A chat with wedding coordinator Jessica Ryan
We love Jessica Ryan of 3 of Cups Events! And since we are embarking upon wedding season we thought it would be fun to sit down with Jessica and have a chat about what she does so well - wedding planning.
How did you get started planning weddings/events?
I started my career over a decade ago in New York City while assisting filmmaker Leah Meyerhoff (Director of "I Believe in Unicorns"). I produced the release party for a music video she had directed. The video's cast performed live at the event - we had burlesque dancers, drag cheerleaders and fire breathers. I have a theater degree and so I applied my production and stage management skills towards coordinating the event. And while it was my first stab at promoting a public event, it got a lot of publicity. It all came full circle a decade later when Meyerhoff's film debuted at SXSW in Austin and I produced her unicorn-themed after party. Since that first event, I have produced everything from vaudeville cabarets to thematic costume parties, which have earned mentions in the New York Times. But now I almost exclusively plan weddings.
How much of the design aspect are you involved in?
It's really fun to work with clients who are looking to do something a bit more out of the ordinary. I had a couple who wanted to have a Surprise Wedding. They staged a fake elopement on social media and invited everyone to their "Reception Party". It was fun to stage the ceremony and surprise the guests in that way. To add to the fun, we also featured a face painter, put on an improv show and brought in live alpacas!
My approach to designing with a wedding client is practical. I create the overall layout design and outline the rental items. From there, my clients have the option to contract with Coley Jackson on the other side of the company - 3 Of Cups Design + Florals. She creates the aesthetic experience that our clients want, based on an inspiration board that they create with Coley.
When we produce events with themes we can really get creative in collaborating with our clients. In addition to being a Wedding + Event Planner with 3 Of Cups, I am also Director of Events at a The Sanctuary Event Space. Our most recent open house theme was NORDIC LIGHTS. We projected lighting throughout the canopy of the Santctuary's beautiful live oak trees to make it look like the Northern Lights and we partnered with Euphoria Fest on a styled shoot for this event. Euphoria will be using the photos to promote weddings at this year's festival where Coley will be representing 3 Of Cups by installing a ceremony site. 3 Of Cups plans to have more open house events this summer, so stayed tuned to 3 of Cups on Facebook!
What kind of personality does it take to be a successful planner?
It takes all kinds! You have to be very organized, be able to prioritize, and be adaptable to all types of personalities and situations. You have to be able to remain calm when things get stressful, to delegate tasks to staff and vendors, to think things through and to be prepared for anything. You have to be a leader and communicate effectively so that people will trust you. I can't say that I am the best at any of these things; I do make mistakes but I learn from them and always strive to be my best.
What is the most important piece of advice you give to couples in planning their big day?
I always encourage my clients to take at least 10 minutes of Alone Time after their ceremony. Families and friends want to show their love and wish them well throughout the entire reception which means that they really don't get a chance to be alone. It's so important that couples (whether they be Bride and Groom, Bride and Bride, Groom and Groom, etc.) remember why they planned the wedding in the first place - because they wanted to get married. The wedding is just the first day of their lifetime together. Taking just a few moments to embrace and breathe (or makeout!) is more important than any wedding-budget line item. For more of my advice, your readers can hire me as their Wedding Coordinator ;)
If you would like to consider Jessica as your wedding coordinator, you can contact her here.