Ask the Planner: What is “Wedding Hangover”?

If you follow many wedding professionals on Twitter or even Facebook, you’ve probably noticed the phrase “Wedding Hangover.”  And wondered, “Hey, wait a second, were they DRINKING at last night’s wedding???”

Almost across the board (there are the occasional DJs who feel that it’s a totally normal part of their job; I won’t get into my feelings for that here, but let’s assume you’re hiring true professionals, ok?), the answer is a resounding “NO!”

I get asked this question at least once a month by someone who sees one of my posts.  They wonder how I can do my job while drinking.  The answer is that I couldn’t – I am very sensitive to alcohol and tend to fall asleep after more than a single sip!  You would never see me drinking on the job.  But I still suffer from “Wedding Hangover.”  Like, after every wedding.

So what is it?

In short, wedding hangover is the soreness and exhaustion a wedding vendor’s body feels the day after a wedding.  Planners, coordinators, designers, photographers, videographers, DJs, and catering staff are on their feet, running around, for hours and hours on your wedding day.  We often forget to drink water (it’s not uncommon for us to forget to hydrate altogether until dinner and from then until the end of the night), don’t typically eat often enough, and ignore our own bodily needs until it’s convenient for us to address them (I’ve seen pros completely ignore cuts and sunburns for hours, work on sprained ankles, and forget to use the restroom all night….).  It’s just part of our jobs; weddings happen on a certain schedule and we need to be there to do our parts.  So it’s no surprise that we feel the effects afterward.

Do you know how it feels to be hung over?  Whether from alcohol, running a long race, or being a new parent, it’s the same.  Foggy, fuzzy-headed, ready to nap at a moment’s notice, sore and achy, with stiff joints and dry skin.  That is precisely what wedding professionals feel after every wedding.  Many wedding professionals (myself included) try really hard not to schedule meetings the day after a wedding, so that anyone they’re meeting with doesn’t get the wrong impression.  My energy level is usually extremely low the day after a wedding, my throat gravelly, and my eyelids heavy.  Sometimes I’m so hopped up on caffeine that I can’t stop talking at the speed of light.  True story.  It’s no way to really meet me.  Because I don’t do back-to-back weddings, I will not be “hung over” on your wedding day – so I’d rather you meet me when I am more like myself.

But any time anyone says, “Oh wow, what a fun job!!!” (or the downright silly of this statement, “Oh, wow, what an easy job!”) I laugh.  To clarify, I love, loveLOVE what I do.  I adore being a wedding and event planner, working with amazing brides and vendors, and making beautiful and happy things happen for my clients.  But it’s not always fun (see above, sunburns, cuts, and sprained ankles, all of which happened to me in the last two weeks) and it’s definitely not easy.  It’s a ton of work, ten to fourteen hours at a time (next weekend I’ll be working or driving to my wedding from 9:30 am until 11:00 pm; the longest day I’ve had was at a gala when I worked for the nonprofit, it started before 8 am and wasn’t over until after 1 am the next day).  It’s exhausting.

Today is the day after a wedding.  Alexis + Chris got married yesterday in Coronado.  I woke up on Wednesday with a sore back (I still can’t quite figure out exactly what I did) and have been dealing with it on and off ever since.  Yesterday I wore a brace all day (it was 80 degrees and that thing was HOT!).  While looking for my assistant (who, thanks to summer beach traffic, had to park three or four blocks away and couldn’t find the reception room), I rolled my ankle.  I somehow managed to cut my finger (luckily not enough for it to bleed, just enough to sting).  I got home around midnight and had to wake up at six for my day job.  I’m hobbling and every muscle in my body aches.  I am desperately in need of more coffee but I don’t know if I can make it to the cart a block away!

Why do I tell you all this?

Because I had the most amazing time yesterday.  My bride was stunning, my groom handsome.  The vendor team was incredible.  The details were fabulous.  I woke up this morning sore and tired and didn’t really want to move.  But I woke up smiling.  I am so proud of yesterday’s wedding.  Wedding hangover is no match for wedding high.  No drugs or alcohol needed.

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Ask The Planner: What Do You Wear?

I’m starting yet another series today…  I find that most of the posts that are partially written (often in my head, but I currently have 22 drafts sitting in my WordPress queue) can be categorized into groups.  Today’s series is one I’ve been meaning to create for a while, since I get a lot of questions that seem to be asked over and over – or great questions I think everyone should hear the answer to.  I’ll be taking question submissions via e-mail, too, for future posts…  But for now, I’ll start off with my first “Ask the Planner” post… “What do you wear?”

There are certain questions that always come up, in every consultation.  One of them is “Do you have a little earpiece, like Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner?”  The answer is no – BUT I’m seriously considering getting long-range walkie talkies for my assistant and me after being at a venue where our phones were stuck trying to get service all night long and eventually both died.  A dead phone does not a happy planner make.

Anyway, the other is “What do you wear to our wedding?”

And that’s what I’ll be talking about today.

It’s pretty simple, really.  I am always professionally dressed, generally in black.  I like to wear black slacks and a black jacket, but sometimes will switch it up with a sweater or (on very hot days) just a nice shirt.  On particularly cold wedding days I might wear a sweater and a jacket, or a scarf.  I usually try to match any colors in my outfit with the wedding colors (I love the bridal party’s reaction when I come in wearing the same color as the bridesmaids’ dresses – it also makes me feel more of a part of the celebration!).  I wear flats.  Always.

 

You see, I’m on my feet for anywhere between eight and fourteen hours on a wedding day (my average is ten and a half).  Even if your wedding, from beginning of ceremony to end of reception, is only five hours (a fairly short one), I will have been there for setup several hours beforehand and will be there breaking down/cleaning up for at least an hour afterward.

Back when I was a gala planner for a nonprofit, my required dress was a skirt and heels.  For the first month I worked on staff (during our grueling yearly summer music festival), I worked from 9 am to 11 pm five days a week and 1 pm to midnight one or two additional days, except the day of our gala, when I worked from 8 am to midnight.  In heels and a skirt.

Here’s the thing: on your wedding day, you want me to be able to bend, grab, pull, push, move, twist, crawl, and climb on ladders (and, occasionally, tables and chairs) along with walking an average of five miles per wedding day (yes, I’ve worn a pedometer) and standing for several hours at a time.  I don’t believe I can do the best job possible in any other clothing.

But my assistants and I are always dressed professionally.  The idea is for us to fade into the background (the reason we tend to wear a lot of black) while still looking nice.  The last thing you want is for your wedding planner (or any vendor, really) to stick out like a sore thumb amidst your dressed up guests, drawing a ton of attention to him or herself.  That’s why my staff and I never wear jeans or shorts during your wedding ceremony or reception.

Do you have a question that you’ve always wondered about weddings or wedding planning?  I’d love to answer it!  Send me an e-mail at elisa {at} eventsbyelisa.com with the subject line “Ask the Planner Question!”

Photo credit: Bryan N Miller Photography (from Michelle + Dave’s wedding, which I can’t wait to share with you later this month!!!!)