What I Learned From Planning My Own Wedding - Published on THEKNOT.COM
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Monday, March 11, 2019
By Kelly L. Sherlock
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5 Things a Wedding Planner Learned From Her Own Wedding

Seeing it from the other side gave planner Kelly Sherlock a new perspective.
by Kelly Sherlock

I've been a wedding and event planner in New Orleans for the past 10 years. I've given countless tips and pieces of advice to brides, grooms, mothers, fathers, flower girls, bridesmaids and so on.  If it's a wedding related question—from budget worries to family drama—I can answer it, and I probably have answered it multiple times. But then it was my turn, and I finally got to see if I would take my own advice. 

In February 2018, I married my love, a wedding photographer, in downtown New Orleans in the same gazebo where he proposed a year and a half prior. The weather was unpredictably perfect. Our ceremony was emotional, yet candid, and super personal as it was officiated by my brother. We had no wedding party, just his (now our) two sons. Postceremony, we were led by a brass band via a second line down Fulton Street to the Chicory, where we had the most amazing reception—complete with a stadium-themed food station, photo booth with pictures of our pups as props, a dessert bar and jaw-dropping candlelight throughout the room. Outside was a dance floor and stage complete with one of the best bands in New Orleans. We dreamed of re-creating a Mardi Gras tradition known as Bacchus Bash that consisted of a block party on the Sunday before Mardi Gras, and that's what we did. We even ended the night with a dance party in the middle of the street with our friends, the Mardi Gras Indians. 


1. Hire the best of the best. 

The number one thing I preach to my clients, or anyone getting married, is to hire professional vendors you trust. When you meet with someone or even speak with a potential vendor over the phone, you have a feeling in your gut. If you know nothing else about them, you at least know how they make you feel. Trust that. If you're in a consultation and you feel like they're not understanding your vision or hearing you, get out and move on. You have to feel like they "get you" and if they don't, they're not the right vendor for you. For me, it was a bit easier. I knew I'd need the best of the best so I'd be able to relax and leave the work to them on the day of the wedding. Everyone assumed I would be at the venue all day micromanaging, but I wasn't—I knew I was in good hands.  


2. Decide if you want a first look—on your own terms. 

I've always been a bit against the first look, mainly because I feel like photographers push it on couples a lot. I never want someone choosing something just because the vendor said so. I was dead set against it while planning our wedding. I love the tradition of seeing each other the first time as you walk down the aisle.  But weeks leading up to the day, I had so much anxiety that I decided to see my husband before the ceremony thinking it would calm me down—and it did! Ultimately, I'm glad we did it because it was the right decision for us.

3. Don't leave tasks for the wedding day. 

My only regret for the wedding day was the actual day of the wedding. I loved the time I had with my friends and I certainly didn't have much to do that day, but I did leave it until the day of the wedding to finalize/write my vows.  Technically, I was just transferring them to the card from which they would be read, but still, it was enough to give me something to do that day, and I want to pass the lesson on to others that you shouldn't do that. Leave the wedding day for nothing but champagne and having fun! Be the person who has her dress hung up, her shoes and jewelry displayed on the bed and her reception bag packed so there's nothing else to do that day but relax and be pampered.

4. Surround yourself with love.

Part of the anxiety that I had the day of the wedding was not just because I had not yet physically written my vows. For me, I built up the fear that sharing my feelings and reading my vows in front of so many people would be embarrassing.  Once I got in front of everyone and I was standing with my husband and my brother, all of my fears went away. When I looked out into the crowd, I didn't see anyone that I should be embarrassed in front of or anyone that wouldn't support the two of us.  Surrounding yourself with the people who'll make you feel comfortable enough to enjoy saying those vows starts at the beginning of the planning process. Be the couple who ignores the hundreds of people that think they should be invited just because you "like" each other's posts on Facebook. Invite the people who are listening to your words and embracing your happiness, not the people who are judging your flowers.

5. Keep the two of you at the forefront of everything. 

Planning a wedding can be stressful, and the opinions and unsolicited advice can be overwhelming. For me, I felt like I had a pretty good grip on our plans and the way the process would be. And then came the pressure. I found myself having so much anxiety over things I didn't even care about. That's when my now-husband gave me the best piece of advice: Stop worrying about what everyone else was expecting. I'd put so much pressure on myself worrying about what other people were thinking that I had lost sight of what we really wanted. That's the cardinal rule of wedding planning: Don't lose sight of what matters—and that's the two of you. Be the couple that calms each other and keeps each other grounded and focused. That's the key to a successful wedding, and a successful marriage.





Planner Kelly Sherlock LLC | Ceremony Gazebo on Fulton Street | Reception Venue The Chicory | Photographer Brandon O'Neal | Videographer Shotgun Films | Florist Bella Blooms | Rentals Luminous Events | Staging, Linen and Flooring YUR Events | Officiant Lance Sherlock | Wedding Dress Romona Keveza, Wedding Belles, New Orleans |  Shoes Aminah Abdul Jillil| Hair Trish Popovich Seeling | Makeup Makeup by Meggan | Tuxedos John's Tuxedo,  Metairie, LA | Ceremony Musicians Harry Hardin | Second Line Kinfolk Brass Band | Reception Band Groovy 7Photo Booth Boogie Booth | Video Booth Kelly Sherlock LLC and Aught 5 Productions 


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