Heather Perrin: Macon, GA Wedding Planner
Heather Perrin Weddings
Wedding Coordinator in Macon, GA
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What is a wedding coordinator? This service can go by many names (Day-of Coordinator, Wedding Management, Month-of Coordinator) but it is essentially this: a wedding coordinator takes the plans you have worked tirelessly on, and makes sure they happen smoothly and that you have a fun, stress-free day.

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In Defense of a First Look
This AMAZING photo is of my dear friends and past clients, Bryan and Sarah, taken by the lovely  A. Thomas Photography . Yeah, I'm crying too.

This AMAZING photo is of my dear friends and past clients, Bryan and Sarah, taken by the lovely A. Thomas Photography. Yeah, I'm crying too.

The tradition of a groom not seeing his bride until he meets her at the altar has taken some serious heat in the last few years as “first looks” have surged in popularity. It seems almost more common that the couple meets face to face a few hours before the ceremony for some special photos, rather than waiting until the walk down the aisle. What do you think about this stray from tradition? Are you superstitious and think it is bad luck to see the bride before the wedding?

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While I am firmly in the you-do-you camp when it comes to wedding day traditions, I do have some thoughts on this particular choice, both from a professional and a personal standpoint. So while you bear in mind that I will always encourage you to do whatever is best for the two of you, here are some thoughts on the first look (and because I am notoriously sappy, I have accompanied each with a gif for your amusement. Let's be real. If I used a bunch of photos like the first one, we'd all be dead with emotion).

1. Timeline #goals

Ohhh man. What wonders a first look does for the logistics of the day. It is like timeline magic. With a first look, a photographer can capture most if not all of the wedding party photos before the ceremony, meaning you join your guests at the reception sooner. It also leaves some wiggle room in the day in case you do run behind (things happen) to catch up after the ceremony. Overall, it gives flexibility and ease to the many events happening during the day.

Me and your photographer when you decide to do a first look.

Me and your photographer when you decide to do a first look.

2. Photo #goals

With time set aside for just you and your honey, and no rush to get to the reception, your photographer can capture some beautiful moments. The reaction photos are a precious way to capture the raw emotion you have both been carrying around for weeks, and are a treasure for years to come (even if you ugly cry like I did). After that initial moment passes, you have time to laugh, hug, and take some gorgeous couples shots without an audience.

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3. A Moment Together

How much time do you think you get to spend with your new spouse on your wedding day? In reality, very little. You have dozens, or even hundreds, of friends and family who have gathered to celebrate you. You have dinner to eat, cake to cut, and dances to dance. Even when you are together, you’re surrounded by a sea of loved ones. All of this is wonderful, and part of what makes a wedding so special, but what if you could steal away a few minutes with just the two of you? This was my favorite part of my wedding day. Just to have a minute to talk to him, laugh about what had happened that morning, and breathe in the reality that we were going to be husband and wife—like really really soon. It gave me a chance to step back and soak in the beauty, anticipation, and excitement of what was about to happen.

Ok, so I know this isn't  their  wedding, but it is a really precious moment.

Ok, so I know this isn't their wedding, but it is a really precious moment.

4. TWO Special Moments

One reason couples may choose not to do a first look is they worry it steals some of the magic of the walk down the aisle. In my personal experience, having seen Tanner a few moments before only heightened the emotion of that grand entrance. The first look gave us a few minutes to be us – to be goofy, to talk, to share in the day together. When they opened the doors and I started walking toward him, it was entirely different. In that moment, I was walking toward my husband—and I couldn’t get there fast enough! These two parts of the day were so special—each in their own unique way.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—the choices you make for your wedding day are just that: choices. There is no wrong one. So if you decide to wait until the altar to see your loved one, I say go for it! It’s gonna be magical. But for me, and for many of the sweet couples I’ve served, the first look makes the day that much more special!

3 Must-Haves for a Fun Wedding Day

Months of research, Pinterest, phone calls, and planning go into preparing for your wedding day. The ceremony, the wedding party, and the reception have all been meticulously mapped out to celebrate the start of something new (High School Musical, anyone?) and you can’t wait for them to start! While these are the main events of your wedding weekend, they’re not the only opportunities you have to celebrate and enjoy.

