One of the must haves of must haves on a wedding day is day of coordinator (DOC).
I know that some feel it may not be in their budget, but it was the ONE thing that gave me peace of mind on the day of the wedding. If it's not in your budget, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE (for the love of God) use someone that you trust who will do it for free.
Kim of AlexK Events was an old college friend that I found out was now planning weddings on the side and decided to have her day of coordination for my wedding.
Starting 3 months out, she was there every step of the way. We had several meetings to discuss what needed to be done on the day of and reviewed things with the venue prior to the wedding day.
The day before the wedding she helped to coordinate the wedding rehearsal and the setup of the reception.
On the day of the wedding she was extremely instrumental in keeping everything organized. Being that this was her first Nigerian wedding, I told her that things could get REALLY crazy but she kept things in order even when things went a-rye with my caterer and didn't miss a beat.
I was so grateful to her being there and keeping everything together that I don't know what I would have done without her. I would recommend her to anyone!!
I woke up early to head over to Kinko's to get the ceremony programs and table numbers cut to size. It was a little hectic as I had to call 3 Kinko centers before heading there because either the center didn't have an electric machine cutter or they were too busy to do the job. Thankfully, the gentleman at the Kinko's I went to was very accommodating and did everything I needed. Unfortunately, I got some VERY bad news from the caterer by finding out that I actually had no chafing (warming) dishes for the food for the wedding. Finding this out was VERY stressful just 3 days before the wedding. I'll give more detail about this situation during my review of the caterer, but moving on.
I also picked up one of my bridesmaids on Thursday. Because I thought I had all the time in the world, I actually decided to take her bridal dress shopping for the majority of the day.
*Tip: Never underestimate the amount of time you have leading up to the day of the wedding.
After going bridal dress shopping, we stopped by my mother's home to drop off her reception dress that needed to be fitted. My mother was the one who made her dress, so she just needed to fit it closer to her body before the wedding.
After a long day, we made it back to my house at close to 10p. We stayed up to around 2a to put together the 105 ceremony programs and do a few of the 40 (we had 2 copies of each table number per table) table numbers that needed to be put together.
Friday, October 7
I woke up early again so I could start working on the table numbers. I got through a few more before my bridesmaid woke up and we needed to head out and pick up one of my friends from the airport. Initially, I was suppose to take my friend bridal dress shopping as well, but my bridesmaid convinced me that there wasn't enough time to work on DIY stuff AND go bridal dress shopping, so we nixed the shopping. After picking my friend up from the airport, I stopped by a floral shop to pick up 3 dozen roses for my DIY bouquet and toss bouquet then headed home to work on more last minute stuff.
With another hand on deck, we were able to finish the table numbers, sangria drink favors, and the ceremony arch (that unfortunately didn't get used, more on that later). It was another long day to finish last minute things, but thankfully, it got done. You can see the table numbers and sangria drink favors (with cork in the top) in use at the wedding.
At around 8p, my coordinator came by to help while I headed over to my hair stylist's house to get my braids put in. She actually helped to cut the majority of the fruit that was served during the cocktail hour (THANK GOD!!!). The style of braids that I actually put in is called interlocking (some call it treebraids) which only took a couple of hours.
Saturday, October 8
This day was going to be more busy than any other day. Everything was planned so well in my head, but it didn't really work out. This was the plan:
Rent a Uhaul for all of our decorations and rentals
Deliver it to the venue
Head to the wedding party luncheon
Go back to the venue for our wedding rehearsal and reception setup by 2p
The first thing that went wrong was that the Uhaul center was actually LATE in opening the store. My husband and I got there 5 minutes before they opened and when it came time to open the doors at 10a, no one was there. I was really SHOCKED that no one was there to open the store. Saying that I was livid would be an understatement, however, I tried to restrain myself from strangling someone. Someone did eventually come, but it was 10:30a before we got the Uhaul, throwing my day off by 30 precious minutes.
