Introducing Guest Blogger
(and Newlywed) Courtney Kern

Real Weddings
Brides guest blogger Courtney Kern

Photo: Courtesy of Turnquist Photography

What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Newlywed Courtney Kern is the owner of Events Beyond, a wedding and event design company. Engaged since 2007—yes, she's heard every Five Year Engagement joke—she knew exactly how her dream day would unfold, but that doesn't mean the process was always a cake walk.

As an event designer and coordinator, you would think planning my own wedding would be easy—or at least a little bit easier than it is for the average bride. But that really wasn't the case! I'm endlessly inspired—I love so many styles, colors, and themes that focusing on planning one special day (when I have enough ideas for at least fifty special days) was really a challenge.

After getting engaged over the holidays in December 2007, we started planning almost immediately. We found an ideal venue and selected the menu, but then we decided to put on the brakes. Concerned about the faltering economy (and our job prospects as the young and newly hired), we decided to be practical and ride out the uncertain economic times. In 2010 we recommenced planning and decided 2012 would be our year. Although some of the big things changed, like the location and the size of our guest list, most of our original vision remained intact. We had selected the color scheme, a small plates-driven menu, and a ballet-inspired theme. (Feel free to explore my wedding inspiration board on Pinterest!) Now it was just a matter of committing to and executing the plan.

Realizing we would either be working our wedding, or have to enlist the help of family and friends, we decided to hire a day-of planner. I may be biased, but even brides with modest budgets should seriously consider bringing on a planner in some capacity. (While full time coordinators and planners will charge approximately 15 to 20 percent of your total wedding budget, many will offer a flat fee based on service level or different planning packages.)

As a dedicated planner, it's hard for me to trust some one else to do my job, but even I had to admit that I wasn't going to be running around on my wedding day setting up, straightening linens, lighting candles, and attending to the countless details that make every special event run smoothly. An event coordinator is your own personal traffic cop, ensuring that the bridal party, guests, and vendors are all where they need to be, when they're supposed to be. I have seen weddings (and other special events, too!) ruined by late, too little, or a complete lack of food, poor lighting, limp flowers, no-show DJs, photographers, and more. (Not to mention that I've seen disreputable vendors take advantage of couples planning their first—and likely most expensive—large-scale event.) In short, planners come equipped with proven vendors they trust.

After much consideration, we decided to go with a day-of planner. Ben and I had peace of mind knowing we could relax with our bridal party the day before becoming Mr. and Mrs.—as well as eat, drink, dance, and mingle with our guests on the day-of with no worries. Just the way the big day should be!

—Courtney Kern

Check back throughout the week to read more about Courtney's wedding planning process, and get caught up with our other bride guests blogger, Anna Maltby.

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