Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wedding Day What-Ifs

Being proactive is part of what an experienced wedding planner or wedding coordinator does.  It's her job, she's got to be ready for just about anything, so don't stress over things that "could happen" on your wedding day.  With a professional in charge, you won't be the one worrying about the what-ifs. 

Not to be negative, but my years of experience have provided me with some challenges that I would lie to share.  Here are five things that have happened during my watch, and the ways I handled them.
  1. The rings got "lost," or that's what we thought.  It seems the wedding rings didn't get into the groom's bag when he was putting together the items he needed for the day.  Of course, his best man should have been on top of this, but when the photographer started prep shots, the rings were nowhere to be found.  What did we do?  We borrowed the bride's mom's and dad's rings for the ceremony.  There was no way anyone could get back to the groom's apartment to find them in time.  Moral of the story:  make sure your maid of honor and best man take their jobs seriously. There are certain duties that must be performed.  Your wedding planner can brief them if you like, but they need this information before committing.
  2. The ceremony officiant got stuck in a pileup on the highway and was not able to get to the ceremony on time.  Solution: the groom's uncle stepped up to the plate at the last minute and performed the ceremony after a lengthy phone conversation with the officiant. The uncle was not a ordained minister, but when the officiant finally arrived (one hour into the reception), he signed the license application, and everything was fine.  Not too many guests knew this had even happened. 
  3. Surprised by a sudden thunderstorm!
    All outdoor weddings have weather risks. This summer storm was not even on the radar, but right before the ceremony, very strong gusts of wind arose.  Reception tables were turned over, tablecloths were flying everywhere, glass containers were crashing to the ground, and the sound equipment even turned over.  Needless to say, the ceremony was delayed somewhat, but with the quick work of my staff and the venue staff, we uprighted all the ceremony chairs and got the ceremony décor back in place for the ceremony to proceed.  During the ceremony, we were able to rearrange the reception site and redo the arrangements that had gotten blown to pieces.  It was not the disaster that we thought at the time; we did what we had to do, and the evening was as beautiful as planned.  And, the bride has some beautiful images of her veil flying in the wind!
  4. One of the groomsmen fainted on the altar during the ceremony.  Actually, standing in the back of the church, I did not see him go down, but did realize something was happening when the minister turned his head and made a remark like "See about him, guys,"  and kept going with the vows. 
    Two of the other groomsmen just stepped over quietly and helped the fallen soldier. He was a little woozy, but able to stand there a few more minutes, then recess as rehearsed.  I had a bottle of water waiting for him at the back of the church, and made him sit down until I was sure he was ok.  Nothing major, but it's something the guests will remember.
  5. A bridesmaid failed to show. 
    After several unanswered phone calls, I had the maid of honor just give up and did my best to reassure the bride that we would find her missing attendant as soon as possible.  I had my assistant go to the hotel where the wedding party had spent the night and see if she was there.  It seems I was the only one not privy to the fact that the bridesmaid had a big fight with her boyfriend by phone the evening before, and decided to leave during the night to drive home.  The girls knew about the fight, but no one knew she had gone home.  Needless to say, the bride was somewhat upset, so it was our job to try and keep her stress level as low as possible.  We did this by focusing on the beauty and excitement of the day and the fact that she would be married to the man of her dreams regardless of whether this maid was present or not.  We adjusted the processional accordingly, and everything turned out great. I'm sure that the bride had words with this "friend" after all was said and done, but we couldn't let this spoil the day for her.
I would just like to emphasize that  most likely you will not see any of these scenarios on your wedding day, but this is where an experienced coordinator proves her worth many times over.  Every wedding presents challenges; some serious; some not so serious.  But, it's the expertise and knowledge that a seasoned professional wedding coordinator brings to the table that can save your day and save you from the stress that situations like these can bring. Don't think you and your mom or good friend can handle it all.  Have a professional at the helm and let her do her job!!

Photo credits:  Gretchen B Photography; Allison Lewis Photography, She Finds

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Those All Important Wedding Day Details

In this post, I'd like to discuss the importance of the details when planning your wedding day.  It's only natural for you to first address the major elements like the venue, finding your dream wedding dress, the wedding rings, the honeymoon and the reception food.  But, in my experience planning, and attending weddings, the details are what I remember most:  the flavor of the groom's cake, the symbolism of the cake topper, that sentimental touch added to the bridal bouquet, the unique guest favors.  Have you put enough thought into these details?
A rosary brought back from a trip to Rome added a special sentiment for this bridal bouquet.
It just takes a little extra thought and preparation to add these special touches.  And, always try to discuss with your wedding photographer that you want to capture these details.  Here are a few images to offer inspiration and thought:

Personalize or localize your guest favors
Clever diy signs keep the mood light and fun.
Let the groom express himself with his favorite dessert
Make the groom's table fun and personal

Groom carries sentimental pocket watch

Does your groom have a hobby or past-time?

A memory table dedicated to those no longer with you.
Does Aunt Mary make wonderful jams or jellies?  Let those close to you know how special they are.

Put a little extra thought or time into making your wedding details meaningful and full of sentiment.  Your wedding planner can make helpful suggestions.  So, as you are planning the wedding décor, wedding cakes, or working with your wedding designer, remember to include some special touches that make the wedding yours and one that your guests will remember for a long time.    

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Distinctively Different Destination Wedding

There's nothing more beautiful or romantic than a wedding on the beach.  What more could you and your guests ask for?  Sounds of the waves, sand under your toes, soft sea breeze or exquisite sunsets? 
A beautiful beach wedding . . . because the weather is beautiful.
Sounds like perfection - but what if those waves are lapping up over the seawall, that wet sand feeling like mud between your toes, that soft sea breeze blowing so hard your veil goes flying down the beach, not being able to see the sunset because of the rain clouds hovering overhead?

