The Great Coordinator Debate: To Plan or Not to Plan?

Hello again on this lovely Monday! For some of you “lovely” might be overstating, but I work in the most awesome shenanigan-filled studio ever, so I’m just peachy. I’ll be chronicling my wedding planning adventures right here on the Milou + Olin blog every Monday, so tune in to get some insider advice, and possibly get through your wedding planning with a little more grace and fewer missteps than I do!

One of the first major topics up for debate after the bubbly and congratulatory phone calls ebbed away, was whether or not to have a wedding coordinator. Obviously being in the wedding industry myself, and knowing some very lovely ladies who regularly plan weddings, I was a strong “yes”. My mom, being a potter (who makes fabulous things out of clay!) sets her own hours and thought she might be up for the task herself, and was a “maybe”. The fiance, who likes to take charge, thought that perhaps only a month-of coordinator would do the trick, and also fell in the “maybe” category. My Dad, who wants everyone to be as stress-free as possible, was a solid “yes” as well. A lot of opinions needed to be taken into account.

There were a plethora of pros, a few of which were:

– reduced stress

– coordinator discounts

– overall attention to design

– budget management

And the “cons” weren’t really cons, more like concerns and questions. How much would a coordinator help us? Would there be hidden fees? Would their discount offset the dent they would make in the budget?

We talked to two different coordinators, both of whom I know through working at this fabulous studio. Both are beyond fabulous – detail oriented, insanely talented women. In the end, my parents gifted me with full coordination – which is an incredible blessing and a HUGE load off my mind!

But here’s who I ended up going with:

Yelena Johnson of The Stylish Soiree!

adorable smart california wedding planner

I had an initial phone conversation with her about my wedding vision (I give her mad points for making it through my rambling and general indecisiveness) and she asked all the important questions, but what came across the most is that she has a very calming influence – and that is the kind of person I want managing the craziness of my wedding day.

Additionally, her style is beyond fabulous. I’ve seen some of the events and weddings that Milou + Olin has collaborated on with her, and I find that I keep swooning when I see her personal touches in photographs. After signing with her, I also noticed that one out of every three pins on my wedding Pinterest boards was from an event she designed!

Here’s some eye candy from Yelena’s stash of recent work:

sparkly wedding menu idea diy

I mean come on, jewelry for your menu? That is just about the coolest bling I’ve ever seen on a table. The combination of colors, and the fact that while it incorporates a lot of current trends, it doesn’t feel “trendy” – it has a timeless element to it.

bold timeless wedding invitation suite

I think I have this invitation suite pinned on about four different boards – It’s so freaking gorgeous! The typefaces, the stripes, the casual glamour – it’s fun without kitsch, and formal without stuffiness. Not to mention that this wonderful photo and the next were taken by my ridiculously talented boss – Caroline!

gold and pink table decor

This look is so beyond what people normally would think of pairing for a reception table, but it’s such a statement of understated luxury – the hints of gold are perfect, the succulents and air plants filling in the nooks and crannies between the centerpieces, the candles adding a little warmth – how can you not love everything about this?

colorful-wedding-details-cohesiveLastly, I love the fact that her weddings always look beautifully cohesive. Small details carried throughout the spaces make the day feel pulled together and polished. The cake stand on the left is so adorable with it’s own signage underneath, and the pop of color with the flowers on the cake table and the bride and groom’s chairs is just the perfect touch. These are things I totally won’t have time to think about when planning my wedding!

Which is why I’m leaving it up to this stylish chick to plan my soiree, and I’ll be posting our adventures as it all comes together!

See you next Monday lovelies!

xoxo- Morgan Elizabeth


Yelena Portrait:

Photography: Milou + Olin Photography

Mint shoot:

Photography: Melanie Duerkopp Photography

Florist: Soulflower Floral Design

Gold and Stripes Shoot:

Photography: Milou + Olin Photography

Florist: Soulflower Floral Design

Modern San Francisco Wedding:

Photography: Larissa Cleveland Photography

Floral Design: Natalie Bowen Designs


comments +


  1. Lydia

    April 22nd, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Lovely post showcasing Yelena’s styling skills! We can attest to her calming influence as well. Lovely photos. Lovely weddings. Lovely Monday to you!

  2. Chelsie Perez

    April 23rd, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    LOVE this post! Yelena is awesome. Great photos Caroline, stunning!

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