Gorgeous bride, Mindy, and her girls | Photo:  Ashah Photography

Gorgeous bride, Mindy, and her girls | Photo: Ashah Photography

The time before the wedding begins – hair, makeup, set-up, and prep – have so much potential to set the tone for the day. How often do you and your closest friends get to hang out in your PJs and get pampered for hours? These precious hours are not only the prelude to the main event, but are an important (and fun!) part of your celebration! So as you are preparing for a day full of festivities, here are my recommendations to make the most of the time you have.

1. Music

My sweet friend, Katelyn, dancing it out before my wedding | Photo:  Goodman Photography

My sweet friend, Katelyn, dancing it out before my wedding | Photo: Goodman Photography

Make the whole day a dance party. For real. From the time you roll out of bed – bright and shining with bridal beauty – to the minutes before you say “I do,” make it a party. Dance with your girls, sing T-Swift at the top of your lungs, or just swoon to love songs and imagine the magical moment when you see your groom. There is no reason to be bored on your wedding day! Put a bridesmaid in charge of the playlist and dance all day.

2. Snacks

It is not uncommon for a bride to have some wedding day butterflies and lose some of her appetite (at least that’s what I’m told. I ate like a champ all day, but I just really love food). However, you are much more likely to enjoy the dance party, photoshoot, and many festivities to come if you have a little something in your stomach. And your bridesmaids will certainly have a better day cheering you on if they’ve had some pigs in a blanket, amiright? Lots of brides forget to plan meals for the day of (how can we blame you, with so many details to plan!) leaving her and her girls a little hangry by the time they make it to the reception. So grab some granola bars (or seriously, pigs in a blanket are an excellent wedding day snack) and fuel your party.

3. A Plan

Ok stick with me here. I know this post is about having fun on your wedding day, but trust me on this one. The quickest way to dampen a good pre-wedding party is to realize you’re an hour behind schedule and don’t have time for mimosas. If you have a solid timeline in place and someone to make sure you stick to it, you won’t miss those moments you’re so looking forward to. This principle holds true in so many areas of life, but especially on a day that goes by so quickly: a good plan reduces stress, eliminates the need to rush, and allows you to rest knowing it is all taken care of.

Precious flower girl getting pampered next to the bride | Photo:  Ashah Photography

Precious flower girl getting pampered next to the bride | Photo: Ashah Photography

You only get one, so plan to have a great day. Even before you put on that gorgeous dress and say yes to the man of your dreams, take a deep breath and remember to celebrate! It is a wedding after all 😊

8 Questions to Ask Your Venue Coordinator

What is the difference between a wedding coordinator and a venue coordinator?

Many venues have a staff member available on-site during a wedding, but some even provide coordinating services. Each venue is different (and may even call this service different things) so how do you know if you need a wedding coordinator, or if your venue will take care of everything?

A common misconception among brides-to-be is that the event coordinator at their wedding venue will also serve as their wedding coordinator. It is understandably confusing when we use the same words to describe what we do, and when every venue operates a little differently. Some venues provide full service planning, some provide day-of coordination, and some just unlock the doors and say good luck! As I talked about here, a wedding coordinator is there to ensure you have a smooth, enjoyable, stress-free wedding day, so it is important to know exactly what is provided and what you may be missing in your venue.

So when you are considering whether or not you need to hire a wedding coordinator in addition to the venue coordinator, make sure you ask these questions.

Setting the table for a styled shoot at  New City Weddings . | Photo:  Ashah Photography  | Flowers:  Southern Florals and Drapes  | Tableware:  Southern Vintage  | Chairs:  Macon Tent Rentals

Setting the table for a styled shoot at New City Weddings. | Photo: Ashah Photography | Flowers: Southern Florals and Drapes | Tableware: Southern Vintage | Chairs: Macon Tent Rentals

1. Will we meet before the wedding weekend?

It is imperative that the person running your event knows the intimate details of the day. This person will be the go to for vendors, guests, family members, and bridal party for any questions during the day. They will also be the one to make last minute decisions when things go awry, so they need to understand your vision and your priorities. To make sure they have the correct answers to all of these (and aren’t checking with the bride) you need to spend some time going over the big picture and the tiniest details.

