I believe in any career when we look back on the years that we have put into the job, we think “Man, I wish I would have known that when I first started.” Obviously, no matter how much you prepare for a new position, there will always be obstacles and new challenges that arise as you move forward that catch you off guard. Here are five things that I wish I would have known when I started coordinating weddings.
1. Have Fun
When I began training to be a wedding coordinator, I was very nervous. I was blessed with the opportunity to learn something that I really had no experience in, but I was set on being great right off the bat. (Obviously an unrealistic expectation for myself starting a new career.) It didn’t help that I was relatively young and looked even younger (still do). I had to look tougher than I was and act stronger than I felt so that I was taken seriously in a position that people thought I was incapable of doing. So I did. I worked hard, learned quickly, and kept moving forward. As I look back at the beginning stages of becoming a wedding coordinator, I wish I would have “stopped to smell the roses.” I feel like this is something we all tend to forget in the hustle and bustle of life. Whether it is starting a career, a family, buying a home, or just living our day to day lives, we forget to stop and appreciate the little stresses that are blessings and opportunities emerging.
2. Build Relationships, Not Just Weddings
It didn’t take me long to realize the most rewarding aspect of planning a couple’s special day—the relationships that you build along the way. When I first started coordinating weddings, I was caught up on the details – which don’t get me wrong is very important in my line of work – but I did not learn as much about the couples as I wish I would have. Looking back, I wish I was more attentive to how they met, how they fell in love, what they did for a living, their dreams, goals, etc. One of the best things in life is the community of people that you are surrounded by and the relationships that you build along the way. Granted, you won’t always LOVE everyone that enters your life, but something I wish I would have known is building those relationships will also build meaning in your day-to-day responsibilities.
3. It’s NOT Easy
By no means is coordinating a wedding an easy task. Jennifer Lopez in the movie “The Wedding Planner” makes it look way easier than it actually is. Planning and coordinating a day that for some people is one of the most important days of their lives is not something to take lightly. You stand for 8-10 hours finalizing the setup, going over the details you have been planning with them for months, lining people up, queuing music, reminding the outside vendors where they need to be and what they need to do, making sure the food gets out on time, the timeline is running according to plan, and most importantly that the couple is having a blast. You shield them from cake incidents, family discrepancies, late vendors, overly drunk guests, and the list goes on. BUT at the end of the night, when the couple thanks you for all that you have done for their day and they hug you and cry, THAT is the most rewarding part. It may not be easy, but your work is appreciated so love what you do and do it well. The couples deserve your best.
4. Weekends are for Work
As you probably already know, events typically happen on weekends. So do tours, meetings, tastings, open houses, bridal shows, etc. If you don’t have an event on a Saturday, you will most likely be booked up with other obligations. When I first started, I didn’t fully realize how big of a commitment this career really is. For me, I don’t mind this, but for others it can be difficult to commit to working every weekend. You must be passionate about this career in order to be able to accept that you will have to sacrifice activities with friends and family on the weekends, unless you plan months in advance.
5. Plan for the Unplanned
No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you plan, and no matter how hard you work, there will always be hiccups throughout the day of a wedding. Sometimes they are very small and completely unnoticeable to anyone but yourself, and sometimes they are very large and slap you across the face. The true test of your abilities is how you handle these situations and how you resolve them…quickly. Study your weddings ahead of time, and I mean study. Look closely at the details and find the grey areas. Mistakes happen in the grey areas, and if you can locate them before the wedding, you can help prevent some of those hiccups throughout the day of the wedding.
Even with the stress, weekend work, and unplanned hiccups, this career is incredibly rewarding. Helping someone plan a day that they will remember forever is an opportunity of a lifetime. I would encourage anyone truly passionate about this line of work to go full speed ahead but prepare yourself for the challenge. You won’t regret it.
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