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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Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 03*24*2012 (Part 3 – The Stationery)

I’ve already shared with you the Ceremony and Details of Michelle and Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding; today I’m sharing their stationery!

I designed every page of the printed materials for this wedding, from the invitations to the programs to the menus, vows, table numbers, guestbook tree cards, candy buffet signs, and even escort cards!

I’m a sucker for matching paper goods.  I love so much to see beautiful coordinating stationery, so it was a ton of fun to be able to provide this design service for Michelle and Dave!

It all started with the invitation.  Michelle and Dave wanted something classic and a little bit beachy, in colors that roughly translated to a light lavender and turquoise.  Working from an inspiration board Michelle and I created on Pinterest, we came up with a simple custom design featuring “California” palm trees (per Dave’s request, the tall ones!).

They liked a pocketfold design, and wanted additional pieces too.  Like this custom map:

I think the whole thing came together well.

Okay, now that I’ve tortured you with my obviously-taken-at-home photographs (sorry; I really do need to make sure to always bring a copy of my couple’s custom invitations for their wedding photographers to take!), here are the “real” ones from the day of the wedding, courtesy of Bryan N. Miller!

 

I feel so strongly that printed goods help to bring together the entire look of the wedding day, so I was so happy to be able to provide all of these!!! 🙂

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel Wedding Details:

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 03*24*2012 (Part 2 – The Details)

Last time I blogged, I shared Part 1 of Michelle and Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel!  Today I’ve got more photos to share with you… This time of the gorgeous details!  (Yes, even if I do say so myself!)

My favorite ceremony detail was this fun sign that I handcrafted for the event:

On one side it said “Here Comes the Bride,” and on the other, “Happily Ever After.”

Of course Michelle and Dave wanted a candy buffet – so I created this purple and aqua beauty.  The backdrop might be hard to see in this photo (it was on a window, so it was a bit backlit during the day) but I had so much fun creating this multicolored streamer-filled wall, and I think it made the whole thing come together.  It was a total surprise to the bride and groom, who just told me to “run with” the buffet design.

Michelle got Dave an extra-special Groom’s cake with the logo of his favorite baseball team – the St. Louis Cardinals!  San Diego Desserts did an excellent job with the design!

Speaking of the design – Calculated Whisk came through as always with whimsical, beautifully-decorated cake pops!

San Diego Desserts also made a lovely three-tiered wedding cake, decorated by Diane’s Flowers Please.

And since it was a destination wedding, I thought it a totally appropriate use for my vintage aqua suitcase!

Of course…  Let’s not forget a shot of those beautiful rings!

Still more gorgeousness to come!

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel Wedding Details:

Nominated for the San Diego A List!

I just need to take a minute to do a happy dance – for the second year in a row I’ve been nominated for the San Diego A List!  It’s completely voter-driven (which means that it can be completely skewed, of course!), but it’s an honor to be on the list!

I know I ask a lot of my clients – a final wrap-up meeting, reviews if you were happy, etc., but if you have a few extra minutes and feel that I did a great job for you, please vote for me!  🙂  Thanks in advance!


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Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 03*24*2012 (Part 1 – The Ceremony)

Michelle and Dave were my first clients to hire me sight-unseen.

Usually I meet with potential clients, talk with them in person.

But occasionally, a client lives out of town and isn’t planning to visit any time soon.  So we schedule a phone call or use Skype.

It’s a scary thing, having an initial consultation over the phone.  You can’t see each other.  I mean, it seems obvious.  But as humans we’re so used to paying attention to each other in person that talking on the phone, for something like a “getting to know you” meeting, is just…  Strange.  There’s no way to gauge how you’re doing, no body language to go off of, and no way to recognize that you’re talking too much!

Plus…  Sometimes potential clients ask scary questions.  It happens.

Still, I really felt like we had a great connection, so I was thrilled when Michelle e-mailed me a few hours after our phone call:

“I had a feeling that you were going to be our coordinator, for some reason I can’t explain, but that feeling was right.  We are very ready to move forward if you will have us!”

Well, you can guess my reaction.  I think my return e-mail had lots of exclamation points in it.  (For anyone who wonders, yes, I talk like I write.  Tons of exclamation points!)

Because Michelle and Dave were planning their wedding long distance, they wanted full wedding planning, and they needed to work with someone they could trust to make everything come together.  I was honored to be chosen for the task!

Michelle and Dave had already chosen their location – the gorgeous La Jolla Shores Hotel – but we were able to work together to put together a vendor “dream team” for their wedding.  For each vendor choice, I gave Michelle and Dave the options I felt were best for their style and preferences, and they made the ultimate choice.  I can honestly say that I have never had a wedding where I worried less about how the vendors would do on the day of the event – because I’d done the “matchmaking” myself I could say for certain that each vendor would work well both for the couple and with me.  And I trusted each vendor implicitly.  They did not disappoint!

In fact, the incredible Bryan N. Miller is now the standard to whom my assistant Rachael holds all photographers, for both his talent and charm!  I think his gorgeous images of the day speak for themselves, and it didn’t hurt that he lived in Illinois while growing up (as did I; the couple lives South of Chicago, so it was kismet!).

