Emily + Chandler (7.28.2018)

Updated: Apr 5, 2020

This wedding will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my first wedding under my business name, Your Best Guest! My industry mentor, Pam NeSmith who owns Historic Smithonia Farm encouraged me to coordinate this wedding after Emily and Chandler were having a tough time finding a coordinator. I had been toying with the idea of coordinating and planning weddings but didn't exactly know how to start. Luckily, Pam had family ties with Chandler, the groom, so it was the perfect way to launch my new little wedding planning business.

Photos by: Mary Hannah Harte Photography, LLC.

Coordinating your first wedding, alone, can be so scary. I remember being so anxious that I probably over-communicated more than I needed to, especially since all the vendors I was working alongside were preferred vendors of Smithonia (so they new the ropes). Because I started in this industry on the venue side, I have a unique lens into the wedding world and I am so grateful for it. One of the many reasons I broke off to do my own thing was because I witnessed COUNTLESS coordinators and designers that seemed to not exactly understand logistics, with this company, I wanted to do my part in fixing that, starting with my very first clients, Emily, Chandler and their sweet, caring families.

The Bridal Party

Nothing says, welcome to the wedding planning business like 9 bridesmaids, 15 groomsmen and 2 Junior Groomsmen. Seriously, their rehearsal felt like a small wedding by itself! Before coordinating this wedding, I read so many wedding blogs and inspiration that discouraged big bridal parties, but honestly after dealing with this group, I kind of disagreed. Each of them made it so much fun and so meaningful! It also was a great first test in coming into the industry as a new business owner. My one regret - not having an assistant coordinator or 2, or 3, but you live and learn!

The Details

I was absolutely over the moon with Emily and Chandler's design. It was a great way to start my portfolio off because they went very classic and beautiful! Emily's bouquet included berry dahlias, red ranunculus, anemones, emerus, white garden roses, seeded eucalyptus and silver dollar eucalyptus - it was a beautiful arrangement with pops of dark hues that really added curiosity into the design.

The Ceremony

A few years ago Chandler lost his dad and every part of their wedding day had touches of his presence. They intentionally left a seat open for him, brought a blazer of his and placed it in the chair along with a boutonniere. It was the sweetest ode to his father.

Realistically, Everything Doesn't Always go as Planned

I wish I could say that as a wedding planner that EVERYTHING about your wedding day will go off without a hitch, but unfortunately, that isn't the case. With Emily and Chandler, their blooper was so perfect since they are both so goofy and fun! Immediately after the ceremony, the couple took their family photos as our "flip" was taking place.

Most venues require some type of flip which means there are certain items set up in the ceremony area that must be moved to the reception area. In this case, their ceremony room had all the chairs and their reception area had tables only, so all the vendors chipped in to move the chairs to the tables. After that transitioned happened, there were tables that needed to be popped up in the ceremony room.

While all this transitioning is taking place, I hear a frightening call-out "HANNAH!" I turn around to Chandler bent over trying to literally PULL his ring off of his finger because it was too tight and turning his ring finger colors. The family and I brainstormed ways to get it off scrambling for floss or lotion - then, Pam (my mentor and the venue owner) saved the day with windex and a rag - whew! Long story short, I am so glad we didn't have to call for help!

Pro tip: Even if the ring is a surprise to your fiance, MAKE SURE IT FITS!

My FIRST incredible group of vendors:

Venue: Historic Smithonia Farm

Photography: Mary Hannah Harte Photography

Coordination: Your Best Guest

Caterer: Mama's Boy

Florals: JL Designs

Bridal Gown: I Do, I Do Bridal Boutique

Band: Cashmere (East Coast Entertainment)

Cake: Cecilia Villaveces Cakes

Getaway Vehicle: Stephens Limousine Service

Officiant: Blane Jacobs

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