Part one of a seven part series of the ins and outs of planning and executing a decor heavy DIY wedding
In August 2018, I was honoured (and I don’t use that term lightly) to be the lead coordinator for Heather and David’s wedding. To this point, this was the biggest wedding I had done (in scope of work) and hands down the most time I had invested into coordinating a wedding that wasn’t my own. Their wedding, held at Performance Works on Granville Island, was set at the perfect location for Heather.
I have a lot to say about this particular wedding; with my ties to the family, the sheer amount of work it took to coordinate their wild decor and vision, the beauty of the final result, and just all the love that went into their DIY vision. Which is a big reason why this is a 7 part series!
Yes, despite this being a more fantastic wedding, it was DIY, because that’s the beauty of DIY; it can be *anything*! It doesn’t have to be rustic sheek or look like a craft store just exploded all over it. DIY is such a large spectrum of weddings and stylizations and it can be as simple as you’re piecing the vision and vendors together yourself or you’re making your own cake. DIY is in the eye of the beholder, and this definitely fell onto the DIY spectrum of awesome.
Anyway, starting at the beginning; January of 2018, Maria sent me a Facebook message to let me know that her daughter, one of my childhood best friends, was getting married and they wanted me to be the one to help them make this wedding happen. I was immediately reminded of the first time I ever ate crepes; I was at their house back where we grew up in Kimberley, BC and this family was so much different from my own, it was such a treat to be welcomed into their home, and it was so special to be served these crepes. In middle school, Heather and her family moved away to Burnaby. We had only talked once or twice after they moved, and of course, I had the entire family on facebook. When Maria sent me that message in January, I knew a few things about this wedding just from knowing what I knew about the family from those sleepovers as a kid. I knew this wedding was going to be fabulous and full of style, I knew it was going to be a crazy production, and I knew it was going to be a phenomenal party.
When I went over to their house to meet with them for the first time in more than 10 years to talk wedding (note: I do not go to clients homes for meetings usually, especially not initial meetings! These were special circumstances because while it was the first time I was in their house, I had spent so much time in their home in the past) I was welcomed to their kitchen where they were eating crepes. This alone brought me joy through nostalgia and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a wedding going into the initial meeting.
I didn’t have the opportunity to meet David until just before the wedding, but I knew how special he had to be to marry into this wonderful family, and I was absolutely right, FYI. But for this initial meeting I met with Maria (mother of the bride), Marina (MOH, older sister, and once upon a time she was my babysitter!), and of course, Heather, the bride.
We schedule initial meetings before anything is booked with ThistleBEA and before a formal quote is offered. I need to understand a bit more about the wedding, learn about what has already been done and what the couple will need help with. I get to know the couple and be sure that we are indeed a good fit for one another. I’m going to be a big part of their wedding day and it is so important that we get on well so that coordinating leading up to and day-of goes smoothly. The couple needs to have trust in me and my skills and I have to feel confident in who I’m working for (think of the initial consult like a job interview!) Once we have this initial meeting I can more easily see the scope of the event and what my role will look like and from there I can create an accurate quote.
We went through a lot of information that day. From discussing the decor that they had already planned out (and they had already planned out a lot), to whom they had hired, and beyond. I needed to know as much information as they had because this wedding was going to involve a lot more work than I have ever needed to put into a wedding all at once.
If you haven’t ever been at Performance Works before, there’s a few things you need to know about the venue. It is a performance location, as the name suggests. They do all sorts of performances out of it. If you look up at the ceiling it is rigged to hang lights and it is primed to put on a show. When you book the venue they have to have techs onsite for your event to deal with helping with set-up and strike and throughout to manage doors (they have large, rolling doors), lights, and sometimes sound. It’s a very different job than usual venue management. The venue also has a stage curtain all the way around the space which can make the space seem dark if not lit particularly well.
And it made so much sense that this is the place that Heather would be married. They were always a big arts family. Theatre production, music, modeling. You name it, they performed it.
At the end of our meeting, we sat and caught up for a solid hour after, and I left excited and doing all sorts of planning to get ready for this wedding.
Their vision for decor focused primarily around hung installs that would have to be set-up the day of the wedding. Set-up couldn’t begin until 9am and it had to be complete before the 5pm ceremony. And all had to be taken down with only 2 hours to do so. AND on the note of their decor, it also had to all be transported from their Burnaby home to Granville island then transported back again. On top of our regular coordination package there was going to be a lot of other costs to account for.
I looked at everything they had planned and started thinking about how many people I would need, how long I would need them, what kind of vehicle I would need to rent, for how long, and how many KMs that vehicle would travel, and I also had to consider just how much time was going to be going into the pre-wedding coordination to plan this all out to perfection.
Once I sent over the estimate and contract, I got ready to dive into this wedding headfirst. Our next full meeting would be our details meeting 6 months from our first meeting.
Check out the other posts in this series!