We want to share a personal story from our Business and Events Manager, Renee! Renee brings her passion and expertise in organization, planning, directing, advertising, and writing to Swanson Signature Events. No matter what size of wedding you have, it is so important to hire professional vendors! This way your friends and family can relax, and just be the guests (and not run around all day!) At Swanson Signature Events, our packages are designed for couples who are ready for help every step of the way. From the initial consultation to talk about your dream and vision, to the set up on the day of your wedding, we do it all!
Marcus and Amanda’s Wedding
My mom was my wedding planner. My great-aunt Joyce was my day-of coordinator. The only professional vendors I had were my caterer and my photographer. I ordered my gown from a JC Penney catalog. I did my own hair and make-up… and left all of my HMU supplies all over the church bathroom. The fact that no one thought to clean that up still bothers me. That was 1986.
Jump to 2012. My son Marcus proposes to his girlfriend Amanda. Marcus and Amanda were both in college, and they were having a difficult time planning a wedding on their own, so they looked to me for some help. At one point, I was a busy wedding singer and had helped a few people plan their weddings. I also had experience with large events, so I knew that I could help them. But there was a big problem – they lived in Florida, and I lived in Maryland. I told them that I would plan the March 2013 wedding, but it had to be in Maryland, at our church, with my support system.
Our Guests Became The Vendors
The budget my husband gave me to work with was minuscule, especially for 100 guests, but I could do it… with quite a bit of help from my friends. Our church had a non-traditional large room that could be used for a formal banquet, a worship service, or a volleyball tournament. We used curtains to create a chapel in the center of the large room giving the ceremony an intimate feel. I assigned all seats for the ceremony (like a theatre) so that every seat was occupied. I was singing in a band at the time, so they were our wonderful musicians.
My dad is an ordained minister, so he was the officiant. My great-aunt Joyce, who was my coordinator in 1986, taught the bride how to make her own bouquets with the 100 roses we ordered. A former student of mine was studying photography in Pittsburgh; she honored her old teacher/mentor by coming back to MD, bringing a second shooter, and taking photos all day long.
My very good friend Connie did hair updos all day for the bride and attendants before she and her husband joined us for the wedding. My friend Anita gifted the bride and groom a wedding cake and cupcakes. Our home became the setting for the bridesmaids’ bachelorette as well as the groomsmen’s getting ready space. My brother and sister-in-law set up a photo booth. Our neighbors provided live music for cocktail hour while our church small group members removed the curtains, moved the chairs to the tables, and set up the reception and dance floor…yes, they flipped the room. Our church friends filled so many roles that professional vendors should have filled. I was the wedding planner, and our guests became the vendors.
Why Hiring Professional Vendors Is So Important
Did it go well? Of course! But there were a couple tiny glitches. One in particular… I had arranged for a friend to be sure to send the ladies down the aisle at the appropriate time to a sax solo of “At Last,” but I forgot to tell someone to get the guys. I was sitting in the front row listening to my friend Luke singing “I’ve got the world on a string, sitting on a rainbow…” and the guys aren’t entering! The song is nearly over… the guys still aren’t in … I motion to the band to sing the song again, and I send my husband to go to get the guys.
The reception was such a whirlwind. We were lucky to have an incredible catering company, but did I eat? I think so! All I remember from their reception was sitting down for just a few minutes, while also running around making sure everything was on time. I was even the MC! At one point my son decides to take the mic and go off the schedule! He very sweetly thanked me for planning the wedding, at least that’s what I remember. He threw me such a curve ball by doing this, I cannot remember a word he said!
During the first dance, all I wanted was to have this moment for myself. I wanted to watch my son dance with his bride, and feel like the mother of the groom for just a moment. But of course, it was interrupted by a guest asking questions. My memory of my son and daughter-in-law’s first dance includes this man talking to me. I guess it made perfect sense, I had been just talking to everyone and taking care of everything, so why not?
The Wedding Day Should Be About Enjoying Every Moment
During a wedding, there are so many moving pieces. I often wished I was able to enjoy the moment, and not be the one running every single minute. Even during their exit, as they said good-byes, I watched it all as a wedding planner, and not as the mom. In the photos, I found one image of my my two children hugging a friend, and I am standing apart, watching the event, much like I do now, making sure all is well.
One of the things I make sure of when I’m coordinating a wedding is that the moms are free to spend time with their children and to make precious memories while I take care of the details. Would I have wanted my son’s wedding day to be any different? Probably not, but now I can provide a service that gives other moms the freedom to enjoy those moments. This is one of the reasons we are so passionate about having a professional helping hand on your wedding day. It’s not just about the timeline. Or the details. But about being able to enjoy the day as a mom, or a guest, and not miss a thing!