Weddings

12 Things Your Wedding Coordinator Wants You to Know But Probably Won’t Tell You

As I’m sure you all know, we are in the throes of wedding season, which means I am bus-y. I am coordinating weddings pretty much every weekend this summer and as I realize in these busy times, there are a lot of things wedding coordinators want to (and maybe should) tell our brides. But we don’t because some of it sounds kinda bitchy. In fact, I am hoping that this post doesn’t piss off any of my current or past brides who may see it. But the truth of the matter is, these are tips that can help brides have an awesome wedding, and thus, I have decided to share them with you. Hopefully, it will help! (And to any of my former or current brides reading this, I love you all!)

Whatever you do, do not lie to your wedding coordinator. Think of your coordinator like your doctor. Lying to her is only going to hurt you. I have had several weddings where brides fibbed about the scope of work that needed to be done in terms of set up. I’ve had brides tell me other vendors would be responsible for set up, only to have said vendors show up, drop off and leave. I make my plan for the day of your wedding based on the information you give me. If you give me incorrect or incomplete info, I can’t do my job to the best of my ability. Be honest about what is going to need to be done on the day of so that I can insure I have the tools/hands needed to make it happen.

Trust your vendors to do their jobs. It’s really hard for wedding pros (or any pros for that matter) to do our jobs when we are constantly being bombarded by family members or bridesmaids questioning whether or not we are going to do our jobs. All the time it takes for us to reassure those family members and bridesmaids is time taken away from us actually working on your wedding. One example: I was coordinating an outdoor wedding and the day before it had rained. The chairs at the ceremony site all needed to be wiped down. I saw this immediately upon arriving at the venue and promptly added it to my to do list. The mother of the groom–at three different times throughout the set up–asked me to clean the chairs. Each time, I assured her it would get done. Each time, I had to stop what I was doing, explain to Mom that it was on my list, and then return to my task at hand. I understand that in highly emotional times, people can get a little frenzied, but you gotta trust the pros to do what we’re being paid to do. And if, for whatever reason, you don’t trust a pro, don’t hire them. Period.

If I ask for something, it’s because I need it to do my job. I have been doing this for a while now (six years). I know exactly what I need in order to have a smooth wedding. I send a checklist to all my brides a month before the wedding with everything I need from them, including two specific forms that need to be filled out. I can’t tell you how many times I don’t get everything I asked for. I’m asking for these items to make sure your vision is fulfilled. If you don’t provide me with the info I need, I can’t do that.

Family members and bridal party members are rarely as helpful as they think. This might sound harsh, but for real, sending your entourage to “help” with set up usually does more harm than good. Things they can help with: unloading/loading boxes from cars, moving/setting up furniture…..that’s about it. I don’t need a groomsman to attempt to arrange the gift table, because chances are I’m going to have to go back and redo it later (however, I am always uber grateful for groomsmen who help with load out at the end of the night!). Set up goes much more smoothly when (usually) well-meaning helpers stay out of the way.

I can’t control the elements. I am lucky to live and work in Southern California, where over my six year career I have had one wedding rained out (as in, was planned for outdoors and had to be tented as there was no other option kind of rained out). Wind is typically the biggest weather issue we face in So Cal and it can mean knocked over centerpieces, flyaway place cards, and flipped up linens. Unfortunately, there is not much than can be done to combat the wind, so sometimes you just have to go with the flow (get it?) and accept the weather for what it is and whatever limitations it may cause.

Please don’t tip everyone but me. It sucks. As most wedding vendors will tell you, I don’t really expect tips. I would say that at least half, probably more, of my couples do tip, which is amazing and I am grateful every time. However, more than once I have handed out a tip to every other vendor–DJ, photographer, bartenders–only to be the only vendor (the first to arrive and the last to leave vendor) not to receive a tip. You don’t have to tip, but if you do, don’t exclude just one person (especially not the person handing out the tips to everyone else).