As full planner, I also helped the couple manage their budget, designed the details for the day, created the Out-of-Town bags (which included San Diego treats like Chuao Chocolates and Stone Beer!), and attended tastings with the couple when they came out to San Diego for a visit in January (oh yes, it’s a hard life!!). By the time that the wedding day rolled around, I felt as much love, responsibility, and care for their wedding as I did for my own.  And seeing the photos of the day that I had intimately planned was as fulfilling as seeing the photos of my own!

Of course Michelle and Dave were not only totally in love, they didn’t only place a ton of faith in someone they’d met only for a few hours on a weekend in person before their wedding week, and they weren’t only totally adorable in their wedding photos.  They were also incredibly sweet and generous (seriously, the entire vendor team was treated like family!) and ridiculously fun.  I have to admit – I’m sad I don’t get to talk to Michelle nearly enough now that the wedding itself is over!

I not only had the chance to do all the planning for their wedding, I also did all the design – including stationery.  From the wedding and even bridal shower invitations to the menus and programs to the place cards and table numbers to the vows and readings, I was able to make sure that every part of their wedding day reflected their style.  I am so proud of the results.

So without further ado…  Part 1 of Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel!

I’m trying not to narrate these fabulous photos too much…  But of course this is the first look.  I love how happy they are!!!

Of course, no First Look in the world can replace the sight of your bride walking down the aisle.  These next two photos blew me away when I saw them.  I was in the back, where I always am, cueing the bride, so I didn’t see this moment in person.  But it makes my heart full to see this love.

Michelle and Dave had a beautiful ceremony by Rev. Christopher Tuttle.  His advice was straightforward and from the heart: Love each other.  A lot.

This was a real treat – toes-in-the-sand beach wedding.  Just what you’d hope for in a Destination affair.

And of course, they shared a tender kiss at the end!

I’ll be sharing more of this beautiful wedding with you soon! 🙂

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel Wedding Details:

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!!!!)

Emma + Chris’ Wedding Teasers Featured on We Heart Photography’s Blog!

This weekend was a complete whirlwind – a 200-person two-venue wedding for a friend and his beautiful bride (who is now someone I am happy to call a friend as well!)…  I’ll take the time to blog it fully when I get more photos to share with you…  But in the mean time, take a look at these gorgeous teasers, posted on We Heart Photography’s Blog.

we heart emma + chris | teaser

This wedding was a huge one for me, as I served not only as planner/keeper of the budget, but graphic designer (I love, love, LOVE the whimsical multi-font invites we came up with and I can’t WAIT to show them to you!) and even florist for the reception (as our budget allowed us to work with Desiree of Penny Blooms for the fantastic bouquets but didn’t give us enough wiggle room for reception centerpieces for 200 guests!).  Plus, I’ve known the Best Man for 13 (gasp) years and the groom and two groomsmen since 2010.  So the pressure was ON! 😉

The couple behind We Heart Photography, Jacob and Christen Willis, were absolute joys to work with.  Seriously – they were totally responsive, made sure to communicate throughout the day with me, stayed throughout the entire day (from getting ready all the way through the big exit!), and were all about getting the best shots.  And they provided a mini-slideshow on an iPad during the reception of some of their favorite photos of the day!  I loved working with them so much and can’t wait to see more of their amazing images!

Of course they weren’t the only incredible vendor I worked with this weekend.  Desiree of Penny Blooms Floral Design and I had our first official wedding together (after doing several parties and shoots!), and I got to work once again with Mark of San Diego Desserts (on wedding 2 of 4 this year!).  The staff at House of Blues was totally professional and on point – and made working there easy, even with a tough parking situation downtown.  Veronica from the 32nd Street Naval Chapel was incredibly patient and sweet, and the staff from O’s American Kitchen (formerly Pat & Oscar’s) provided a ton of yummy food with a smile!  My extraordinary assistant Rachael took on extra duties at this reception, styling the entire sweets buffet single-handedly and helping me create my $6 (yes, $6) centerpieces.  And my husband – who was not supposed to be “on duty” at this wedding – jumped in at the last minute to help us set up, and was an excellent hauler, cleaner, and double-checker!!!!

I have lots more pretty photos coming your way in the next few weeks, including a ton from Michelle and Dave’s wedding back in March…  But I had to share the link to these fabulous shots today!!! 😉

What Wedding Planners REALLY Do: Mover

Have you ever wondered HOW all the bits and pieces, the decorations and menus and favors and special details, get to a wedding?  The answer is simple: The planner.

The Wedding Planner as Mover

Venues and vendors who know me know that when I first arrive on-site for a wedding or event I “move in.”  Typically my car is completely full of wedding supplies – both from the couple and from my personal stash – and it takes my assistant and I a decent amount of time to truly unpack.  This is because part of my final pre-rehearsal meeting with my couples is to get all their wedding supplies from them.

What does this mean for you?

