I have been waiting. And waiting. And waiting… to do these reviews. There are several reasons. The primary reason is that I’m a little overwhelmed by what to say. What do you say to people that made your life so much easier during a really stressful time? Thank you doesn’t seem like enough. Plus, I wanted to add photos to these reviews, because let’s face it – a picture makes every post better, right? But the photos aren’t ready quite yet, so I decided to post the reviews anyway.

And first up, my day-of wedding coordinator, the person that made sure that I was a guest at my own wedding – Julie McKenney of Bliss Elevated. I really, truly want to give these vendors a shoutout because they were so awesome to me. So click on the previous link for her website, and click here for her Facebook page. Oh and her WeddingWire page, with lots of reviews. I’m not the only one!

So. What to say. Well, I’ve written before about the importance of having a day-of coordinator or planner, even if you think you can’t afford it. And that post still stands true, I agree with everything written there. But that post was written from a wedding photographer perspective. Now that I have planned and been through my own wedding, I have a little more perspective, not only as a wedding photographer but as a bride as well. And I can honestly say that brides, please – if you read nothing else in this post – PLEASE HIRE A COORDINATOR. Even if it’s only for the wedding day. I promise if you hire the right person it will be worth every penny.

I know quite a few coordinators in the wedding industry. I spoke with and interviewed quite a few coordinators – and truly, they were all wonderful. I ended up hiring Julie for two primary reasons: 1. She knew my venue and how to deal with the circumstances that could potentially arise with that particular venue and 2. At one of her weddings, the baker dropped the cake and the bride and groom never knew. Yes, true story. When I heard that I was like whoah… Ask my BFF Ryan – things like that always happen to us. Not horrible tragic things, just hilarious and wacky things. And I wanted someone that could handle it on our wedding day, because I knew that wacky things were inevitable.

Julie was, and is amazing. Amazing doesn’t begin to describe it. I’m an organized person, and people tease me about it. Type A is the nice way to say it, there are other words that are not so nice. Our wedding photographer was taking photos of my to-do list while we were getting ready. OH yeah, it’s that bad. And yet, Julie is even more organized than I am! She is extremely diplomatic in everything, even difficult situations or less-than-nice people. She is on top of everything both before the wedding day, and on the actual day. I thought I had thought of everything when it was time for our walk through, and she came up with so many things that hadn’t even crossed my mind. And I’m in this industry. I can’t imagine how lost other brides must feel!

Julie is the calm in the storm. The person that you can ask any question, even the weird questions that no one will really give you a straight answer on. She has connections and knows people, and is a valuable resource. She arrived at my wedding day with a humongous toolbox that would make Tim Taylor proud. When my flip flops were rubbing my feet raw from dancing, she was there with bandaids and strips to protect my feet. When the guys shoes’ were falling apart – yes, the soles actually came off on FOUR pairs of shoes – she was there to fix it. How? She broke out her toolbox and had a hot glue gun, super glue, and finally duct tape! When my florist was going crazy because the caterer kept moving her work and tools, Julie was the go-between with the caterer. When there was an issue with the timing and adding time with the venue, Julie took care of it. And most importantly – these issues weren’t my problem on my wedding day. That sounds kind of bad to say, but I was truly a guest on my wedding day. Julie took care of these things without needing to involve us. She knew what we wanted, understood our vision for the day, and took care of everything. She was our advocate and liaison with the other vendors, and even the guests!

I have now photographed several weddings, and my mother has coordinated and arranged for several weddings as well. When I decided to hire Julie, my mom was skeptical. She and I are a lot alike when it comes to events and things like this – if we want something done right, we do it ourselves. She didn’t want to turn that control over to an outside party. However, my mom is now a believer and was so glad to have her there. Tom didn’t want to hire a coordinator. He is… well – let’s say it nicely – frugal. He thought that I could handle the details on the wedding day, and he didn’t want to spend more money on what was already turning out to be a very expensive event. However, after the wedding, he is SO glad that we had Julie there, and feels that it was worth the cost to hire her. And for anyone that knows Tom – for him to say that something was worth the cost is a BIG deal.

Brides and grooms – PLEASE don’t try to do this yourself. You can take total control of all of the planning and designing, but when it comes to your wedding day, hire a professional. Do your homework, figure out what you want and who you want to work with. The stress leading up to your wedding is crazy. Everyone wants your attention and you can only do so much. You will NEED someone to be that calm, someone to take care of you, and that’s exactly what Julie does. There is a reason that she is #1 over and over again in polls and contests. She is amazing and absolutely necessary for your day.

Julie, thank you so much for everything. My mom told me the other day that we really nailed our wedding vendors, and how impressed she was with your professionalism and ability to handle things. I can’t tell you how much we appreciated your help!