This is when that dreamy beach wedding becomes the dreaded beach wedding. 

AAt JACKIE ROWELL EVENTS, we offer the perfect solution.  Why not consider something outside the box?  Offering rolling mountain tops, sunsets that display God's glorious rainbow of colors, leaves that provide your natural  décor palette in golds, oranges, reds and greens, or even a winter wonderland with real snow and shimmering icicles, the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Carolinas can be your distinctively different destination wedding site.  
The mill at High Hampton Inn and Cuntry Club
We have established relationships with some of North Carolina's most exclusive resorts and country clubs for you to choose from: High Hampton Inn and Country Club, The Grove Park Inn, and The Old Edwards Inn.  We also have available a horse farm on the outskirts of Asheville with a small chapel for your ceremony.  Each of these venues offers outdoor areas as well as indoor, for inclement weather.  Either way, your ceremony and reception are guaranteed to be different from anything your guests have experienced at other weddings.  At any of these venues, they will be bathed in luxury and nature simultaneously. 
The quaint chapel on the Oak Tree Farm property

The Blue Ridge Mountain range as a backdrop

Take advantage of the natural beauty for your ceremony.

Father/Daughter talk that scenic walk to the altar.
How joyous can a ceremony get?
Oak Tree Farm is a back-to-nature remote venue near Asheville, that is surrounded by the beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains.  The small chapel on the property is a storybook ceremony waiting just for you.  Enjoy the owners' picturesque  farmhouse for getting dressed and staying out of sight until ready for the ceremony, then after the ceremony, treat yourself and your guests to the fresh air and beauty that only Mother Nature can provide.

If you are planning a 2015 wedding, why not give your guests the experience of a lifetime and plan a wedding where they will breathe and feel the luxuries that only the Blue Ridge Mountains can provide.  We will take care of all the arrangements for you.  The only thing you have to do is decide which beautiful venue provides the perfect setting for your distinctively different destination wedding.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

LOOK!! We're on the Jumbotron!

Not only was Heather and Stewart's wedding a fun, exciting time, but the setting was amazing!  How many couples can say that their wedding reception happened at a ballpark?  And, how many people can say they've seen their faces on a giant screen for hundreds of guests to enjoy?  That's exactly what this cute, fun-loving couple can tell their children one day.

Heather and Stewart's ceremony was short, but very sweet and special at Avondale United Methodist Church in a trendy,  historic section of Birmingham, Alabama.  They enjoyed doing their photo shoot at the neighborhood park across the street, were able to ride to their reception at Regions Field in a vintage trolley with their wedding party and depart in a vintage white Jaguar--quite a bit of history encompassed in the day.

Enjoy the images by Allison Crouch Lewis,

Coats Classic Cars

photography by

trolley by
 florals by
Men's attire by

cake and cheesecakes by

Brother 2 Brother via

staff, l to r Hayden Slaughter, Emily Stuenkel, Jackie Rowell, Emily Redmon

Monday, May 19, 2014

Polka Dots and Pies

Holly and Rob's wedding this week-end was one of the sweetest, most original, nontraditional I've ever done.  Since I am a very nontraditional person who loves surprises, this was right down my alley.  The overall feel for the entire day was mid-century vintage.
Bride +holly blalock  with her groom @Rob DominquezPhoto by +Mary Margaret Smith Photography
They chose as their venue the repurposed, refurbished  Kress Building in downtown Birmingham .  From about the nineteen thirties through the nineties, Kress was a five and dime store in downtown Birmingham.  The new century brought new life for the building as a local law firm saw its potential. The building's rooftop venue overlooks the arising theater district of the City, while a local theater group is housed in the basement where the store's soda fountain was, very popular during its heyday. (I could write a very lengthy post about the many Saturdays I spent there after attending matinees at the nearby historic +Alabama Theatre and +Lyric Theatre). The location produced many wonderful photo opps for the couple and their photographer, +Mary Margaret Smith during the day .

So, this wedding created many deja vu moments for me from the very beginning of the day, as I stood on that rooftop, soaking in all the memorable marquis and buildings which later served as the backdrop for our band, called Deja Blue, appropriately.

From Holly's sweet, blush pink chiffon gown and blue open-toe pumps to the bridesmaids' polka dot, fifties-styled dresses, the entire day portrayed that mid-century feel beautifully.  The building's lobby was draped  by +Alex Garmon and +Event Rentals Unlimited  to transform it into a dramatic wedding white ceremony space. The couple chose some of the Beatles famous love songs to use for their processional music -- "Blackbirds Singing," "Across the Universe," several others --  creating a few tears in my eyes along with those of many of their guests.  So Special!!

The roof-top reception continued that vintage feel as guests signed in using metallic pens on specially-selected  vinyl records. Holly and Rob chose albums from some of the concerts they have attended together-- very original and creative.  Long, burlap covered tables were lined with mercury glass votive candles, mason jars and bottles tastefully filled with fragrant stems by +Mandy Majerik  of +HotHouse Design Studio .    Not only did guests enjoy the atmosphere, food and dancing, but the hit of the evening was the special dessert table.  The bride and groom chose to have a mini-pie bar instead of a wedding cake.
Mini pies from +Pie Lab 
One special pie for the bride & groom
Birmingham's own De'Ja Blue Band (

One final, special surprise was when the bride's dad brought out his guitar to play and sing a song he had written for Holly and Rob -- not your typical love song, but special nonetheless.  It is one Holly and Rob will be singing in their heads for a long time to come.  Oh, what a night!!

Thanks to my tried and true assistant coordinator, +Hayden Slaughter  for the use of her images.  She even takes time to snap some great shots.