After "retiring" from the wedding and event coordination business, I began to miss the rush of it all. I figured out a way to still get a fill of it but on my terms and without sacrificing most of my weekends; I would offer my services to friends and family as a gift. It makes coordinating and overseeing weddings even more special since I am helping those near and dear to me—and I am already going to be at their wedding anyway! I help ensure everything runs smoothly, and the road leading to the wedding day often bonds me with the couple even more.
A few years ago, one of my cousins flattered me by asking if I would help keep her on track with her wedding planning and if I would oversee things during her event weekend. Piece of cake. My biggest challenge was that she lived three and a half hours away, but she was up here and I was down there often enough [plus we live in a brilliant time of technology], so there were no issues with communication. She knew exactly what she wanted in terms of décor and developed the concept on her own, which was absolutely fine because décor is my weakness. I am happy to help decorate and execute a vision, but coming up with that vision has never been my strong suit.
She and I were having great times together—shopping for invitations, lunching, giving me a tour of her venue, modeling her wedding dress for me. Things were swiftly moving in the right direction. As she began developing her bridal party, she asked if I would be her Matron of Honor. Of course I would! What an honor it is to stand up with a bride and groom at their wedding! It actually helped having an insider track by being in the wedding party, as I got to be involved with other details of the wedding, like having input with the bridesmaids (also cousins of mine—bonus bonding!) about showers and parties, surprises, etc. Wedding coordinators typically do not have this type of advantage.
As the wedding date neared, I learned that there is a reason why the conductor of an orchestra does not also play an instrument. It is far more difficult to direct a production if you are also on the stage. Somehow, I pulled it off—I did have diarrhea for an entire week around the wedding—but I pulled it off. I was putting out fires before they started, I delegated tasks based on others' strengths, rehearsal went buttery smooth, and everything went almost perfectly perfect. I got my cousin-bride up the aisle, married, and back down the aisle with her groom.
You can't stay mad at someone who laced you into your wedding dress
Once a wedding ceremony has recessed, a coordinator can slightly relax at the reception. The timing of reception events is fluid—it is best to develop a timeline to keep everything on track, but you can also adjust things based on the overall flow. It can sometimes be a challenge to get a large group on the dance floor, so you may not want to hault a large dancing group to cut cake exactly at the time it was scheduled on an itinerary. If everyone is enjoying themselves and cake is 15 minutes delayed, no big deal. I opted to go with the flow of the reception, which was progressing absolutely beautifully, and enjoy some champagne and break it down on the dance floor with the other bridesmaids.
Plenty of champagne later, it was somehow already time for the bouquet and garter toss. As the beautiful bride was tossing her bouquet to a group of hopeful young ladies, I was on the sidelines and at the ready with a chair on which she would sit as her groom did his thing with the garter. I placed the chair on the dance floor, the bride sat, the groom removed and then tossed the garter. The bride stood up and was hugging guests and posing in photos as the music resumed. The bride began dancing, which indicated to me that she was finished sitting. I pulled the chair back and began carrying it away when everything turned to slow motion. I saw my cousin leaning back to sit in a chair that was no longer there! I dropped the chair and dove towards her—and we both fell to the ground. Wedding magic bounced us back on our feet as quickly as we had landed on the dance floor.
So there you have it. The person most responsible for keeping everything flawless ended up being the person responsible for the bride busting her ass in front of all of the guests at her wedding reception. I welled up with embarrassment and apologized profusely—we both began laughing and hugged. Of all of the weddings in which I have been involved, I can say that this has been my favorite to date. Despite a week of stress-induced diarrhea and perhaps the most unbelievable champagne hangover of my life [and a curiously large champagne stain on the crotch area of my dress], I enjoyed some memorable times with my cousins and we'll have stories to tell for years...