Speaking of tips….I can’t tell you how many times I have had to hand over an envelope of cash to a vendor who didn’t deserve it. Part of my job is to make sure you, my couple, think the day runs seamlessly, but many times behind the scenes things aren’t so pretty. I’ve had vendors show up hours late. I’ve had vendors drunk on the job. I’ve had vendors treat me, other vendors, and venue staff like shit. And unless something really terrible happens, I’m not going to tell you about it. Ever. Not even after the wedding. I would never want to ruin your image of your perfect day by telling you the gritty details of what happened out of sight of you and your guests. My suggestion: tell your day of coordinator to award tips at her discretion. Then appoint a friend or family member to collect any unawarded tips at the end of the night. That way your friends/family can give you your money back at a later date without ruining your wedding high, and only vendors who have earned a tip receive one.

If you aren’t going to be organized, you don’t get to be picky. 90% of the weddings I work are solely day of. While any coordinator out there would tell you “day of” doesn’t just mean on your wedding day, it does mean that I am not a part of your planning or your conversations with other vendors along the way. If you are not organized with your instructions for me, or your actual stuff (think guest book, centerpieces, place cards, etc.) is not organized, then you don’t get to be picky about how things look. My general motto: You can give me thorough instructions and I will set up your wedding exactly how you want me to, or you can give me no instructions and I will set up your wedding how I want to. Honestly, both of those options are fine (I actually enjoy having control of the decor as that is the fun part of my job). What you can’t expect to be is unorganized in your preparation and super picky about how things turn out.

Prep your stuff. Again, this pertains mainly to  couples hiring day of coordinators. I am seeing your decor for the first time on the day of the wedding. When I open the boxes to set up your stuff, said stuff should be ready to go. That means tags cut off, stickers removed, items unwrapped from individual plastic wrapping, etc. Also, ALPHABETIZE YOUR PLACE CARDS. It can take an hour of set up time for a large wedding guest list to alphabetize all of those place cards. I don’t plan for that, so when it happens, it puts me way behind schedule.

If you choose not take my advice, don’t get mad at me if it doesn’t work out. I will answer any questions my brides have about planning and I give my opinion freely (when asked). They are then free to decide whether or not they want to take my advice. Honestly, I don’t even get mad when my advice is not taken. It’s your wedding, do what you want. What I am not cool with is being blamed for something that happens when I advised against the situation in the first place. One example: I always recommend that place cards and/or seating charts be set up in the cocktail hour area. That way guests have the whole hour to find their seats and there is no back up when people move from cocktail hour space to reception space. Many brides want to put place cards and seating charts right at the entrance to the reception space. If that’s what they want, then that’s what I do. But then don’t get snippy with me when there’s a line of a hundred people waiting to find their names, thus pushing back our schedule and making everything else run late. And yes, in those instances, I am saying I told you so in my head.

Get everything in writing. If you have a conversation with a vendor and they tell you they will do something extra or something not in your contract, get it in writing. And then send it to your coordinator. As vendors, we have a lot of conversations with a lot of couples, and if we promise to do something out of our normal pattern, we might forget. If I have it in writing, it is much easier to make sure you get everything you were promised.

Realize that at the end of the day, if you are married, you had a successful wedding. This is my number one motto when it comes to weddings. We often forget what the day is really about. Yes, you’re spending thousands of dollars on this party, but the most important thing you are doing on your wedding day is getting MARRIED. If that happens, then you had a good wedding. Maybe things went wrong along the way and the flowers wilted and the place cards blew over and everything was an hour later than it was supposed to be. In the grand scheme of life, none of that matters. If you find yourself freaking or stressing out on the day of, think about the real reason you are there. And let your coordinator take care of the rest ;o)

In Southern California and looking for a kickass wedding coordinator? Please check out my website and send me an email! I’d love to work with you!