After we got the Uhaul, we headed to the party rental store (thankfully, it was only 5 mins away) to pick up the chafing dishes (that were ordered 3 days before the wedding), glasses, and plates to be used for the buffet during the reception. We also were able to pick up the decorations that were being stored at my house, however, we were now running late to head to the wedding party luncheon which was to begin at 11:30a. At first, I tried to push it to 12p. When it got to be 11:30a, I went ahead and cancelled the wedding party luncheon altogether as there was no way that we would be able to get the Uhaul to the venue and drive to the luncheon by 12p. I was disappointed that my plans were not working out as I thought they would but it released some of the stress of the day.
We actually ended up arriving at the venue by 12:30p to drop off the decorations and decided to go ahead and start off loading everything from the truck. My husband, the event manager, along with the best man were taking things off the truck while I was discussing things with my coordinator who was going over last minute details with the venue staff. Unfortunately, the ceremony arch that we spent SO MUCH time building was destroyed in transit. We were unable to use the arch at all, but ultimately decided to take the flowers off the arch and put them in vases for the ceremony.
I requested a few of my hostesses, as well as my bridesmaids to help with setup on that day. So, we were able to get the reception setup done in 2 - 3 hours. After we setup the reception, all the bridesmaids and a few guests were suppose to head over to the bachelorette party.
I was informed by my in-laws, as well as my parents that my husband and I were expected to appear at separate dinners that the families were having at this time (who has time for that the day before the wedding). I was quite miffed at the fact that both families decided to have separate dinners that I wasn't informed about until the last minute to appear at. You would think that either family would have tried to find out what everyone's plans were to try and coordinate. Instead, everyone wanted to plan their own thing and just expect us to show up as if we had NOTHING else to do the day before the wedding.
At the end of the day, I showed up at my parent's house for 15 minutes, in which, they weren't even ready to entertain anyone. When I showed up at my in-laws home, they actually had all the pastors of the local church along with several family members ready to pray over us. My husband and I were very thankful of all the prayers that we received that evening.
I was finally able to head over to the bachelorette party by 9p were my sister (who unfortunately wasn't in town yet due to delayed flights and didn't arrive until 10:30p) had set up my spa night. While there, I got my mani/pedi, and a massage which was SO needed. I had a GREAT time at my bachelorette spa night, talking, chit chatting, and all that jazz.
I eventually headed home at about 12:30a in preparation for one of the biggest days of my life.
I think some of you may remember when I was having my reception dress debacle and I considered doing my dress in a style VERY similar to this. I'm quite happy that I chose not to (as well of those of you who voted against) do my dress in this style as this is WAY too much, even for me.
So, I'm not big on the pink "X" in the front but I LOVE the ruffles. And of course, I'm all about the mermaid style of dress. I've yet to get a black African outfit in my arsenal and should really make efforts to do so. Enjoy!
This BY FAR, was the best decision my husband and I made for the wedding! After booking our venue 2 months after we got engaged, we began setting up appointments to meet with photographers.
*FYI: I researched over 300 photographers for 6 months before choosing a photographer (what can I say...I'm thorough). When I'd gotten down to 10 photographers I liked, I actually showed the websites to my husband to narrow down who we'd like to meet which became 3 photographers.
Keith was the second photographer that we'd met in the 3 that we were going to interview. Keith lives in Macon but was willing to meet us halfway for the meeting which we were so happy about. When we met with Keith, we asked him key questions, including if he'd ever photographed an African wedding in which he stated that this would be his first if we chose him. He also showed us the albums he creates and informed us of what type of equipment he uses.
We didn't feel pressured at all and he let us know that we had plenty of time to make a decision. We signed with him 2 weeks later. We planned on having our engagement session in late spring and we actually received our CD of pictures within a week of the session. The pictures turned out phenomenal.
We looked forward to our wedding day in which 2 weeks before the wedding day, I provided him a detailed timeline of the day, as well as some must-have shots. On the day of the wedding, he came EARLY with his wife Flecia, who assisted him in taking photos. He made sure to get the photos on the list (or at least ask if I still wanted to take the photo) and seemed to be getting pictures of everything.
At the end, I received almost 1500 photos, as well as 30 retouched photos. I am more than pleased with his work and will recommend him to anyone who will hear. He went above and beyond for us and I thank him for it.
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