No worrying about whether escort cards or guestbooks will get to the wedding, or sending your third cousin to your apartment an hour before the ceremony starts to pick up the programs.  We go through an inventory of all the pieces needed for your big day and where they should be at what time, and then I take them off your hands.  Then on your wedding day I stuff everything into my car and “move in” to your venue.

It’s not glamorous, it means a lot of sweat, and it can mean that my home office is stuffed full of your wedding supplies for a few days or weeks.  But it translates to less stress on the wedding day itself for both the couple (no last-second forgotten items) and my staff (everything is centralized and organized, and the function for each piece is known).

I often joke that 90% of my job is schlepping things from one place to another.  But when those “things” are details crucial to your wedding day, it’s one of the most important parts of my job!

What Wedding Planners REALLY Do (a new series): Editor

Today I’m starting a new feature series here on my blog.  I’ve got so many post ideas that end up being so extremely long that I’m trying very hard to break them into smaller, more digestible bites.  This one came out of a discussion I had earlier this month with my newest couple (Diana + Julian).  Julian was skeptical that they really needed a coordinator to help with their wedding day preparation, and it got me thinking about all the different “hats” I wear in my function as planner (or designer or coordinator, but for this particular series I’ll be using the term “planner” to encompass all parts of the design, planning, and coordination process).

There are a lot.

So I decided to write them out.  Give a little explanation.  To give you some insight into just what your wedding planner does, on and before your wedding day.  You might just be surprised.

The first of my functions?  Editor.

The Wedding Planner as Editor

Do you remember playing as a kid?  Imagination abounded, you could be and do anything you wanted.  Possibilities were endless.  One day you had your heart set on being a rock star when you grew up.  The next it was a doctor.  The next an astronaut, or a paleontologist, or a baker who made cakes 100 layers high.  Do you remember that feeling?  That there were so many amazing opportunities for you?

That’s kind of how it feels when you’re first planning a wedding.

Actually, I know that it’s not the case for everyone (some people flat out hate wedding planning, and that’s where another of my roles as planner comes in, but we’ll get to that in a future post).  But for so many of my couples, their wedding is this fantastic opportunity to do whatever they want!!!!  Bubbles, rice, confetti, streamers, sparklers…  The possibilities are astounding.  And those are just for the end of the ceremony!

Most wedding planning journeys take a lot of twists and turns.  You might choose a theme but be completely stuck on colors, or decide on one look and then suddenly realize it’s wrong for you.  One of my former clients looked into three separate “feels” for her day.  Sometimes remnants of one theme stick around after that theme is long gone.  Sometimes there are just too many ideas to decide.  Sometimes there isn’t much clarity at all.

In my role as wedding planner, I help you to pare down all those ideas and unify all those themes.  Part of my job in the planner/designer capacity is to make sure that your ideas all tie together on your wedding day.  I try to look at your overall plans and tweak them so that they make sense.

For example, when designing the details for Emily + Jeremy’s Wedding, we knew that the very!bright! color of the pool house wasn’t going to tie in with her wedding day style.  So we created a showpiece using Chinese lanterns, and brought them into the other spaces in the wedding.

For The McAwesome Wedding, Neva came to me with a few ideas – elephants! birdcages! The Party! lanterns! peacock feathers! daisies! – and her wedding invitation (which featured a round cutout piece of patterned rice paper) and we sketched out a basic plan for her table runners and reception decor, bringing them all together.

Handcrafted rice paper centerpiece for the family's round table by Events by Elisa

For E+D’s Wedding, I remember when the bride first sent me the link to her inspiration photos in Google Docs.  There were over 40 different photographs there!  Together, we went through, prioritizing, discussing options, working to unify her disparate ideas.  In the end, we pared things down to just what was really important to her, carried the bird theme loosely throughout the day, and I threw in a couple of fun surprises.

Welcome Chalkboard

Your planner will ideally be able to help you create an overall vision for the day, cut out the pieces that simply don’t fit, and put a pretty little bow on top.  Because your planner has seen how all the elements of a wedding interact with each other on many occasions, she can tell you what will make the greatest impact or how best to make all your ideas work in concert.  But only if you share your vision with her and listen to her input – otherwise, she’s got nothing but a blank page!

Photo credits:

Almost Booked Through the Summer, and a Deal!

I am so grateful for my amazing clients!  It’s because of them that I can say that my first year of business has been an incredibly successful one.  And it’s because of them that I can say that I am almost booked through the summer!

It’s incredible, really, to think that with a minuscule marketing/advertising budget and clients who have found me primarily through referrals, word-of-mouth, and Yelp, that I’ve been lucky enough to find amazing, incredible, wonderful clients.  Clients enough that I’m thisclose to being booked solid until the end of the summer.

I have room for up to three more weddings during the first six months of the year.  Just three more weddings!  So I thought I’d run a special.

Through January 15th, anyone who books a wedding with me during the last two weeks of February, first two weeks of March, or last two weeks of May will receive a 10% discount off any planning, coordination, or design service.

If you or a friend are planning your wedding during those times, please contact me to take advantage of this special deal!

And of course, I’m still booking weddings in August 2012 and beyond, so e-mail me for availability! 🙂