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The Wedding Coordinator

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Whenever I tell people that I am a wedding Coordinator the immediate question to follow is, “What do you do?”

With wedding season freshly upon us I find myself encountering this question more frequently, and I also find that I have a fairly difficult time explaining my job in a simple, one or two sentence answer like someone in an office, or a restaurant manager, or a babysitter may be able to do.

So what does a wedding coordinator do and why may you need one?

Getting married is certainly a monumental and important moment in your life. The day is all about you!

You get to choose the food you are eating (buffet, or sit down dinner?)

The music you listen to (band, or DJ?)

The dresses your bridal party wears (all the same? Different?)
Your bridal party!
Your photographer (How many do you need? How much money is too much?)
Your videographer (Same as above…hm…)
Your venue (Grandma’s backyard? A hotel ballroom? A golf course?)
Your cake (Chocolate or Vanilla? How many tiers? Multiple flavors?)
Your florist and flowers (How many? Where? What are my colors?)
Your linens (Do you want chair covers? Are you renting chairs? Does the venue have linens?)

While all of these questions probably seem exciting to many, it may also be overwhelming. How do you know that you are choosing a reliable vendor and getting the most back for the money that you spend?

On such a special day, you probably don’t want to leave much up to chance, and THIS is where the Wedding Coordinator comes in.

Most of us have seen our fair share of vendors.

We have seen those that charge you an arm and a leg for one person and 4 hours worth of photography, or those that charge you an appropriate amount, while not cheap, for 3 photographers and some of the best pictures you have ever seen.

We have seen DJ’s who read the guests and play great music, and those who mispronounce the Bride and Grooms name.

A Wedding Coordinator can help point you in the right direction and find you some really great people to help share your special day with.

Furthermore, on the day of the wedding,  the Wedding Coordinator can be your eyes and your ears and your timeline, so that you can sit back, sip champagne, and enjoy the day with your friends, family, and husband to be.

The Wedding Coordinator will help to plan the time slots for you and your bridesmaids hair and makeup, will ensure that the hair and makeup artist arrives on site on time and gets set up in the appropriate area.

The Wedding Coordinator will line up your wedding party in the appropriate order and cue their entrance into the ceremony, as well as cue the start of the music, all while ensuring this is occurring on time.

The Wedding Coordinator will lead your wedding party to the appropriate area after leaving the ceremony for pictures, and ensure that the photographer arrived on site on time and know where people are coming from to get the best shots.

The Wedding Coordinator will make sure the venue is doing their job and that you and your wedding party get beverages or food, while the rest of your guests adjourn to the reception. Your Wedding Coordinator will lead them to the reception if on site or be sure they know where they are going if it is off site.

The Wedding Coordinator will time and line up your party for the entrance into the reception, be sure to cue the DJ and ensure he knows how to pronounce your names….make sure the videographer and photographers know where you are coming from.

Furthermore before even arriving to the reception the Wedding Coordinator will ensure that the florists, linens, and any other vendors arrive on time and set things up the way that YOU want them set up, so that when you walk into the reception you see what you imagined you would see without so much as lifting a finger.

The Wedding Coordinator will get you when it is time for your first dance,  cutting of the cake or toasts, or mother/daughter or father/son dances, so that you can just sit back and relax until told to do otherwise. (As if cutting cake isn’t relaxing enough!)

So how can I sum this all up when someone asks, “So, what do you do?”

I suppose I ensure everything that is supposed to be at your wedding is at your wedding in the way that you want it, as well as time the flow of the day and ensure that the bride has no worries other than keeping her champagne full for the entire day. I am your eyes, your ears, and your voice, so that you can sit back and relax as everything you dreamed unfolds around you.

La comida en Espana!

Event planner extraordinaire, Marisa Barr, recently took a well deserved vacation to the South of Spain where she visited her brother, Phil, who is studying abroad. Here she shares with us their foodie adventure and the differences between eating in Spain and The USA.

*Jamon Iberico hung like this above all of the bars. They take it down and slice it to order!

One of the first things I noticed upon my arrival to Sevilla, Spain is that Spaniards really do “live in the streets”. And why wouldn’t you? With the sun shining it was a beautiful non-humid 70 degrees for every day of my trip.

The next observation I immediately had, was that everyone drank and ate at any and all times of the day. Meals were not simply limited to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From the woman who was sipping a glass of wine while holding her baby, to the elderly man smoking a pipe with a beer, to the businessmen in their suit jackets huddled around an elevated table with their scotch, whether it be 10:00am, 2:00pm, or 11:00pm, drinking and eating seemed to be the center of their lives in Spain, and more importantly what drinking and eating created: being surrounded by family and friends. It was not simply treated as a necessity, but more as a way of life.

I instantly knew I was going to like this place.

I started each day with either Jamon Iberico (Ham from an Iberian Pig) on a toasted bagel doused with olive oil, or a toasted bagel with olive oil and a tomato spread. Along with a café con leche and an orange juice I was all set. I’m a little disappointed to admit I was not on the Spaniards level of having a glass of wine or a beer with my morning meal and was instantly overcome with a wave of guilt over my exasperation towards my foreign guests at the restaurant where I worked who seemed so perturbed by our American coffee with a side of cream. Café con leche, or coffee with milk in Spain—is really espresso, and they take the liberty of steaming and adding the milk to it for you themselves.

One of the greatest things about wining and dining in Spain is that they make it very easy for you to do so.  With much smaller portions than what we are accustomed to in the United States, it is possible to drink and eat many times throughout the day without getting uncivilly drunk or outrageously full. Three course meals are available for lunch (the biggest meal of the day) for anywhere from 7-12 euro at a restaurant. Many people choose to go home and eat in front of the televisions with their families during lunch time, anywhere from 2:00-5:00pm when most local businesses are closed for siesta. (it is socially acceptable to eat, drink, and sleep during these hours…amazing, right!?)

These portion sizes give the luxury of being able to taste many different things and spend time with many different people throughout the day. I can honestly say I did not get drunk or full once throughout my excursion in Sevilla. I was constantly contented.

One of the mini meals my brother and I indulged in was tortilla Espanola, a delicious creamy potato pie of sorts, espinaca con garbanzos, which is essentially spinach (sometimes creamed) and chick peas, albondigas in a gravy of sorts with potatoes, and pork that literally crumbled to the touch, again in a gravy of sorts with a hint of spice.

All of these dishes are local to the area, and my brother warned against signs advertizing paella “a typical tourist trap!” he said, as it really wasn’t very popular in the South of Spain.

The tortilla would be heavier in some places, creamier in others. The spinach more creamy in some, more pureed or whole, spicy or wet, but all of the ideas were the same. Fresh, untampered with local ingredients in delicious food.

And the correlation of each meal is the same: to bring together people you love. Whether it be friends on the streets over a pitcher of sangria or cousins and aunts and uncles and sons and daughters and mothers and fathers at home in front of the television with a steaming bowl of soup, Spaniards are always eating, drinking, and TALKING with one another!

They live in the moment, and as a bonus, with all the walking in the city (it is nearly impossible to fit a car down many of the old streets) I found I lost three pounds during my eating and drinking escapades!

I’m telling you, Spain has the right idea!

Now if only I could find a traditional gazpacho, followed by a luscious flan and a glass of vino tinto on a patio in Boston at noon…

-Marisa Barr is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, MA and is a writer, food lover, function coordinator and event planner.