Wedding Planner Blog
- Created: 07 August 2014
Written and Photographed By: Kelly Ann Earls
LeighAnne was in the car ahead of me and I watched as she drove up to a gate for the venue we would work that day for Stephanie and Brice’s wedding. She punched in a code and the gates slowly began to open, when I got the chance to drive through I was astonished at the sight. Chateau Polonez, was the most beautiful venue I have worked yet. As soon as you enter the gates you are met by a drive that leads to a French Chateau. A fountain stands in front just in case the view wasn’t classy enough.
When LeighAnne and I walked into the entrance unpacking our supplies and the Bride’s luggage for the getaway car, I was just as pleased with the inside. A double grand staircase greeted us leading to the rooms the bridal party would be in and also where we would have the guests enjoy cocktails along a balcony which looked down into the ceremony area.
The first thing the Ellanesque team did was check the rooms for the bride and groom to make sure they would be comfortable. Bride first, we opened the door to reveal a lovely room that included a couch, vanity, full length mirror and a table which had champagne and OJ ready for the girls when they arrived. LeighAnne nodded approving the space and started to free the wedding dress from it’s container to hang on the mirror. The light from the windows made the ivory luminescent, I couldn’t wait to see how Stephanie would make it glow even more! We set up the rest of Stephanie’s accessories on the vanity ready for her and then moved across the way to the groom’s room. Inside was certainly manly, leather couch, a table which held glasses for Blue Moon beer and some orange slices. Everything seemed in order there as well and so it was time to check out the ceremony area.
I didn’t think this venue could amaze me further, but it certainly did. They were still setting up chairs, but a giant chandelier hung over a glorious ballroom where a stage stood in front overlooking a veranda with huge bay windows letting light peek through. The florist was setting up stands with bunches of flowers on top which looked like halos of pink, green, and white. So beautiful. A unity candle was set to the side for the families to symbolize becoming one and in the aisle, antique lanterns were set surrounded by flowers. Certainly the most elegant wedding I have worked yet. LeighAnne explained to me that this wedding would be a bit different than the previous ones I had worked. The room where the ceremony was being held was also going to be where the reception would be held. She pointed to curtains on the side of the ceremony area and explained that there were tables already set behind; so when the ceremony ended and the guests went up for cocktails, we would flip the room for dinner and the dance floor.
I looked behind the curtain and smiled at the tables which were just as formal and blushing pink ready to surprise the guests when they returned. I couldn’t wait to help LeighAnne transform the room.
The florist set a huge floral display on a table in the foyer which LeighAnne and I then surrounded with programs and set the guest book in front. We then moved upstairs to start folding the escort cards which had been hand printed in beautiful calligraphy by a friend of the family. That’s when the bride, the mother of the bride, and her bridesmaids all arrived and I was happy to see I wasn’t the only one impressed and in awe of the location. Stephanie was extremely pleased and LeighAnne escorted her to the room to start getting ready and to relax. After we were sure the girls were starting to get make-up and hair done and had refreshments we went back to double checking with vendors, making sure no one had questions and were following the plan LeighAnne had discussed with the bride and groom.
We were on time (as usual) and the groom and his gang had arrived to start getting ready in their own room. LeighAnne helped the men get ready and with her talent for taking care of details big and small she made sure no pocket kerchiefs were out of place, bow ties were straight, and buds were pinned to lapels perfectly. The ceremony time was getting closer and while guests began to enter, the photographers arrived to take “before” pics. Before the ceremony and when the layout was set, LeighAnne told the MOB (mother of the bride) that she could come look at it. She didn’t want to see it till it was all set up. When she saw it, she immediately started to cry, from happiness, so pleased by how beautiful everything looked for her daughter’s special day. It was wonderful to see her so moved and to really appreciate everyone’s hard work. She went back to the bridal room where she, the bride, and the MOG (mother of the groom) all shared a nice moment together on how well it was all going. Probably one of my favorite shots, with the bride between her mother and her soon to be mother in-law.
