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Be a Guest at Your Own Wedding

Trade Secrets

Just About Married

Anna Leath of JAM explains what a day-of planner does and why you should hire one a month before the wedding

JAM Prospect-Park-Picnic-House_-Photo-by-Readyluck-900x500

Just About Married "Day-of" Coordinators & Vendor Referrals

Founded: 2009

Expertise: Making sure your wedding day goes off without a hitch

JAM WORKS ON BOTH LOCAL AND DESTINATION WEDDINGS. PHOTO BY READYLUCK

What is JAM?

Just About Married (JAM) is a day-of coordination and vendor referral service for weddings and events. About a month prior to the big day, we meet with clients for a very long, detailed meeting called ‘The Marathon Meeting’ where we review their contracts and wedding-day details, and troubleshoot any missing pieces. We also like to get a sense of the couple and what their vision for the day is.

If they’ve made it this far, why do couples need a planner now?

Our mission is to give our clients the space and peace they need to enjoy their last month of preparations. From this point forward, we are the point of contact for all vendors involved, hopefully relieving the couple of logistical questions.

From all the information we’ve collected, and the information shared with us by the vendors, we create a complete run of show for the day – from load in to load out, a minute-by-minute timeline. We circulate this client-approved timeline to all the vendors, so on the day of, we are all moving in the same direction, and everyone knows what is happening at each moment. Our staff has extremely detailed notes to execute (from the color of the napkins to who is giving toasts) and we work together to cover the day from morning until the last guest has left the reception.

Can you explain what a day-of planner does and why it’s not all done in one day?

JAM starts service a month prior with our ‘day-of’  clients, because, quite frankly, we have no idea how a coordinator can jump in any later than that and still execute seamlessly. We have found that a month before the big day, couples have secured their major vendors and have a clear vision, at least for the big pieces, so it’s a good time for us to jump in and take ownership.

Even though the major items are nailed down, you’d be surprised what can change or surface during final planning; not just with the couple, but with vendors and family as well.
There are so many details that need to be shared in order to thoroughly execute a vision–which in some cases is over a year in creating. Working together over time secures a relationship and trust, which is almost more important for the couple’s mental state than making sure the dessert is precisely served at 10:05 pm. Peace of mind is absolutely priceless! I can’t tell you how many times over our month of service that things organically are revealed like, “my mom and dad haven’t seen each other or spoken in 15 years” or “did I tell you my aunt is in a wheelchair and will need help” or “we’ve invited 10 kids and we’ll be ordering special meals for them.”

We have very high standards for service and we absolutely won’t compromise. Our month-of model has served our clients well, so we are sticking to it.

JAM’S MONTH-OF WEDDING CHECKLIST

  • All of your vendors should be hired; deposits given, payments made.
  • Transportation should be arranged.
  • Toast and Speech givers should be pretty much solidified, unless you’re an impromptu type of couple.
  • Order of the ceremony procession, if you are having a procession during your wedding.
  • If your RSVP date is early enough – get that ceremony and dinner seating done.
  • Music selections for each portion of the day and your photo shot list.
  • Make envelopes for each payment due – gratuities too. Clearly label them, seal them and hand them off to your coordination staff asap on the day of, or even better, when you drop off your personal items.

Our mission is to give our clients the space and peace they need to enjoy their last month of preparations.—Anna Leath

What do your planners pack in their day-of “emergency” kit?

Our bridal attendants and coordinators carry everything a couple could possibly need – and it’s not just for the brides: grooms pop buttons and get emotional too you know!

The basics that every day-of kit should have are: mints, gum, sewing kit, double sided tape, safety pins, bobby pins, lint rollers, tissues, band aids, scissors. Safety pins. Did I mention safety pins?

What do you recommend brides do on the morning of their wedding?

Relax. Work out. Meditate. Sleep in. Listen to great music. Enjoy what is about to happen. Surround yourself with people who you feel comfortable with, even just one person. The entire day will be full of people who want to be there, from all times in your life, to celebrate you. It’s truly overwhelming and beautiful. Embrace it.

What are some tasks a bride can delegate to her mom, bridesmaids and even the groom on the day of?

EVERYTHING. There shouldn’t be anything you feel you have to do – just what you want to do. Our Bridal Attendant is with the bride starting early in the day to make sure all of the aspects of the morning are running well – from stylists arriving and photographers shooting, to getting into the dress on time and keeping ‘over eager’ family at arm’s length.

We strongly suggest that you take care of all final payments and gratuities days prior to the wedding – setting them all into sealed labeled envelopes, which you hand off to our attendant immediately upon her arrival. No one should have to stop dancing during their wedding, to step aside and sign a cc form or be asked for final payments!

JAM: THE DETAILS

  • Fees vary depending on location and wedding size, but the base package – one location in the New York City area starts at $3,500.
  • The base package includes month of coordination, vendor referrals, and a staff of 3 on the day of – your Lead Coordinator, 2nd Coordinator and Bridal Attendant.
  • The Bridal Attendant works with the bride from the early part of the day, making sure everything is running on time, executing photo lists, and wrangling family, and of course troubleshooting any sorts of emergencies.
  • The Lead Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator are on site for the venue and ceremony set up and execution.
  • The Bridal Attendant remains on staff through cocktail hour, settling the couple in and handing off all items to the rest of our team, and the coordinators are there to execute the entire timeline through the rest of the evening – packing everything up at the end of the night, and sending the couple on their way.
Anna Leath JAM

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