As a young woman, Halley decided on a whim that she wanted to study abroad the second semester of her junior year in college.
“It seemed that all of my friends were either going abroad or had some big plan, and I wanted in on the action. It was down to two choices, the University of Helsinki in Finland and the University of Limerick in Ireland. The day I went to the study abroad advisor’s office to give my answer, I hadn’t a clue which I would choose. When the advisor asked, I answered, ‘Ireland.’ It felt like the right answer, so I stuck with it. I’d always loved everything Irish and felt like it just made sense.”
When Halley moved to Ireland, she met Eoin at church. Eoin made it clear from very early on how he felt about Halley. There was a “to-and-fro” relationship between the two while Halley was Ireland, which ended after Halley returned to the United States to continue her studies and have further adventures independently.
However, “Even when we weren’t together [Eoin] made sure to let me know that he was there for me, no matter what turns our relationship took. It took me a little longer to realise how much I really loved him, and he definitely helped his case by keeping himself in my life, no matter how small. Sometimes the end is really the end. In our case, the answer was, ‘Just wait a little while.'”
Eoin and Halley decided to get married on August 10, 2012. Their first priority was to be married in Kansas City, Missouri, near Halley’s hometown. “The second thing we knew was we wanted to make it a relaxed but fun affair. Kind of a BBQ, but better dressed. We definitely accomplished that. We had our reception at a beautiful hall near my favorite lake. We danced and chatted, and ate our weight in cake and watermelon. I remember my feet hurting like mad by the end of the night and Eoin carrying my shoes for me; looking after me from the very start.”
Getting married over such a great distance offered it’s fair share of challenges. Eoin was 4,000 miles away until 4 or 5 days before the wedding. Halley had to find and purchase new attire for the groom and groomsman last minute because of a big jump in temperature in Missouri right before the wedding; a big curveball for a bride with little to no experience in menswear.
But in retrospect, the biggest thing Halley would do differently would be not to rely so much on family and friends to pull off the day. “It was great knowing we had so many people who loved us and wanted to do what they could to help pull off the day. But the morning of the wedding I ended up getting ready on my own as my parents, siblings, and best friends were all at the hall or working on the cake. It would have been nice if they had been able to sit back and enjoy the day as well rather than worry about tablecloths or food prep.”
Though I typically am an advocate for using your resources and connections, this should never over-balance the importance of hiring professionals – especially a day-of wedding coordinator.
Every Last Detail and Here Comes the Guide are both wedding blogs that offer detailed reasons why you should hire a professional instead of a friend. Both had similar notions:
- A professional has experience facing the pressures of this important day. They’ve planned for contingencies and won’t require the same level of direction as your friends or family would in the chaos of the day.
- Their focus is on your needs and their job. Here Comes the Guide says, “You can tell them what to do and they’ll carry out your directives. Friends and relatives are also guests, and might neglect their ‘job.’ Plus, working with a professional is a straightforward business arrangement, while working with friends and family can lead to awkward situations and damaged relationships.”
- You get what you pay for. Though you may save money by asking a friend, the quality of a professional’s work is undeniable. They have better equipment, training, and experience that all work together to deliver the best results. It’s the difference between Cousin Violet making the cake the morning of, only for it to sink and melt, or the professional baker who spends days preparing to deliver a masterpiece that is tasty to both the eye and the tastebuds.
One of the most invaluable professionals you could invest in, especially with Halley’s story in mind, is the day-of coordinator. The Huffington Post offered this insight:
“An often poorly understood concept, the day-of coordinator can be a lifesaver for couples who don’t have the budget for a full-service planner; couples who thought they could do it all alone and then realize, close to the wedding, that they were wrong; and couples who actually manage to plan it all alone, but then wisely realize that they shouldn’t leave the day-of nitty-gritty in the hands of their mother or maid of honor. Remember, your family and friends are your guests too, and you want them to be able to relax and enjoy your wedding.”
The Huffington Post interviewed seasoned planner Fallon Carter to discuss what a day-of coordinator is, and what to expect when working with one.
“We coordinate the logistics of your wedding day to make sure that everything that you have spent months planning runs exactly how you envisioned. From the arrival times of the florist, limo pickup and drop offs to packing all your gifts and goodies at the end of the night, the day-of coordinator will take care of it all.”
This means that having a wedding coordinator the day-of will free up the bride, her friends and family from the stressful responsibilities that limit the time they have to be truly present with each other on such a special day. A day-of wedding coordinator will reduce stress, offer professional leadership in the execution of individual vendors and the overall design of the event, and will be able to think of and focus on details that may have been forgotten.
In telling your love story, I hope you remember the people you were with on your wedding day, not the stress of last-minute coordination. That’s a professional’s job – not the bride’s.
Thanks to Halley and Eoin for sharing their story, and may there be many more happy years to come for them both.
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