Last week, after confirming that our florist had received our final payment, I asked her (as I ask all of our vendors) if she needs anything else from me in advance of our big day. Her response made me smile.

"No. I don't worry about you like I worry about most brides." 
Me: "Did you receive the timeline of our day?"

That, she replied, is why she doesn't worry about me. The timeline accounts for every little thing: hair and makeup, flower pinning, toasts. I've edited it several times based on feedback from our vendors, whom I've relied on to tell me if we are allotting enough time for our ceremony, for first look photography, for all of these things I've never planned before.

As an example, I had been planning to get to the venue much closer to our start time, until I was reminded by one of my wedding planners that I'll need to be inside and out of sight of early bird guests. Valid!

I am privy to invaluable advice, know-how and some very fitting accessories for our wedding because I've hired Kimberly Lehman from Love, Laughter & Elegance, Wedding and Event Planning out of Massillon and Meredith Masaveg from Rain Wedding Planning in Painesville. They answer my questions, Kim has sent me wedding ideas for months now and they both will report the morning of to decorate the venue.

Here's Kim, at a few weddings she helped coordinate. She did seven last year, and is available to help brides in all of Ohio and contiguous states.
"I've been obsessed with weddings since I was about 12," Kim said. "All I had to do was watch Princess Diana get married. That was it, that's all it took for me to get hooked. I guess I believe in the fairy tale for everyone."

In exchange for a Story of Your Life, created by the company I co-own with my sister, Kim and Meredith are Steven's and my wedding planners. Kim will serve as what the industry calls our "day-of coordinator," and Meredith will help decorate the venue and lend us some cute, rustic cupcake towers, among other things. I've provided Kim and Meredith with a drawing of how we want the venue site arranged and a description of our centerpieces, and they will decorate the ceremony and reception sites, using the jars my mom and I made and a lengthy list of other items Kim will pick up from us soon. She also will deliver to each of our vendors remaining payments that need made, manage any issues and hiccups that may arise and tear down at the end of the night.

I am very much a do-it-myself type of woman because I would rather do things on my own rather than badger others to do them the way I want them done. But, I can tell I can trust Kim. She is extremely detail-oriented. She took notes during our recent venue visit. She's collected all of our vendor contracts from me, plus the names and numbers of our bridesmaids, groomsmen and mothers.

I know there are many brides who don't hire planners. But I have my reasons for hiring Kim and Meredith. 

1) I didn't want my family and friends to lift a finger to execute our day. I wanted them to be our guests, to experience that magic I've felt walking into a venue and seeing the finished space without having made it the finished space.

Kim actually told me she felt bad after she put her mom to work on her wedding day 14 years ago. "When I saw my mom running around the day of the wedding, trying to keep tabs on the caterer, on the bridal party, I thought, 'This isn't fair to her,'" she recalled. "My mom should be beaming as the mother of the bride, enjoying every moment. This wasn't fair to her."

2) I wanted someone who would handle any issues that arise. Someone running late? I don't want to have to deal with it. Selfish as it might sound, I want to savor every moment of this day, not fuss over the details. People tell me it flies by, so I don't want to waste time worrying.

3) Wedding planners have know-how, experience in tackling issues in a graceful, effective manner, wedding materials a bride can borrow and industry connections. The shepherds hooks from which we're hanging jars of flowers along the aisle will be borrowed from Meredith, too.

Here's what a shepherds hook looks like (courtesy of The Knot):
Getting married this year, or even this month? Both Kim and Meredith offer day-of coordination separate from full and partial wedding planning services, so it's not too late to hire a helping hand. 

Kim's one-woman business was founded in 2000. She prides herself on her ability to organize and to keep people on schedule. And she's thoughtful, too. When we had our planning meeting a few months ago, she brought me a pretty, bright plant. It survives on my patio, despite my inability to remember to water it.
I asked both Kim and Meredith for their wedding planning advice, so I could share it. Kim stressed the need to be organized and to delegate where possible.

"The best kind of wedding is one from the heart," Meredith told me. "The worst kind of wedding is when you forget that it comes down to two little words -- 'I do' -- when you worry that you have to have the best of everything and if something doesn't go right, your day is ruined. In my book, everything else is just a party. Mission accomplished if you both say, 'I do.'"

Meredith founded Rain Wedding Planning in 2008. The company employs four, including her. She named it Rain because, "as the old wives' tale goes, rain on your wedding is good luck."

Tangent time: Rain on our wedding day would derail our plans for an outdoor ceremony. Steven, my husband-to-be, is wrapping up a collegiate class in statistics, and one day last week spent an hour analyzing 50 years of weather information for the city where we will wed on the date that we will wed. (We are nerds, we know.)

Here were his results:

  • The average high temperature: 78.72 degrees
  • There's a 52% chance that it will be at least 80 degrees (a bit warmer than I'd prefer)
  • There is a 68% chance that our day's temperature will fall between 71.71 (yes, please) and 85.74 degrees (sizzle)
  • 68% of the time in the 50-year period, it didn't rain on our date in this city (oh Mister Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun...)
  • There's a 92% chance that there will not be significant rainfall (woo!)

"So it seems like a very fat chance it's going to be a rainy, thunderstorm-y kind of a day," my meteorologist informed me.

My ideal would be 70 to 75 degrees and sunny. (Please, Mother Nature?) But, if you married on a very warm day or a rainy day, feel free to comment below and tell me how you coped. How'd you cool off? Best stayed dry?

Back to Meredith. This is her at a wedding she coordinated, and the second image is of a wedding she set up. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.
Meredith's favorite part of a wedding is when it hits a couple "that they had their perfect day." The part she enjoys most, she continued, is being able to take someone's idea and executing it the day of so that they and their friends and family can be guests. It makes sense, she noted, that it'd be easier for a wedding planner to remember all of the things that need to get done because they aren't as emotionally involved as the bride and groom.

"Don't forget that those friends and family who have offered their services (for a wedding) are going to want to have the guest's experience," she told me. "Somewhere down the road, they mentally check out. They have a guest mentality, rather than a vendor mentality.

"It's my job to worry about how things are going to get done," Meredith continued. "If there's a problem, I have to fix it. Something that would fall on somebody else's shoulders, it falls on mine."

When our big day arrives, I'll be happy to eat what minimal breakfast I (and my rabid butterflies) can stomach and have my hair and makeup done and my dress slipped on, all the while surrounded by my family and friends and knowing that the decorating, vendor coordination, solving of problems and general management of the largest party I've ever planned are in the hands of two people who've been there, done that.

Sound good? Ask Kim or Meredith what they can do for you.
Mark Lehman
8/5/2013 02:11:08 pm

As Kim's husband of 14 years, I've had a first hand look at all the details and time she puts into her planning business. She cares deeply about the well-being of all involved on a couple's big day. Other than watching and nurturing our two daughters as they grow, there's little else that gives Kim more pleasure than helping to plan weddings. She is good at it, and takes great pride in helping brides and grooms prepare for their wedding day. Yes, I'm partial, but doing this makes her smile, and in turn, that makes me smile as well.

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