Time had caught up to us and LeighAnne started getting the bridesmaids and groomsmen in place as I gently asked guests to please take their seats. When the coast was clear the bridal party started lining up down the stairs to be equal to the one they’d walk down the aisle with. LeighAnne looked to me and I was surprised when she asked me to go get Stephanie and her father, whom I had left upstairs to have a private moment alone before the special walk down the aisle. It would be my job to escort them outside and around for Stephanie’s grand entrance. This was a big deal, at least for me, and I was pleased and honored to get the chance. I moved upstairs and knocking quietly peeked in and let them know that it was time and that I would help them down and out. Stephanie and her father were a bit teary and held each other’s hand as I lead them to an elevator that would lead to a side behind the curtains so no guests would see the bride just yet.
As we were heading down the elevator I noticed Stephanie looked a bit nervous and was squeezing her dad’s hand tight. I remembered LeighAnne telling me it was our job as wedding planners to make sure our brides were calm and happy every step of the way and if they weren’t to just tell them to take a nice breath in and out and encourage them. I was nervous, but I pushed that aside, smiled to Stephanie, and told her, “Stephanie, you look absolutely beautiful and everything is going so well!”
She looked to me and smiling back asked, “Really?”
I nodded and looked to her and her father (who also looked a bit nervous) and I had them take a breath in and out like LeighAnne suggested and immediately they looked so much more relaxed and it was a wonderful feeling to have helped with that. Now Stephanie could just enjoy! We exited the elevator and I moved ahead a bit to close a curtain that tried to give the guests an early preview of Stephanie. Then we went through a side door and holding the back of her dress up a bit we walked around till we were back at the grand door leading into the Chateau. LeighAnne was there to meet us and was beaming as she also made sure Stephanie was alright and gave last minute instructions in a calm and reassuring voice. Then the ushers opened the door and with a smile to her dad, Stephanie started to walk with him to her fiancé.
The ceremony was wonderful just as we promised Stephanie it would be and as soon as it was over the guests were escorted upstairs. The new husband and wife took pictures with family and bridal party and then Stephanie and Brice were lescorted upstairs to have some private time till their entrance into the reception. While guests mingled upstairs, the flip of the ceremony room began! The curtains were pulled back and tables moved to the center where the bridal party would sit and a section of the dance floor was left open for well, dancing. The cakes were set up on the stage. The bride’s cake was a traditional white layered cake, and for the groom, a golf course with a special shout out to A&M.
Everything was set up and the DJ started some foot tapping music as the bridal party was introduced in pairs each entering with their signature dance moves and finally Stephanie and Brice entered also dancing it up as husband and wife and taking their seats. Everyone said grace and then were served dinner made by Chef Adam of the venue with tender chicken, pesto pasta, and rosemary potatoes. The toasts were made, the cake was cut, and then there were the special dances among the bridal party. Then it was time, TO PARTY! The DJ turned up the dancing music and the guests and bridal party were ready for it. They danced for hours with no lack of energy and were just having the best time. A fun section was when people gave money for a honeymoon fund to dance with either the bride or groom. It was certainly a night to remember and towards the end of the party guests were given adorable little Whataburger bags with midnight snacks of replicated honey biscuit chicken sandwiches actually prepared by chef Adam. The white and orange Whataburger bags actually said What-A-Night and had the couple’s initials and the date of the wedding. The guests loved it and some were taken home to enjoy later.
So it was time for a sparkler exit and the couple took off in an Audi all smiles and so in love. The guests waved them off till they were out of the gates on the way to their new life and then still smiling made their way home themselves.The MOB and the FOB came up to LeighAnne and myself and the MOB stated that we had made a believer out of her husband! Confused, we looked to the father who smiled sheepishly and the mother went on to explain that at first he didn’t see the need for a wedding planner, but after today and after all we had done, he admitted to his wife that she was right in pushing to hire us. Such a wonderful thing to hear and we were so pleased that we made him a believer in Ellanesque Weddings and Events. They both gave us big hugs and thanked us once again as they headed out together, a lovely couple themselves. LeighAnne and I congratulated each other on a great night and after cleaning and loading up any supplies that were ours, we too headed home.
When I got home I looked through all the special moments I had captured at that wedding and thought over the previous ones I had the chance to work. What a wonderful job it is to be a wedding coordinator and to be able to witness these special events because of Ellanesque.
