10 Minutes With: Julie Lindenman, Colin Cowie Celebrations Senior Event Producer

We sat down with one of Colin Cowie Celebration's Senior Event Producers, Julie Lindenman, to answer all of your need-to-know questions about wedding planning. Julie has been on the talented team of producers for over five years and we can’t wait to share her valuable tips and event expertise with you. Read on to find out Julie’s secrets for planning the wedding of your dreams.

Why should couples hire a wedding planner? What is the most beneficial aspect of having one?  

Having a planner takes a lot of stress off of your plate.   We can do the dirty work for you so that you can focus on being excited about your big day.
 
Would you advise couples to hire a day-of planner if they don’t already have a wedding planner?
 
100%.  This is the one day you should put your feet up and trust someone else to run around for you!
 
Which vendor/creative partner should couples book first?
 
Once you have booked your venue (and therefore your date), definitely look into your photographer and wedding band next.  These two book up fast and both can make a world of difference on your wedding day.
 
What are your thoughts on having a first look versus the traditional way of doing things?
 
From a logistical point of view, the first look is a lifesaver.  It gives the photographer more time to take those special shots, plus many couples love the idea of being able to enjoy their cocktail hour by taking the sometimes time-consuming group photos before the wedding even begins.  From a personal point of view, part of me loves the age-old tradition of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle.
 
What are some pros and cons for doing an engagement photo shoot?
 
A lot of couples seem unenthused about this, especially men.  I think it’s something worth celebrating!  It can help you to get used to smiling for so many photos, plus having those formal portraits together is nice to look back on.  It’s also great for those testing the waters with a photographer; if you feel comfortable with them during your engagement shoot, it will be a great match for your wedding day.
 
Help! This couple can’t decide between local vs. destination wedding – what are some key factors/limitations they should consider?
 
Destination weddings tend to be more costly.  But one plus is that choosing a destination limits your guest count.  Only those closest and most important to you will be there on your special day.
 
Are couples required to provide transportation on the wedding day?
 
There is no rule, but if you choose a venue that is far away, not in a place with taxis for hire, or where the closest hotel is a decent drive away, it is helpful to provide buses especially to encourage safety among your guests.  After all, you want your guests to enjoy themselves!
 
What should a couple do if they hate the idea of a wedding cake? Do they really need one?
 
Lots of clients (and friends) raise this question.  If you don’t want to make a big thing of your “cake moment” then don’t!  Either way, make it about you and your fiancé’s personal taste.  If you hate cake but love donuts, do a donut tower!
 
Do people still “toss the bouquet?”
 
Yes and no.  My opinion is, do what makes you happy – it’s your day.
 
What is your opinion on dancing between courses?
 
I almost always advise against it.  Not only does getting up and sitting back down take time for a large group of people, it also creates a confusing energy.  (High, low, high, low – you get the idea).  Instead, create a flow of lower energy to higher energy as the night goes on so your guests don’t lose their momentum.
 
How can brides stay “in the moment” on their wedding day?
 
Stop caring about the details – that’s for us!  Focus on your fiancé, family, and friends and try to be present as much as possible instead of focusing on what comes next.
 
What task should I give to my fiancé so that he feels involved?
 
Consider tasking your fiancé with choosing the alcohol you’ll offer at the bar, creating a playlist for the reception, or finding the best late night food options.  For same-sex weddings or couples where both partners want equal involvement, try separating tasks that you like the most: there is almost always someone who cares much more about the floral elements and someone who cares much more about the menu. 

How do you feel about wedding hashtags? Trendy or tacky?

Fun! A no-brainer!  The more creative the better.  I love a good wedding hashtag, unless you consider yourselves very private people or aren’t on social media.  The biggest benefit of a hashtag is being able to find all of your guests' pictures in one place afterwards.  Pre-filed memories — can’t beat it. 

What are some affordable ways to set your wedding apart from someone else’s?
 
For an affordable alternative to a welcome bag, show your guests how appreciative you are by leaving a hand-written welcome note in every room.  The significance and thought that goes into this is much more valuable than anything bought in a store.
 
What is the best part about your job?

A lot of wedding production is logistical and it is easy to get caught up in wanting the event to look beautiful and run smoothly.  But being able to step back and appreciate the importance of a wedding day never gets old.  Hearing a couple recite their vows.  Witnessing a parent see their child for the first time before walking down the aisle.  After getting to know a couple, experiencing those emotional, human moments firsthand is pretty special.

 
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