Eloped in Louisville

Alexis and I go way back. Like we went to camp together when we were in 7 years old in East Aurora, NY, way back. When we were in our 20’s we were on a professional dance team together (Go Buffalo Bandettes!). We always kept in touch, but kids and life (she lives in Buffalo, NY and I, of course, in Louisville, KY) definitely get in the way. So when she text me out of the blue on a Monday night in early January, I was surprised to hear from her! The conversation went like this (pardon the swearing!):

Reminder this is Monday night. That night they booked a flight to Louisville for Thursday night. Neither of them had been to Louisville, but they wanted to get married quickly and didn’t have the documents that were needed to get married in NY and in KY it is surprisingly easy to get married! So my mission was clear: pull off a wedding starting Tuesday morning that would happen Friday afternoon…and make Louisville lovers out of these two!

The abbreviated version of the story is that Louisville has such an amazing community of wedding/event vendors. I was amazed and delighted that everyone I reached out to was willing and able to help!

Natalia with Chocolate Box Photography jumped on as the photographer

The Embassy Suites Downtown Louisville gave a great room rate and indoor courtyard for the ceremony

In Bloom Again said “no problem” when not only did I want them to make a bouquet and boutonniere, but they had to include the couples favorite flower (which are totally out of season), peonies.

Brendan’s Catch 23 reserved a private dining space just for the couple, on a Friday night.

Modern Trousseau Louisville, not only found Alexis her dream dress, but somehow it fit perfectly (I drove Alexis to try it on 3 hours before the ceremony!). Wo, we were lucky!

Then Amelia Evans Makeup Artist jumped on board at 9:30am on Friday…and started Alexis’ makeup at 11:30am!

After a huge snow storm in Buffalo on Thursday the Couple didn’t think they would make their flight to Louisville, but they did with only a slight delay. The next morning they woke up, had breakfast at the Embassy Suites, walked to County Clerk’s office and got their marriage license. Then I picked up Alexis took her to get her wedding dress and then back to the Embassy Suites for hair/makeup. Natalia arrived to capture all the beautiful moments and the Couple was married around 1:30pm that afternoon in the indoor courtyard at the Embassy Suites. That afternoon they turned in their signed marriage license, went to the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience downtown, and then had an amazing private dinner at Brendan’s Catch 23. The next day they explored Louisville (brunch at Gralehaus, cocktails at Proof) and then flew back to Buffalo. On Monday, Reggie flew back to Japan where he is stationed in the Air Force. Alexis has a few loose ends to tie up, but plans to move to Japan with her husband soon!

How’s that for an adventure in wedding planning? Louisville as an elopement wedding destination?? My wheels are turning…stay tuned.

xoxo,

Maggie

 

Wedding Planner vs. Wedding Coordinator vs. Wedding Designer vs. Venue Manager: Titles defined

There is often a lot of confusion for brides in regard to the different responsibilities and talents that come along with the different titles that wedding professionals hold. I find this often in regard to wedding coordinators, wedding planners, wedding designers and venue coordinators. Unfortunately, there are some people out there that want to lump all of theses titles together, which ends up being an injustice to the bride. You deserve to completely understand each persons role so that you can make an educated decision about your needs and wants for your wedding day.
imageWedding Planners
The job of the wedding planner is to PLAN all of the details involved in the wedding process. This includes ordering flowers, negotiating contracts with a photographer and videographer, arranging for musicians and properly booking all wedding vendors. They may advise on color selections, ceremony and reception locations and menu choices. A good analogy would be going on a road trip in a limo; the couple is in the back with tinted windows, sipping champagne. They arrive at their destination stress free, but without knowing how they got there.
imageWedding Coordinator {Weekend Wedding Warrior}
The job of the wedding coordinator is to take all the details that the couple/family planned and pull them together to create a cohesive event. This usually involves helping the couple choose a floor plan, creating a timeline and processional, and contacting all the vendors so that everyone is on the same page. A good coordinator will eliminate any, “oops, I didn’t think of that” moments. The coordinators role includes managing the rehearsal, being the contact for all the vendors on the wedding day, and being present the whole day of the wedding from setup to tear down to help manage anything that arises. The main focus of the coordinator is to advocate for the couples wishes and execute the event so that they couple can focus on what’s truly important…getting married. Continuing with the road trip analogy, hiring a coordinator is like going on a trip with a detailed map. You are driving and making the majority of the decisions, but you are well prepared with a travel guide!
imageWedding Designers
An event designer is specifically hired for the aesthetic of the wedding. They are in charge of creating a cohesive look for the wedding day. This most likely will include linens, flowers, rentals, and detailed decor. Designers setup the morning of the event and teardown once the event is complete. They generally do not “work” the event and they certainly are not coordinating it. They are considered one of the vendors a planner or coordinator would hire or manage. Hiring an Event Designer is like renting a fabulous car for your road trip. You tell them the color and style and they find it for you so you can just hop in and drive away!
imageVenue Coordinators
A venue coordinator is an integral part of ensuring that everything related to the venue and their staff runs smoothly and per the arrangements discussed in advance. Employed by the reception site, a reception site coordinator is often a salesperson working on behalf of the venue. The venue coordinator is responsible for collecting all your necessary paperwork and contracts for the space as well as for working with you on site inspections and accommodation agreements. One of the most frustrating situations a bride can find herself in is having been misinformed on the responsibilities of a venue coordinator and finding that the venue coordinator will not actually fill the role of a wedding coordinator at all. Very rarely will a venue coordinator line up the processional, cue the DJ for introductions, etc. They are responsible for the building/venue not the couple.

VISIT MYWEDDINGWARRIOR.COM FOR PRICES/PACKAGES

Lisa & Nolan’s Yew Dell Gardens Wedding

Coordinated by Warrior Alicia

Photos by Todd Pellowe Photography

What does Warrior mean to me?! It’s about being REAL!

