My time as a Weddings in Vieques Intern has come to a close. I can’t believe that five months can go by so quickly, but when there are 24 weddings happening in that time span, I guess it’s not that surprising.
I never had a solid concept of what I was expecting as a wedding planning intern. I knew there would be some flowers, scheduling, and décor set up. It turns out wedding planning isn’t at all what I was expecting. My intern partner Devon already told us how it differs from the movies, but in my mind I was picturing this glamorous internship in the Caribbean and that’s not exactly what I got.
Turns out, there are two sides to every coin and the same is true in wedding planning. There were some glamorous aspects, but as much as I don’t want to admit it, there is a not-so-glamorous side to being a wedding planner too. At Weddings in Vieques, Sandy makes sure that we see all sides of the business so we know exactly what we’re getting into in our future careers. I want to touch on a couple of these aspects that stood out to me, and I hope that it can give you a better picture of what wedding planners really do.
One big aspect of being a wedding planner involves setting up for the wedding. Sure, we have a crew of guys to help with the heavy lifting and dirty work, but you don’t just get to sit your fanny on a sofa and point. No siree, you are up and moving with the rest of them. You get dirty and sweaty and as Sandy likes to say, you have to go home before the wedding starts to “de-funk.” Moving furniture to make room for tables at a villa, raking the beach to clear the massive amounts of seaweed that popped up overnight, or hiking up and down a small hill (that eventually feels like a mountain) as you go between the ceremony and reception sites are just a few ways to make your sweat glands activate. Also, we’re based out of the Caribbean, which seems like paradise, until you’re dripping from running around in the heat.
Also, when people think of wedding planning they often only consider the actual wedding. But there is a lot of work that goes into it before the big day arrives. If you want the vendors to show up with the right stuff at the right time, it is up to your wedding planner to coordinate it. We are calling and emailing (SO MUCH EMAIL) vendors with contracts, schedules, and questions. We are taking care of everything for you. Then there is the décor prep that we have to do. The linens and vases don’t clean themselves and there aren’t magic elves that pack all of your prep tubs. That is us, in the office, counting inventory and organizing it so everything is in place.
Meanwhile, while we’re planning your wedding, we also are updating our marketing sites with new pictures and reviews, performing calls with potential clients, and continuing to sell our services. We’re always booking new weddings and adding them to the calendar. And believe it or not, all of those weddings require prep work too! It is a continuous circle and (excuse the bad pun) like a wedding ring, it has no beginning and no end!
I never realized that as a wedding planner how much time is not only spent in the office, but out of it. There are always errands to run and if you let them pile up, you spend the entire afternoon driving around the island. We have deliveries to make, post office stops to pick up crazy packages from brides, and we’re constantly buying supplies so we are stocked and ready to go for the upcoming weddings.
After going through all the prep work and set up, we finally get to the big event – the wedding weekend! Believe it or not, there are also some not so glamorous aspects about this, too. You don’t just get to sit on your butt and watch it happen, and no you don’t get to party with everyone (if you thought that was the case, you’re crazy!). Once the wedding festivities start, we are constantly running around, putting out fires, and dealing with obnoxious wedding guests. Yes, you will have obnoxious guests at your wedding. If I’ve learned anything from my time here, it’s that every wedding has at least one.
Our job is never finished that day. During your ceremony we’re prepping cocktails, during cocktails, we’re prepping dinner, and so on and so forth. By the time we get to the end of the reception, we’re prepping for tear down. On top of all that, we’re dressed in full wedding garb and can never look like we’re rushing from one thing to the next. It would be so much easier if we could wear tennis shoes and running shorts, but for some reason that’s frowned upon.
Now don’t get me wrong, being a wedding planner does have its glamorous moments. I mean you get to make someone’s dream come true. That alone is beautiful and every wedding is different and unique, so getting to be a part of them is very rewarding. There is a certain sense of satisfaction that comes with being a wedding planner. You get to literally watch all your hard work and long hours come together as someone’s perfect day. Plus, it has some perks, seeing the beautiful dresses and shoes, eating delicious food and cake, and watching your clients have a fantastic day isn’t bad at all. Honestly, it’s downright amazing. I love the feeling that comes after a wedding, when we leave knowing that the bride and groom are happy. It makes you all warm and fuzzy inside.
So you want to be a wedding planner? I say that’s great! Go for it! It’s not for the weak. You work long hours, you work weekends, and you work at two in the morning when a hysterical bride is calling you. Actually, your job is never done. So don’t think it’s all rainbows and butterflies. But you do get to be part of someone’s happily ever after and that is pretty cool.
I’ve learned so much during my time at Weddings in Vieques. It has been an eye-opening experience and I’m leaving with more knowledge and skills than I know what to do with. They say knowledge is power and I am taking this with me. I am sure it will come in handy as I move forward down the road. A big thank you to Sandy and everyone at WIV, it’s been a blast!
Kayla Seeger, now officially a member of the Weddings in Vieques Alumni Club