2. Will you communicate with all of my wedding vendors?

With so many wedding professionals coming together in a short period of time, you need to make sure their arrival, set-up, break-down, and departure times work in harmony. When the caterer calls for directions to the loading dock, the coordinator should be ready to take the call and give direction. The best way to make sure your rockstar team of vendors has everything they need is to have a point person connect with them before the big day.

3. Will you create a comprehensive timeline for the wedding day?

This goes hand in hand with #2. Once your coordinator has talked with each wedding pro, confirmed their needs and timelines, they need to consolidate all of that information into one concise timeline so they can keep it all on track. This is KEY to a smooth wedding day, and is something a coordinator should take care of.

4. Will you facilitate our ceremony rehearsal? 

If your ceremony and reception locations are at the same venue, will the venue coordinator direct your rehearsal? An effective, efficient ceremony rehearsal plays a major role in a smooth ceremony. More than likely (actually, I guarantee it) your officiant does not want to do this, so you will need someone with an understanding of ceremonies, processes, and traditions to take the lead. If your ceremony is at a different location, do not pass go, do not collect $200, you need a wedding coordinator. By definition, the venue coordinator is tied to a specific location. If you have multiple locations, you need someone who will be present at both during the day.

5. Will you set up and break down our décor?

If not, you’ll need a team of family members and friends who can take care of this. Be sure to consider how much time you have in the venue to set up, whether or not those family members are in the bridal party, and if they need to be present for photos by a particular time. This may limit who is able to set-up in time for the party to begin.

6. Will you manage day-of emergencies?

Every wedding day will have them. I promise. It doesn’t mean you won’t have a spectacular day, it just means that you need someone who is prepared to handle them. Not only physically, but emotionally. Will they be able to solve the problem quickly, calmly, in the way you would have chosen, without consulting you?

7. Will you make sure the day runs smoothly and on-time?

See #3. It’s not enough to make the big, beautiful schedule if you don’t stick to it. While each participant and vendor is aware of his or her own timeline, they may not realize what is supposed to happen immediately before or after. The coordinator should be able to follow the timeline all day to make sure everyone works together seamlessly and nothing runs behind.

8. Will you coordinate with the other vendors to make sure they have what they need to do their jobs well?

It takes a village to execute a wedding. Florists, caterers, hair stylists, photographers, cake makers, the list goes on and one. In order for each of these fabulous folks to do their best work, they need someone who knows their needs and can make sure they’re met. The live painter needs an easel to display the finished work at the reception, the photographer needs a plate of food at the same time as the bride and groom, and the cake maker needs the cake stand to be in place 2 hours before the ceremony begins so she can set up. A coordinator’s role is to set everyone else up for a successful day.

The finished product | Photo:  Ashah Photography  | Flowers:  Southern Florals and Drapes  | Tableware:  Southern Vintage  

The finished product | Photo: Ashah Photography | Flowers: Southern Florals and Drapes | Tableware: Southern Vintage 

If your venue coordinator answered yes to all of these, fantastic! If not, you may need to hire someone to take care of the details he or she isn’t able to manage.

Remember, each venue is going to have a different set of roles and expectations. If a venue coordinator doesn’t provide these services, that doesn’t mean they’re deficient or lacking something. It just means they don’t have the time, resources, or manpower to provide a full coordinating service. Lots of venues provide excellent assistance and support on a wedding day, but they’re just not equipped for this extent of coordination.

 

I’d love to talk more about how I can fill these roles and more. If you think you may want to have a wedding coordinator manage all of the details that go into your wedding day (and beyond!), click the link to fill out my contact form below. I can’t wait to hear from you!

