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The Journey to Becoming a Wedding Planner

By Sarah Ryberg

Posted: Monday, Jun. 16, 2014

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Photo by Lora Denton Photography.

Originally from England, Sarah Ryberg has lived in Charlotte for the last 12 years and is a graduate of UNC Charlotte. After two whirlwind weddings - one in Charlotte and another in her homeland - Sarah is settling into married life and learning what it takes to be a Mrs. You can reach Sarah at sarahmryberg@yahoo.com

When I was a little girl I was quite a contradiction. I loved the romance behind my favorite Disney movies, but I was bound and determined I would never get married. I remember telling my kindergarten “boyfriend” that we could be together but we’d never get married or have kids, and that was that. Most of us feel that way when we’re younger, but I never imagined I’d choose weddings for my profession. It was when I started really experiencing weddings, from planning our wedding, to writing for Carolina Bride, and now volunteering as a planner, that I realized there was no other industry I’d rather be in.

Every time I assist with a wedding, I’m overwhelmed by the emotion of the day and how much I love being there to make it special. Assisting with Parker and Leslie’s June 14th wedding was no different. Their wedding was held at The DoubleTree Suites in SouthPark, with a ceremony in the Garden Pavilion and a reception in the hotel’s Barringer Ballroom. From the chic fashion (I loved the champagne bridesmaids dresses and the elegant, form-fitting bridal gown) to the romantic decor (like soft white draping and rosette tablecloths), this wedding was simply stunning! Plus, it was a joy to see a couple so happy and in love. Even when the photographer was trying to pose them, their affection for one another came through naturally.

Speaking of the photographer, one of my jobs at this wedding was helping with the photography schedule. Every wedding I shadow gives me a different insight into how the day runs, and staying with the photographer furthered my understanding of the wedding day timeline and showed me how every detail makes the picture. I voluntarily jumped in to straighten out the bride's train or hold the bouquet so the photographer could get the perfect shot. As a planner, understanding how each vendor operates and getting to witness that process is invaluable experience.

Honestly, I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of coordinating weddings. From my three months with Magnolia Events, to my almost year of shadowing weddings at The DoubleTree Suites in SouthPark, I’m understanding how to coordinate a processional and recessional, setup a reception space with careful attention to detail, take exceptional care of the bride and groom, and help with the logistics of those breathtaking sparkler exits. There’s still so much to learn, but I feel far more confident now thanks to the planners who’ve taken me under their wings.

The journey to becoming a full-time wedding planner is a long one, but there are so many rewarding experiences along the way. Getting to be a part of a couple’s special day, like Leslie and Parker’s, is truly a blessing. I’m so grateful for all the experiences I’ve had so far, and I’m excited to continue learning and being a part of so many special moments.

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