Jessica George, Event Coordinator, knows that personal touches make an event. Caring and efficient, she helps clients simplify and enjoy the planning process. Her many years in the hospitality industry have given her an edge in event design and logistics. With an eye for detail and a knack for pulling it all together, she makes your special day truly yours.
What is your favorite part of being an event coordinator?
I love the excitement of the event, but particularly to see a couple’s “story” unfold through what they have planned.
Is there one common piece of advice you give to all brides?
Don’t miss your own day. Every bride should enjoy her day with friends and family. So many brides think back and only see a blur – so it’s important to stop and smell the roses (calla lilies, orchids, or whatever your bridal bouquet consists of!) and celebrate the one you love with the ones you love.
What was the most unexpected circumstance you encountered while planning a wedding?
Every wedding has its surprises, but if you are good at your job as a planner, you arrive prepared, know what to anticipate, and are able to roll with the punches. To me, the measure of a successful wedding is not whether everything went perfectly, but that it seems like it did. If there is an issue, I worry about it - not the couple or their guests!
What do you wish more couples would do while planning their weddings?
Create time for themselves. Your wedding day is a busy and long day: do not over schedule. Make sure you get at least a few minutes with just the two of you to just “be”. This means padding your timeline so that you don’t feel rushed and can truly enjoy everything.
What is the one thing you love that couples include in their wedding?
I love when couples continue or start a tradition. Taking a few minutes to really be in the moment and do something personal reinforces the importance of the day and what it really means. This can be simple: writing each other a note and reading it with a promise to add to it every anniversary or toasting a loved one who has passed and acknowledging that they are still a part of the day. A song¸ a specific type of wine, or whatever means something to the couple - something that they can take forward through their lives - that will remind them of their day can be the most memorable and important part of a wedding, not only for the couple, but also for the guest.
What is the biggest budget blunder you see most brides commit?
It’s a 3-way tie. First, couples have to have a budget and be honest about what they can afford. The word “budget” typically scares people because they view it as “deprivation”. If couples look at a budget as what they can do as opposed to what they can’t, the planning process is much more pleasant.
Second, couples need to “pick their poison”. There are so many ideas out there and a wedding means needing to make so many decisions. Couples need to identify their priority. Are they foodies? Are they really into music? Is it important that their guests feel at home? Do they want to go for glamour? Couples need to decide what’s important to them and splurge there, if necessary. Everywhere else, they know what their resources are and can work within them.
Third, this new trend of DIY is great, but can be a lot more costly and time consuming than expected. Make sure your DIY doesn’t become a DYI (do yourself in).
What is the most essential tool you use to plan a wedding?
The timeline and my phone - I need to make sure everything and everyone is coming together. If it’s not, it will be in the next five minutes!
Do you have any pre- or post-wedding rituals?
I like to think that I must have been a boy scout in my last life because I always like to “be prepared”. Before a wedding, I make sure I have something in my bag to fix any situation that may arise.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for a bride or groom?
There’s no such thing on someone’s wedding day!
What is the most difficult part of event design?
For me, it’s getting too hung up on something. I’m a visual person, so it usually helps for me to select a few options, set them aside, and keep coming back to them. This is also what I recommend couples do when making decisions. If not, it’s easy to end up overwhelmed and make a decision just to check something off the list.
Is there any advice about event design that you wish all couples knew?
You would be surprised how well you can mesh two styles, especially if you keep it in the same color family. Try different things together and, if you have a theme in mind, remember that a little goes a long way. Too much of a good thing gets kitschy; use colors and simple details to tie everything together.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Most people have never coordinated a large scale event before. It’s hard to know where to start and how to go about it. That’s why I recommend hiring a planner. A good event coordinator can pay for themselves with experience, connections, discounts, and even salvaging your sanity. If it simply is not doable, consult several checklists for when to address different aspects of planning your wedding. Undertake each step one at a time and, if you start to get overwhelmed, come back to it later. Enjoy the process and each other!