5 Reasons You Need a Wedding Coordinator

You’ve booked the florist, the photographer, and bought the perfect dress. What else do you need? If you’re in the process of planning a wedding, you know that the list of “what else” can seem never ending. But there is one piece of the puzzle that can help make all of the others fit together seamlessly, and it’s a piece you may have overlooked: a wedding coordinator.

What is a wedding coordinator? This service can go by many names (Day-of Coordinator, Wedding Management, Month-of Coordinator) but it is essentially this: a wedding coordinator takes the plans you have worked tirelessly on, and makes sure they happen smoothly and that you have a fun, stress-free day. From a wedding coordinator, here are a few reasons to consider adding this role to your wedding team:

1. You should be celebrating, not stressing

A wedding day is an immensely emotional day. It is full of love, anticipation, expectation, and joy. Sometimes, it is also full of anxiety and stress. We have been led to believe that this is just part of it—brides always feel stressed on their wedding day—but I firmly believe that does not have to be the case. I want brides and grooms (and moms and dads) to have the opportunity to take it all in and enjoy the experience. My job as a coordinator is to take that stress (whether or not the centerpieces were delivered, if the band was on time, or if the photographer has enough light for portraits) from your shoulders so you can enjoy all of the beauty of a new marriage.

2. You can’t star in the show and cue the lights

If you’ve ever been in a play (I haven’t, but it’s a secret dream of mine!), you know that there are actors, and there are stage managers. Wouldn’t it be difficult for the lead in the play to also have the responsibility of telling the lighting team when to cue her spotlight? How on earth is she supposed to do both at the same time? The stage manager has the vitally important role of making sure all of the actors and the many other hands involved know their cues and present a flawless show to the audience. She is prepared, equipped, and knows the play backwards and forwards so the star can focus on her dramatic monologue while she runs the show from the wings.

3. Your vendors do their best work when they work together

If you’ve ever planned a wedding (or if you’ve ever been to one for that matter) you know that it takes a village to pull it off. Photographers, caterers, venues, florists, hair stylists, the list goes on and on. You have selected and hired these professionals because you love their work and know they will provide an exceptional experience for you and your guests. But it is hard for them to do their best work if they don’t know what the others are doing. If your makeup artist doesn’t know when the bridal portraits are supposed to begin, you may miss precious time for those photos. Or if the caterer wasn’t aware that the band required food before the reception, your entertainment may have to leave to grab dinner during cocktail hour. In order for your team of wedding professionals to deliver the service they want to give you—their absolute best work—they need to be on the same page. A wedding coordinator acts as the glue for all of these important people. Serving and preparing them so they all work in harmony.

4. You need someone who is 100% on your team (and isn’t in a fancy dress)

Among this village of professionals (and friends) who are putting your wedding together, you need someone who can see the 30,000 foot view. Someone who knows what you’ve imagined for your day and can make sure everything stays on that course. A wedding coordinator acts in your place when you aren’t able to make decisions, because she knows what you would have chosen. Each vendor has their own priorities (because they want to deliver excellent service), but someone needs to make sure they all align with your vision for the day. While you have LOTS of people who have your back and want the day to be perfect for you, you need someone who can step outside of the situation and keep the day on course.

5. Everything is going to be OK

It is. It really is. At the end of the day, you’re going to be married and you’ll ride off into the sunset with your handsome prince (right after you take some killer golden hour photos, amiright?). Truly, no wedding is flawless, but they are all wonderful. A wedding coordinator can foresee the bumps in the road long before they make it to you, solve problems before you know about them, but also remind you that hey—you look hot, and today is going to be awesome. An important part of my job is staying calm and making sure my brides do too. Because weddings are lovely, but marriages are even lovelier.

 

If you want to enjoy your wedding day, to take a deep breath and celebrate, then you should hire a wedding coordinator. We want to carry the stress, manage the details, and make the decisions so you can get on with the party.

Much love,

Heather

Chris + Kaitlin | Atlanta, GA Wedding
Thank you to Jill Doty Photography for the beautiful images in this post. Not only is she incredibly talented, but she is SO fun!

