Five Things I Learned During my First Weeks as an Intern – Guest Blog by Kelsi, Intern

Hey there readers!

If you’re a WIV fan, you know we have interns ALL THE TIME and that if we like ‘em, we let them blog. We’ve got two amazing girls working hard with us this summer — Adrienne Held from University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and Kelsi Welch from University of Colorado – Boulder.  But today is all about Kelsi’s first blog… and it’s pretty good.  I say we keep her all summer! – Sandy

Kelsi-intern-weddings-in-viequesMost people who have never planned, or participated in planning, a wedding are completely clueless about the energy such a feat requires. When I would tell friends and family about my upcoming internship with Weddings in Vieques, the response I often got would be along the lines of “Oh, so you’re going to arrange flowers and look through bridal magazines all day?” If only the job were that easy.

The reality is that the amount of effort and skill that goes into the execution of a beautiful wedding is TITANIC – even more so when the event is a destination wedding. Planning a wedding in unfamiliar territory, with countless details, leaves a lot of room for error and stress on your wedding weekend. I don’t have all the answers yet, but here are five things I’ve already learned to make sailing a little smoother in the implementation of your big day in the Caribbean:

1)    Keep in mind that your destination will most likely have a climate much different than that of where you live – especially if your residence is anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon. Not everything that works in your normal climate will be sensible for a destination wedding. Flowers are a prime example of this; you have to be aware of how your choices will react to heat and humidity. Two popular wedding flowers this year are peonies and tulips, but neither can survive a beach wedding in the tropics.  Don’t go there. Hydrangeas work if they are in water – if you carry them in a bouquet, expect them to last through the ceremony and pictures only.  Check with your wedding planner to discuss the realities of flower survival at your destination before you commit yourself to anything emotionally.

2)    When planning a wedding someplace as tiny as Vieques, be aware that your vendor options will be somewhat limited. But don’t panic! That does not mean that your wedding planner can’t still get you everything you’ve been dreaming of. However, this issue does highlight the importance of working with a local wedding planner. Someone who lives at your destination will have substantially more knowledge from experience than you will ever be able to dig up on the internet. A local wedding planner has established relationships, allowing her to steer you in the direction of quality, reliable vendors who can deliver exactly what you want. So whether you desire tacos or lobster tail at your reception, just remember that Google may not be the best place to find it.

3)    Difficult or awkward family situations: we’ve all got them, so it’s better to be upfront about it and warn your wedding planner prior to your wedding so your recently divorced mother doesn’t end up at the same table as your father and his new 20-something arm candy. Wedding planners understand that such family situations can be extremely uncomfortable for all parties involved, but we don’t judge. You don’t want your wedding planner going blind into the rehearsal dinner and accidental escalating the situation when it could have been so easily avoided altogether. And trust me, the five minutes it will take to explain the situation to your wedding planner beats dealing with your mom post bar raid.

4)    Regardless of the type of wedding you chose to have, always be realistic about your budget. This can be a tricky, but easily avoidable stumbling block in your planning process. The guestimate given to you by your wedding planner will be a pretty accurate bid of what your big day is going to cost – they talk to vendors directly, obtain bids and then relay the numbers to you based on what you requested. Keep in mind that last minute add-ons beyond what was included in your initial conversations with your wedding planner (even though independently they may not deliver a large blow) add up quickly. The biggest take away here is to maintain open communication with your wedding planner and make smart decisions. No matter how much you intend to spend on your wedding, the last thing you want to do is being paying it off for the first five years of your marriage.

5)    As the bride and groom, you have the power to set the mood for everyone who is attending your wedding! Regardless of whether you choose to do a destination wedding or something more close to home, this still rings true. When your guests see you panic, they will begin to panic too. The unfortunate reality of planning events of any type or size is the unpredictability. Murphy’s Law says it best: anything than can go wrong, will go wrong. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be adequately prepared for mishaps or that your wedding planner can’t fix it, hopefully before you even know it happened! But if you do catch it, instead of making a big dramatic show, you’ll be much better off keeping a smile on your face, trusting that your wedding planner can handle any catastrophe, drama or misfortune that comes your way and enjoying yourself! It’s your wedding and the most important thing is that you’re happy. In fact, walk away from any drama or catastrophe.  If you’re needed, somebody will come get you.  Otherwise sit back, relax, and let the professional handle it! You don’t want all of your memories of one of the most special days of your life to be tainted because you were a Debby Downer!

Howie-pet-weddings-in-viequesI’m off to take my recently adopted island sato (Puerto Rican for “stray”) to the vet for his first check up! Yes, I have been only here two weeks and I’ve already got a pooch… but it’s not really my fault, he adopted me! He showed up on the front porch of Weddings in Vieques the day I started my internship and wouldn’t leave.  Maybe you’ll see him in the second season of the new TLC show “Wedding Island.”  But first you have to tune in on July 17th and July 18th to check out the premiere of TLC’s new show about the entire crew here at Weddings in Vieques, and how they make dreams come true in paradise.  And now I’m a part of that team too!  Click here to see a preview on TLC’s website!

We are so excited!

Kelsi

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