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How to Buy Wedding Gifts That Don’t Suck

This is a sponsored post. I was compensated in the form of a discount, free product or monetary payment in exchange for writing this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Well folks, by the end of this week, engagement season will officially be over, and that means wedding season is right around the corner. For those of you who are new to the blog, I am also a wedding coordinator (that’s my real job) and so every so often I like to share some of my wedding expertise with you. Today we are talking all about gift giving. Typically as the bride and groom, most of the gifting is going to be TO you, but there are some special gifts that do come FROM you as well. It is tradition for the bride and groom to buy small gifts for their bridesmaids and groomsmen as a way to say thank you for all of the time and effort (and money) they put in to being a part of your special day.

Etiquette wise, bridesmaid and groomsman gifts should be thoughtful and personal, and should NOT be something required for the wedding (like matching ties or jewelry). However, I think on the jewelry front there is some flexibility–if your gals will wear the pieces in real life, then go for the baubles all day. Sometimes it can be hard to find one gift that works for all of your bridal party, and that is why I love Uncommon Goods. I have been an Uncommon Goods shopper for years now (we have an awesome decanter and glass set that we got for our first anniversary from them) and I love so many things about their site. I love that they feature artists and crafters, I love that they care about the environment and focus on sustainability, and I love that they have some kickass products. These bridesmaids gifts are presents that any girl would love to receive! I for sure would wear a California necklace all the time, and that heart shaped umbrella is adorbs (and perfect if your wedding is going to be during the rainy season).

uncommon goods

While I love all the options featured on Uncommon Goods for bridesmaids (hello literary candles, yes please!), their groomsmen gifts are even more awesome. Those are Scotch infused toothpicks y’all. I mean, who came up with that amazing idea? And while cufflinks may seem like a pretty standard groomsmen gift, these ones are crafted from old NFL stadium seats. For a football fan, is there anything cooler than that?

uncommon goods

If you aren’t planning on tying the knot this wedding season, chances are you will be a guest at a wedding at some point, and Uncommon Goods has you covered there too. Any wedding gift that can be personalized is always a good idea, since it is unique and specific to the couple. My favorite is probably the personalized whiskey distiller (I wish I would have been able to get Matt that for our wedding!), but I am also OBSESSED with the neon California sign (and yes, they have other states too, though the Cali one is the best, obvs).

uncommon goods

If you haven’t visited Uncommon Goods site before, head over right now and check it out (though be prepared to spend some time sorting through all of the awesomeness). And if you aren’t a bride or groom and don’t have any weddings to go to this year, then buy something for yourself!

Are you an Uncommon Goods fan? What is your favorite piece from their site?

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The First Steps to Take When Planning Your Wedding

So as some of you probably know, my “real” job (in addition to being a mom) is as a wedding planner/coordinator. I have been coordinating weddings for the past six years, and went full time about six months ago. I own and operate Falon B Weddings in the LA area, and have traveled all over to help brides and grooms make their wedding visions a reality. As we are smack dab in the middle of engagement season, I thought I would share some of my wedding planning tips with you over the next couple of months. These are just the basics, but hopefully they will help any of you future brides and grooms out there get a good jumpstart on planning. More detailed tips and tricks will be coming your way soon, but for now, here’s what to do as soon as you get engaged!

wedding planning first steps
1.  Jump up and down, squeal, cry, call your girlfriends, send out lots of pictures of your ring, call your parents, call his parents, call your siblings, stare at your ring for a few hours, buy some wedding magazines, drink some champagne.  Got that out of your system? Now it’s time to jump in to the actual planning!

2.  As unromantic as this sounds, one of the first steps is to determine your budget.  Who is going to chip in and how much are they going to contribute?  You really can’t make actual plans until you know exactly how much you have to work with.  Once you have the amount you can spend, work out a rough outline of a budget (note that this will probably change over the course of the planning process).  Figure out what is most important to you and your betrothed and dedicate the majority of your funds to those areas.