What do you get when you combine a food truck, a brewery, a live band, and a sweet couple joining their lives together? A fantastic Friday night. Chris and Kaitlin’s wedding was one for the books. My heart is so full over this wedding that I’m sure I won’t be able to capture it in the space I have here, but I’ll do my best.

Before she was one of my brides, Kaitlin was my mentor and supervisor in college! She taught me so much about event planning and was instrumental in me joining this field to begin with, so when I had the opportunity to help her pull off this incredibly fun day, I couldn’t have been more thrilled.

If you were to spend an afternoon with Kaitlin and Chris, you would quickly find how warm and welcoming they are. You would likely have a drink in your hand, a stomach ache from laughter, and a thoughtful conversation to ponder. These two are genuine and kind and dearly love to celebrate, so their wedding was sure to be a party.

The Venue

Monday Night Brewing

Set in Atlanta, GA, Kaitlin and Chris chose Monday Night Brewing for both their ceremony and reception venue. This uber cool spot is one of the city’s favorite gathering places and had a seriously fun atmosphere (don’t believe me? The ‘About’ page on their website lists 3 dogs as staff members, so beat that). MNB is not only a hip, urban setting for wedding, but it is a brewery, which means craft beer on tap. *thumbs up*

 
Yumbii Food Truck

The Food

What catering could equal the fun level of a brewery venue? Food trucks, duh! Yumbii is a fantastic and fascinating dining experience, combining flavors from all over the world with a unique spin. They served three flavors of delicious tacos with sesame fries on the side and had us all going back for more.

 
Chris jamming out to Emerald Empire Band and Kaitlin cracking up at his version of whatever song this is :)

Chris jamming out to Emerald Empire Band and Kaitlin cracking up at his version of whatever song this is :)

The Music

No party is complete without the entertainment, and the Emerald Empire Band absolutely set the tone for a great night. I can’t speak highly enough about their energy, the quality of the music, and how great they were to work with. Just wonderful.

The Photos

As you’ve already seen from the pictures here, Jill Doty is a fabulously talented photographer. What you may not be able to see is that she is also so much fun! She has such a lovely personality that having her capturing the day only added to the merriment. To see more photos from the day, check out Jill’s website.

Other Vendors

Hair & Make-Up: Van Michael Salon | Bride's Dress: BHLDN | Men's Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Cake/Desserts: King of Pops and Sprinkles cupcakes | Floral Design: The Bloom Theory Studio | Wedding Coordinator: Heather Perrin

The Bumps

While Kaitlin and Chris’s wedding day was incredibly fun and we were all thrilled with how it went, no wedding is without its hiccups. Some of the best advice I can give a bride-to-be is that something will go wrong. It may be something small, it may be something large, but that’s why I’m here! I’m committed to ensuring that your wedding day goes as smoothly as possible, even when the less than perfect moments do come. I firmly believe that a wedding can be perfect without being perfect. When these bumps do come along in the road, it helps to have someone who can navigate over them so you don’t even feel them.

1. Set-up Time – Because MNB is a functioning business during the day and Chris and Kaitlin had a Friday wedding, we only had two hours prior to the ceremony to get everything set up. That included tables and chairs being delivered, centerpieces assembled, and vendors in place. Not to mention, this is prime photo-taking time for the bridal party.

2. Weather – We all hold our breath for a successful outdoor ceremony, but mother nature had a different plan for us that day. We had to make a last minute switch to have the ceremony inside and then flip the room to have the reception in the same space.

3. Wardrobe Malfunction – In the midst of enjoying her sesame fries, an elderly guest accidentally bumped into the bride and caused ketchup to fall on her dress. A little bit of club soda and quick thinking kept it from staining her gorgeous BHLDN dress.

I tell you these things not to scare you, but to remind you that at the end of the day, the day will be over. You will be full of joy, heart overflowing from all of the love from family and friends, celebrating the beginning of your new lives together. If you ask Chris and Kaitlin, I know they’ll tell you they remember only wonderful things from their wedding day. It can be perfect, even if everything doesn’t go according to plan.

Monday Night Brewing Sparkler Exit

I have so much love for these two and am so thankful to have been a part of this celebration!

Cheers!