Several weeks before the wedding, I enjoy meeting with the bride and groom to get a feel for their day. This is such a fun time! I love to organize, so I enjoy gleaning all the information about their day and then organizing the details.
However, when it comes to executing the plans, I prefer a background-helper role. Jason is a great leader and I enjoy being his assistant at rehearsal and on the day of the wedding. We have had many good laughs at funny things that happen behind the scenes. We also have shed tears as we helped at weddings where the bride or groom had lost a parent to death, and they could not be there to celebrate the special day. We also cry tears of joy because of the beauty of this sacred mystery of God joining two godly people in marriage. There is such a happy and satisfied feeling when we labor over the timing of the processional at rehearsal and then, on the day of the wedding, it holds out perfectly and the bride reaches her groom at just the right moment! (Don’t tell anyone, but we’ve had little celebrations in the foyer that the couples never saw.)
Sometimes we have had moments that were stressful but then ended in laughter. For instance, there was the time the singing didn’t hold out correctly and Jason told me to quickly tell the vocalists to add another verse. I reached the balcony just as they were ending the song. I made a quick hand motion and the director led the vocalists in the first verse of the song again – just in the nick of time! And no one in the audience ever knew.
When we coordinate weddings, Jason works with the ministry to get an
understanding of how they would like us to assist them. Jason is in charge of rehearsal; I assist him in any way I can. The rehearsal is a fun and casual time of working with the bride and groom and learning to know everyone.
Rehearsals can be chaotic and lengthy, but we have found that putting
forethought into rehearsal saves a lot of time and confusion. Jason keeps rehearsal moving and we perfect timing until everything flows the way the bride and groom want it to flow. We have four pages in our planner dedicated to preparing you or the coordinator for rehearsal. We normally run through rehearsal twice and are done in 1-1 1/2 hours. The first time through is like a rough draft, with frequent stopping and redoing things, but the second time through is practiced exactly like it will be at the wedding and goes more rapidly. You will find this rehearsal checklist to be a life saver!
When we coordinate a reception, I arrive at the reception location before setup has begun. I’m there the whole day to answer questions, help with the work, and learn all I can about setting up and cleaning up afterward. On the day of the wedding, Jason and I work together to assist everyone who has jobs at the reception. We find that the reception goes more smoothly if there is someone there that the cooks, photographer, appetizer servers, MC, candle lighters, cleanup crew, etc. can ask their questions.
After the reception is over, there are often questions like “Where do we put the tables and chairs?” or “Do these extension cords belong to the family or the reception center?” We help bear the load of these questions so that the family can enjoy mingling with relatives and friends. Jason and I help with cleanup until everything is put away and the reception area looks like it did before anyone touched it. We find great satisfaction in being a helper at the reception.
We often are asked if we charge a fee for our wedding coordinating. We do not; we feel that one of the blessings of our Anabaptist community is that we come together and help each other without charge. However, most couples do give a generous cash gift or gift card. It’s good to remember that your coordinator may have given up a day at work or may have travel expenses. Compensate them generously for their hard work.
Your coordinator is an invaluable resource who bears the stress of your day while you and your families relax and enjoy this special time in your lives.
God bless you as you prepare and plan!