Let’s face it, Weekend Wedding Warrior is an odd name for a wedding company. Most companies use the owners name or make up something soft and pretty using the word “elegant” in their company title. I named this company to explain exactly what we do. We are Wedding Warriors that work your Wedding Weekend! It has nothing to do with myself (owner, Maggie Heely) or my ego and it has everything to do with the service we provide families.

Once at a bridal show, a groom said to me “why warrior? what does that mean?” I froze for a second. I had been giving the same schpeel for 3 hours to newly engaged couples and his question caught me off guard!

Well, Mr. Groom, here’s my answer: Being a Weekend Wedding Warrior means going to battle for every single one of the couples and families that we work for. It’s doing the dirty, behind-the-scenes work that the average person doesn’t want to do (let alone recognize that it’s needed to be done). It has nothing to do with being pretty, though we will make sure your wedding is pretty, and it has everything to do with being REAL.
In real life, DJ’s don’t download the correct version of the first dance song and we are finding it on YouTube to connect to the speaker system.
In real life, those beautifully crafted boutonnieres fall apart after the 4th hug and we are super-gluing the stem back on.
In real life, a gown’s train gets stepped on and your bustle breaks and we are on our knees pinning/sewing it so you can dance the night away.
In real life, that perfectly white dress will get something spilled on it and we will have the Tide stick and the white fabric chalk to cover it up.
In real life, you will forget the wedding rings in your room because you are so excited about getting married, but don’t worry, we’ve made sure the Best Man already has them.
In real life, your mash potato bar collapses and we rebuild it!
In real life, there are terrible storms, even on wedding days, and the power goes out so we light every candle we can find and you get married by candle-light!

Life happens and it is not always pretty. We are the SHIELD (the Warrior Shield) that protects you from all of those unexpected, but inevitable moments on your wedding day.

I love beautiful photos and staged wedding photo shoots and creative-minds with pretty and delicate ideas on fancy blogs, but those aren’t real. Being a Weekend Wedding Warrior means making sure every detail is handled so that you can focus on what is really REAL…getting married and committing yourself to the love of your life.

What an elegant and traditional wedding, captured by Todd Pellowe Photography! The ceremony and reception were held in the Crystal Ballroom at the Historic Brown Hotel. Guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the mezzanine as Warrior Alicia and the Brown staff flipped the Ballroom from ceremony to reception.

Wedding Warrior Wisdom: Beef…it’s what’s for vendors?! Tackling the awkward subject of “vendor meals”

What’s a “vendor meal? It’s the meal that you give your wedding vendors (eg photographers, coordinators, etc) to eat during your wedding. Simple right?! Oh, you wish; some vendors take this topic very seriously. Generally your options are:

  • If you have a buffet or plated meal just add extra to your final head count to include your vendors.

pros: It’s easy on the couple…just do the math. From a vendor perspective, they feel included and loved by being honored to eat the same things as all the rest of the guests.
cons: It’s expensive! If your wedding meal is $35 a plate and you have 6 vendors (2 photographers, 1 wedding coordinator, 1 DJ, & 2 videographers) that adds $210 to your bill.

  • Give your vendors “boxed lunches”. This is generally $10-15 per prepared           and consists of a sandwich, chips, and sometimes a brownie (if we’re lucky!).

pros:It’s cheap! Also, it’s much easier on your vendors and catering team. There is no worrying about if the food is hot or if there is extra serving ware. Vendors are generally running around during a wedding and with box lunches they can eat wherever, whenever.

cons:Depending on your vendor…you can really offend someone and make your vendor feel like a “Second Class” guess who isn’t good enough to get the “nice meal”.

So what do I think?! I think vendors need to get over themselves. Yeah, I said it, and I do apologize if I offend someone, but reality check we are in the SERVICE industry. That means our job is to serve others. Weddings are not about us, the vendors, and if we aren’t helping we’re hurting. We should be thankful for what we are given and honored that we were chosen to be present on someone’s wedding day.

Yes, I get hungry and yes I love getting a hot meal, but if it saves my clients money then it doesn’t matter to me. I’m not at a wedding to eat, I’m there to coordinate it. I always keep snacks in my purse just in case and I never eat in front of my clients. Maybe I’m extreme, but I want to seem professional at all times; so that means that even though I haven’t eaten in 8 hours and a kind server offers me a crab cake appetizer from a serving tray during cocktail hour, I do NOT eat it! Weekend Wedding Warrior’s do not eat in front of clients, unless they insist, we do not drink alcohol, and we do not dance at weddings…If we did then we’d just be paid wedding guests. We’re not guests, we’re pros.

Beautiful Photos captured by Amy Shepherd Photography from Marisa & Justin’s 5.27.12 Wedding at the Olmstead

Katherine & Stephen’s New Years Eve Wedding

Katherine & Stephen were wed on 12.31.11. The bride and her bridal party got ready at the Henry Clay. The ceremony took place at Second Presbyterian Church and Stephen’s father was the minister. The bride walked down the aisle to “One Hand, One Heart” from West Side Story. There was a cocktail hour and dinner reception followed by dancing to the Galaxy Band in the Beaux Arts Ballroom in The Henry Clay. In Bloom Again provided the flowers and Mert’s Cakes provided the cake. Todd Pellowe Photography captured this wedding with subtle perfection. It was truly an honor to be a part of this couples wedding day…knowing them the short time that I did, I expect great things from them as they carry out their lives together in NYC.
Second Presbyterian Church Wedding
Beaux Arts Room at Henry Clay Wedding
Krispy Kreme Wedding Rings
New Year's Eve Wedding Reception
Henry Clay Wedding Picture