Updated: May 4
Not every couple needs (or, let’s be real, can afford) that full-touch service that comes with hiring a wedding planner, but anyone who has planned a wedding will tell you that it is stressful as hell. That was my experience planning my own wedding, what I have witnessed with hundreds of brides, and that is not the experience I want you to have.
A little history: I like to refer to myself as an event brat, since I started showing up on site as young as 3 years old, toddling after my dad, a DJ turned event producer. I always loved it – I would make friends with the little flower girls when we dropped in to check on a wedding, I went to my first concert (Vanilla Ice!) at seven years old, in my pajamas, and as soon as I was old enough to be put in charge of something (second grade), I was earning my allowance handling ticket sales for sno-cones, then supervising inflatable games, dealing blackjack, even dancing at parties to get the crowd going. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t on a gig.
But my true dream was waitressing, and so, while I studied philosophy and tried to figure out what I would do once I finished university, I worked as a cater-waitress, bartender, floor manager, and in-house event coordinator for a swanky restaurant. More than ten years went by, I got my masters degree, and I still hadn’t landed on a job title I loved. Then one day, one of the best coordinators in Montreal, Kristine Goulet, asked me to help her out on a wedding.
To say I was enthralled would be an understatement. I also… couldn’t seem to get anything right. Every escort card I placed was crooked, and when I “zhuzhed up” the curtains, Kristine would come back and tell me to do it again, and better. But she was patient with me, and kept me on.
I worked for five years as an assistant to more than a handful of coordinators, and with Kristine as my mentor, I started to take on my own clients. I learned a ton about cueing the kitchen, the band, and the speakers, how to get people to do something that is not their job (just be nice, it’s that easy!), and, of course… what not to do.
It often seemed to me – and my fellow planners – that there were just two types of brides: nice brides, and not-nice brides. But as a philosophy major, I couldn’t accept that people are inherently good or evil. We all have good in us, so why are some brides (and grooms!) such zillas?
Part of it, for sure, is focusing on the wrong things. Being obsessive about your hair, the photos, and a speck of dirt on the hem of your dress (impossible to avoid) are the wrong things. Wanting your great grandmother to have a front row seat is a must. Being worried about rain is pointless, being mad at the weather is ridiculous, and recognizing that this day is about you, your partner, and your friends and families is essential. Are we sensing a pattern here?
I planned a wedding with an amazingly nice bride last year. She’s a yoga teacher, and I loved seeing her posts on social media about how much she was enjoying the process. I had no hesitation answering her questions with hard facts (yes, you absolutely need a tent in case it rains during the ceremony, and you need to trust me to make that call on game day) because I saw from the beginning that what mattered most to her was the person she was marrying and the love of the people in the room with them.
It’s not an accident that my name, Kith & Kin, means friends and family. I was inspired by my fellow yogi to help other brides and grooms have a zen-like experience. I do it by listening and pointing out what is fixable and what isn’t, refocusing their attention on what matters, and being that big sister who keeps them from spinning out mentally. I know the half-an-Ativan-glass-of-chardonnay experience – it was mine, almost every other day leading up to my wedding – and I don’t want that for anyone. I don’t want you to be stressing because you don’t know how much to budget for sound and lighting gear. It doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. It could, actually, be about more than the destination. So, as a yoga teacher (did I forget to mention?) and a planner with over fifteen years experience, I decided to call myself something else. I’m a wedding planner, of course. But I do so much more than that. I know when my clients are freaking out, and I know how to calm them. I know what you actually need to pay for, and when you can handle something
on your own. A wedding coach is someone who has your back while you plan the wedding of your dreams, and as a planner, I also can take care of all the logistics. Planning your wedding should be almost as fun as the day itself, and it actually can be. Trust me.