Walk Into A Dream With Ellanesque
- Created: 07 August 2014
Written and Photographed by: Kelly Ann Earls
Note: This was my first wedding experience with Ellanesque and I just had to share! Post was originally May 10th.
One of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced happened because of Ellanesque Weddings & Events. I witnessed a small portion of the hard work that went into the final preparations of Ashley and Freddy's wedding. Ellanesque owners, Lauren and Erik, were kind enough to allow me to observe their work in order to gain knowledge in event planning. In addition, it allowed me to experience firsthand what it's like to walk into a bride's dream for a few hours.
It was a beautiful, sunny day when I arrived at Ashley's parents' home where the wedding was to be held. I was told to head to the back where Lauren and her coordinator LeighAnne were setting up for the outside ceremony. As I moved around the side of the house, I witnessed a flurry of activity as vendors rushed to set up chairs, drink stations, flowers, etc. I introduced myself to Lauren and LeighAnne and was informed that LeighAnne would be in charge of this particular wedding, so I would follow her lead.
I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped as I was lead into the tent set up for the reception. Wow! It was just breathtaking how they transformed the space into an elegant getaway. This was just the skeleton I was told, they weren't even done setting up yet! An abundance of peonies, hydrangeas and roses overflowed in various places until the florist could arrange them into centerpieces.
Lauren and LeighAnne consulted their clipboards which included sheets and sheets of tasks to complete. They gave me small jobs to help them get through their timetable, which was broken into 30 minute increments from early morning until the final clean up well past midnight. Using a seating chart, I helped to set up the table markers, folded and placed escort cards, and distributed fun AdLib cards allowing the guests to give the happy couple words of wisdom.
As we moved along with our tasks, I watched in amazement as the dream continued to unfold and the beauty intensified. There seemed to be no detail that Ellanesque didn't consider, from the lighting effects to the specific fold of the golden linens on the tables.
After an hour of assisting with a variety of small tasks, and observing Lauren and LeighAnne complete a multitude of others, I realized I was in the calm before the storm. Soon everyone began to arrive at once. This included the bakers with the cakes, the caterers, the bartenders for the cocktail table, the DJ, the servers, musicians for the ceremony, the band for the reception, and even some early guests. Consummate organizers, Lauren and LeighAnne oversaw it all with grace and professionalism. If a vendor of guest had any questions or issues, they only had to ask and the two women in black were on it.
However, being a wedding planner is not always a piece of wedding cake. Not only do they have to oversee the needs of vendors, they also cope with unexpected situations that even the most organized wedding planner can't control. Their first priority is to calmly deal with any inevitable hiccups, with the proverbial spoonful of sugar, so that the bridal party doesn't have to. Situation like delayed shuttle service resulting in restless and impatient guests, the DJ missing music cues, and guests going exploring where they shouldn't, are all handled as promptly and efficiently as possible. Clients are left calm and happy and free to enjoy the special day.
Finally, everything was ready to make this a wedding to remember for Ashley, Freddy, and all their family and friends. We took one last look at all Ellanesque and the vendors had accomplished and just...wow! The dream started to come to life...
Guests took their seats, the bridesmaids and groomsmen gathered to start the procession, and I saw the bride for the first time. You know how they say brides glow? Well, Ashley was luminous as she took her cheery father's arm and flashed me a smile. All the choices and plans she had been making for months had finally come together, and all she had to do now was enjoy it. Lauren and LeighAnne did last minute inspections before the bride walked down the aisle. All that was needed was to fluff the veil and extend the train of the dress, and Ashley stepped into Freddy's view for the first time. AS the ceremony began, Lauren and LeighAnne became visibly emotional. Sharing a moment of joy with the bride's family who had become more than clients.
The ceremony was perfection. Classical music played as the couple said their vows and with a kiss...IT WAS BACK TO WORK for the Ellanesque team!
While the guests enjoyed cocktails, the women of Ellanesque were already onto phase two: the reception. I swear the theme song for Mission Impossible was playing in my head as once again I observed them ensuring all the details were in place. The food was set, the band was prepped, the lighting was right, and the air conditioning on (thank God!). They opened the doors to the guests who marveled at the elegant and sophisticated setting. The music began, the food was served, and there was laughter and smiles from the oldest guest to the youngest.