3.  Once you have a budget and know about how much you are going to spend, make a first draft of your guest list.  This by no means will be your final invite list, but before you can approach venues or caterers, you need a rough guest count.

wedding planning first steps
4.  Think about how you want your wedding to feel.  Decide on some of the basics.  Indoor/outdoor?  Time of year?  Formal/informal?  Get some general details figured out (make sure you include your spouse on this!).

5.  Decide on your “must” list.  Every couple with have their own list of non-negotiables.  Want to get married on your anniversary?  Your date is a non-negotiable.  Have to have your bridesmaids in pink?  That is a non-negotiable.  Always dreamed of a live band?  Non-negotiable.  Try to keep this list to two or three things or your planning is going to be difficult!

6.  Start researching venues.  Your venue is going to determine many other factors of your wedding–caterers, vendors, music, feel, look, etc.  It can also influence your colors, your date and your guest count.  Keep those non-negotiables in mind. If you have to have a live band but a venue you like has noise restrictions, you might want to consider another location.

7.  Once you have your venue picked out and reserved, the fun stuff really begins.  Now you can think about cake tasting, flowers, photographers, music and all the other details that make wedding planning fun.

wedding planning first steps
This is juuuuust the beginning of the wedding planning process friends, but don’t worry, more tips for planning success will be coming to you soon. And if you are in the LA area and want to work with an awesome coordinator (that would be me ;o)) hit me up at falonbweddings@gmail.com!

Let me know if you have specific wedding planning questions you want me to answer, just drop them in the comments!

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5 Things to Buy for Your Wedding That You Can Reuse Later

As you might know if you have been around this blog for a while, I recently left my teaching job to continue to build my wedding coordinating business (in addition to staying home with Squirt and working on this here blog). Every once in a while I will share some of my wedding wisdom here for all you lovely folks. I love working on weddings for so many reasons, but one of the main ones is how it allows me to use my creativity, and a lot of that creativity comes into play when looking at the budget. We all know that weddings are expensive.  Even if you are DIYing, you will have to spend some cash to make your big day possible.  One way to make those costs seem not so painful is to look for items for your wedding that you can reuse later on in your married life.  Some of these items may be party supplies while others can be decor.  You can get very creative with reusing your wedding items and the bonus is you will be reminded of your special day every time you see them!  Here are five items from my own wedding that I have reused:




We bought 100 of these cheapie wine glasses from Ikea because it was less expensive than renting them from a supply company (our caterer provided all of our other dishes/flatware so this would have been the only item we rented from an outside company).  Because we had so many, I gave some away and kept some for myself.  I have never run short on wine glasses (even for parties!) and I don’t really care about breaking them since they were inexpensive and already served their main purpose.

These drink containers were actually purchased by my mom and I luckily inherited one of them after the wedding.  I have used it at several parties, and even went out and bought a second one.  It is a cute and easy way to have water/non-alcoholic beverages available to guests.

This green B was purchased at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  I painted it green to match our wedding colors and it served as a focal point for our reception decor.  After the wedding I repainted it gold and it now hangs as a focal point on our living room gallery wall.  This one is special because it really reminds me of our wedding and I love getting to see it every day.

Paper lanterns are a great way to decorate for any wedding.  These lanterns also look great later on, hanging in your backyard or on your porch.  They are also another good option for party decor.

I’ve used almost everything from our dessert table multiple times since the wedding.  The cupcake stands are great for any party (and both my mother-in-law and my sister used them at my two baby showers) and all of the trays and cake stands can be used at holidays to serve appetizers or desserts.  The pink polka dot stands are actually upside down boxes.  They now live in my office and house some of my craft supplies.

As a wedding planner, one of the main complaints I hear about spending money on a wedding is that it is all that cash for “just one day”. But when you invest in items that you can reuse multiple times after the big day, it makes justifying the spending a little bit easier.




Do you have any items from your wedding that you still use? Let me know in the comments!


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