Wedding planning can be filled with a vocabulary you are not familiar with or that may have multiple meanings depending on who you are speaking with. What do all these things mean and are they important? What does each of them actually do?
Marriage: The legal joining of two people. The couple gets a license from the proper authorities (in North Carolina that would be from the Register of Deeds) and have someone authorized by the state to perform a legally binding ceremony. Marriage is also the state of being married.
Wedding: The ceremony and accompanying rituals and activities culturally and historically considered to be part of the day on which 2 people get married. This often includes the preparation time, the marriage ceremony and the party following the ceremony.
Elope: Last minute decision to get married and attended by a very small number of people.
Reception: The party following the wedding ceremony. Historically this occurs on the same day as the ceremony.
Minister: A person who is ordained and recognized by a religious organization. They may or may not serve a faith community/congregation. They have the ability and right to perform all rites of their ordaining organization.
Pastor: An ordained minister who is serving a faith community/congregation as the faith leader. They are involved in all leadership roles in the life of their church. They lead the members in worship and faith development. They also can perform all rites of their ordaining organization.
Officiant: A person who is ordained, recognized by a religious organization and authorized to perform rites of passage. They do not serve a church/faith community/congregation. They serve the larger community through performing weddings and sometimes funerals, memorial services, and baby naming/dedications. A professional officiant will bring extensive experience in planning ceremonies that are unique and custom to the couple, they are members of professional associations and uphold a code of ethics.
Magistrate/Justice of the Peace: A person employed by and authorized by the state to perform marriages. North Carolina does not have Justice of the Peace positions. Magistrates are legal positions and are part of the court system of North Carolina.
Wedding Planner: A wedding planner is a professional who works with a couple to set the budget, locate a venue, connect with the correct professionals for them. There are many levels of planning services offered-full planning to partial planning. There is a planner suitable for every couple getting married. A professional planner has training and education in wedding traditions, is well connected to area professionals, is a member of local and national professional associations and uphold a code of ethics.
Event manager: They are wedding planners who work with the couple in the last few weeks up to the wedding day. They connect with vendors to be sure that all bases are covered, make sure your timeline is workable, help with rehearsal, supervise set up on the wedding day, help make sure your timeline runs smoothly. They are the touch point for all professionals on the wedding day to allow the couple to relax and enjoy their wedding day. An event manager is usually a planner with the same training, education and association memberships as mentioned above.
Day of/Month of Coordinator: Most professional planners now call this service event management.
Wedding Director: A person whose only responsibility is to line up the wedding party and get everyone down the aisle on time.
Property Manager: This is the person employed by the venue to oversee the use of the property. They are the one who makes certain that all furniture and venue owned equipment are in good shape, in the location needed and agreed upon. They are the person responsible for any plumbing or electrical issues that arise on the wedding day. They do not oversee the timeline, overseeing entrances, announcements, cake cutting, or manage any vendor issues that come up.
DJ: The person who plays the music for your wedding day. This person may or may not have professional training or do this full time. A professional DJ will only play music they have purchased the rights to play, they will have access to an extensive play list, will be able to help you put together a play list appropriate for the guest you have invited, the atmosphere you are looking to achieve. A professional DJ will also have liability insurance to protect your guest in the event of an accident. A DJ may specialize in club music, weddings, or other events. A DJ needs to be able to work with the other professionals to know when to begin music, when and how to fade out for others to speak. They will have quality modern equipment suitable for the space where it will be used.
MC or Master of Ceremonies: This person is a skilled pubic speaker who keeps things moving on your wedding day with the proper use of music, announcements, an engagement of the guests. They are trained in knowing how to work well with the other professionals on site to be sure that they are able to do their jobs well. They can read a crowd and know when and how to get folks engaged and out on the dance floor as well as when to wind things down. They will have the equipment and rights to all music played on your wedding day. They will also have the proper insurance to protect you and your guests in the event of an accident.
Florist: A person trained in designing and arranging florals, greenery and other botanicals into bouquets, center pieces, and other decorative pieces. Their skill and knowledge can help you realize the vision you have for your wedding day. Some florists are also designers and can work with you to achieve the full look of the day including signage.
Wedding Designer: A wedding designer may or may not be a florist. They help you realize your vision for how your wedding will look. They assist with florals, colors, linens, signage, decorations, and lighting etc. They assist you in having the atmosphere and look you want on your wedding day. They will work in conjunction with your planner and florist, if they do not also provide those services.
Caterer: Company or person who prepares and serves food for weddings, corporate events, family reunions, parties, etc. They will have all the proper insurance, licensing, inspections, industrial kitchen, staff and training to safely prepare food for large groups. A full-service caterer has a wide variety of food styles and choices they can offer you. They may specialize in one type of event but be able to serve more. They will prepare, deliver and serve your guests according to your wishes. They can serve buffet style, stations or plated multi-course meals. A caterer will not only deliver and serve the food, they stay and clean up afterwards. Some caterers provide linens, dishes, glassware and silverware for the event.
Retail restaurant that caters: Many retail restaurants advertise that they cater events. Most of them have limited menus, only the style of food they serve in house. They have the industrial kitchen, licensing and insurance to prepare and deliver the food. Most of them drop off the food in disposable pans and it is your responsibility to keep it safe to serve—hot enough or cold enough to prevent food poisoning. Their insurance will not cover medical expenses for anyone who gets sick due to food poison. You can be held responsible for those medical bills. They do not provide any servers, no linens, dishes, silver or glass ware. They may provide you with disposable plates, utensils and plastic cups. It is your responsibility to serve the food, to clean up afterwards and dispose of leftover, and the food service items.
We can certainly help you navigate all the choices you have concerning the legal aspects of your wedding day. Let us help you figure out which is best for your vision. Give us a call today to explore your options and how you can have exactly what you want. 336-937-0890. You can visit our Resource Page to see the many excellent wedding professionals we love working with.