wedding planner…” Needless to say, I was not very well informed at the time.
Two years ago another close friend from college asked me to join her event planning business as a day-of coordinator. The job description was almost identical to my job as a stage manager – except the script only exists in the bride’s poor frenzied mind and most of the “actors” have never set foot on stage before and may or may not be drunk during the performance…but basically it’s the same. Make sure all the elements have been talked about, organized, and happen when they’re supposed to.
The big surprises for me were 1) how much I was needed – and appreciated – even for the smaller weddings, and 2) how useful I could be even though I didn’t come into the picture until a month prior to the event.
Anyone who has ever been to a wedding, in a wedding, or let’s face it – opened a wedding magazine - knows there’s pressure to make yours a full-boar production with acres of flowers, a designer dress you need to take out an insurance policy on, and a couple of celebrities on the guest list. And if you are lucky enough to have that kind of disposable income, then hiring a wedding planner is a bit of a no-brainer.
Then there’s the wedding my mother thinks you should have – the one that costs $100, happens in a public park, and you and the 10 people you invited go back to your house for a BBQ. In this case, NOT hiring a wedding planner is a bit of a no-brainer. Chances are the wedding you’re planning is somewhere in between, so how do you decide? One answer is to hire a day-of coordinator. She’ll be less expensive than a full-blown planner, but your best friend when no one can find the photographer and it’s time for your first dance.
I stage managed live theater for over 15 years, so I’m accustomed to having someone in charge at all times (actually I’m accustomed to being the person in charge at all times…but I digress). In a live theater production, you wouldn’t expect the light board operator and the run crew backstage to be in sync without someone giving them their cues. It also stands to reason that the person giving them their cues cannot possibly be one or both of the two lead actors. In theater, our answer is the stage manager – she has the master plan, the contingency plan, and about eighteen hundred worst-case scenarios worked out in her head. She is the business end of the director. She is the person you go to if you have a question because she is the direct line of communication between the actors and the director, the designers and the director, and often the director and himself.
A wedding shouldn’t really be seen any differently. While a bride and groom can plan a lovely wedding, the running of it on that day is problematic if they don’t have someone else in charge of the details. So many brides spend hours upon hours slaving over the order of events during her reception, only to see it all go to pieces because no one is keeping track. Or the bride and groom get absolutely no time to visit and enjoy their day because they are answering constant questions and running interference between the DJ and the caterer and Cousin Frances who has taken it upon herself to rearrange the seating chart. (sound familiar??)
- Check in tomorrow for the conclusion …. –
For more information on Muse – A Wedding & Event Planning company based out of Portland, Oregon, visit www.eventmuse.biz. Thanks for stopping by!