Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"More Champ?"

I know that I'm behind on our wedding recaps, but my work burn out is stifling my ability to create flowery prose. Also, I need to take a break at looking at photos of myself. I never thought that I'd say this, but I'm tired of looking at our wedding pix (but mostly tired of looking at pix of myself). The more that I look at them, the more that I find to criticize. So, I'm stopping for a bit. In the interim, I thought that I'd completely blow my original topic schedule and work on some vendor reviews - specifically a review of my day-of-coordinator, Katie Kozlowski of Dettagli Weddings.

I know that there are some newly-engaged girls reading my blog, so I wanted to share the scoop before Katie gets booked up for all of the good dates in 2009!

The biggest piece of advice that I'd give to brides-to-be (other than to tone your arms so that you don't hate your pix too!) is to hire a day-of-coordinator (DOC) to run the show. Like everyone else, Andy and I definitely didn't have an infinite wedding budget. Not to mention that, after a few caterers told me, in front of Andy, that a DOC was waste of money and that "[they'd] basically be [our] DOC," I definitely got some, "whatever"s from Andy after I brought it up. But right before we went to bed on our wedding night, Andy said, "I don't know what you paid for Katie, but she was worth every penny." I honestly believe that Katie was the force behind my calm demeanor on the wedding day. If you're Type A or a control freak, this is the best thing that you can do for yourself. Knowing that someone is there to take care of it all will release you from the back of your own mind!

I had spoken to two wedding planners before calling Katie at my caterer, Briana's, suggestion. As they say, the third time was definitely a charm! The very first time that we talked on the phone, Andy thought that I was on the phone with one of my girlfriends. This girl is Sweet. As. Pie. But, she's also incredibly professional. At both of our meetings, she was fun while keeping scatterbrained, ADD me to an agenda. Come the week of wedding, she did everything for me:
  • I didn't speak to a single vendor during the two weeks before the wedding. I gave everyone an idea of what I wanted and told them that "Katie Kozlowski has final say on all decisions." She did it all. I couldn't even tell you when anyone was at the venue setting up.
  • She picked up my giant carload of wedding projects on Thursday morning and, when we arrived at the venue on Friday night, everything was magically its place.
  • I - completely unplanned - handed her $1,000 cash in an envelope at the rehearsal dinner with a simple, "There's a spreadsheet waiting in your inbox outlining who gets what" and she didn't bat an eye. When I spoke to her at 8:30 a.m. the next day, it was already organized into envelopes.
    • Re: tips - Katie saved us thousands of dollars - literally. I was using the Martha Stewart tip guide and some other online resources to calculate tips. I had planned on about $3,000 of gratuities, including the caterer, who did not include gratuity in the invoice. Andy and I were PANICKING the day that the invoices were due. We had total buyer's remorse. I e-mailed Katie for advice, sent her the total of all invoices and the pertinent information  - our planned tip, independent business, business owner, etc. - and she told us who should get what. (Apparently, if it's not specified in the contract, you don't have to tip 20% to caterers if you tip the captains, waiters, bartenders, coat check, etc. individually.)
  • At the wedding, Katie was everywhere. She was doing things for me before I even knew that they needed to be done. I'd be talking to someone and she'd whisper, "More champ?"* and be off refilling my champagne glass faster than a jack rabbit on a date. (I've always wanted to use that phrase!) At one point, I had seen her standing across the venue in my peripheral vision. Not even 30 seconds later, she was behind me whispering, I just saw you touching your hair, let's put a bobby pin in it. I don't even know where she pulled that poppy bin out of.
    • Whenever I mention Katie's name now, Andy says, "More shamp?" in a girly voice. He's a nerd.
Over the summer, I met with Katie on a particularly rough day after my grandma passed away. I had a mini breakdown and confided my sadness to her. She was so nice. She offered me her Blackberry to check my e-mail, consoled me, and never brought it up again. There are not enough words to express how much I appreciated her discretion.

I don't want to belittle her professionalism by commenting on how adorable she is, but I seriously want to shrink her down, carry her in my pocket, and steal her entire wardrobe - or at least her shoes and jewelery - while she's not looking.

Katie has left her position at a major production company to pursue wedding planning and coordination on a full-time basis. I can't wait to see what the future holds for her exciting venture. You can contact Katie via the Dettagli Weddings web site. You can read more about her previous gigs on her blog.

P.S. Look at how much fun she had on her own wedding day:

Images: Katie's Wedding - Beauty on Call; Our Wedding - Sarah Alair Photography



It sounds like you had an AWESOME DOC!! I'm hoping my day runs as smoothly as yours :)

Karla said...

FABULOUS post. I think Katie is one of the best kept secrets out there! I used her for my November wedding (Briana recommended her to me as well) and I *ditto* everything you wrote. She was an absolute lifesaver and one of the more genuine, sweet people I've ever met. Engaged ladies out there - book Katie quickly, she's some of the best money you'll spend on your entire wedding.

PS - love your blog, you're a riot! :)

cessc said...

where can I find those shoes? The Tory shoes? I LOVE them

ChiBrideToBe said...

Great, great post! Once we finally get it together and set our wedding date, booking Katie is the first thing I am going to do.

jessica lynn said...

i could not agree more about hiring a DOC! great post!

soon to be MRS. K said...

Wow- awesome article. I am planning my summer wedding now. Since your wedding is over now- you might want to check out the awesome giveaway I am hosting:


I think you would really like the cards and please let your readers know about Shakespeare's Bride.

Thanks and Congrats!