by Karen Peterkin, PBC

I was inspired when Mark shared stories about his first weddings over a decade ago, so I thought back to lessons I learned personally during the first weddings I ever coordinated.

The first wedding I coordinated was over seven years ago.  At that time I was interning with the Queen of Hearts but was also running my own wedding business as well.  Here are the top three things that I learned from those first weddings:

1.  I'm ashamed to admit it, but I went solo.  That's right- no assistant!  I cannot imagine going solo and I can't believe I thought it was okay.  It was still a total team effort between the reception/catering staff and myself, but I learned my lesson.  One thing we pride ourselves on at the Queen of Hearts is how all of us wedding planners are also assistants at each other's events.  Too much can happen, and too many things need attention to do our job right!

2.  Allow plenty of time for setup.  See the above statement:  I went solo.  And at one of my first weddings I had to setup all of their DIY decor… on every table and around the rooms!  I got it all done, but I dashed around like a crazy woman.  Lesson learned!  At a DIY-styled wedding last year, it took our team hours to complete the decor and we allotted the time for it.  And we even called in an extra set of hands for setup.

3.  Always wear comfortable shoes.  This applies to the Bride and Bridesmaids as well (I can't tell you how many bandages and shoe cushions I've dispensed!), but I wore what I thought were comfortable, small HEELS on my first wedding day.  During clean up I was bare foot.  Yes, again, ashamed to admit it.  I now wear my cushioned Croc Mary Janes and always bring an additional pair of shoes just in case.  There is just too much running around!

Being part of a larger team and having mentors has helped me raise my level of professionalism a lot over the last seven years.

Lesson Learned.