Why Use a Wedding Coordinator?

You only get one day to make this happen. Having a coordinator can make all the difference in the world. That is why I always recommend having at least a "day of coordinator."

I've heard it said before, weddings are a like a choreographed show or ballet. There are producers (your parents or yourselves), actors (you, your wedding party, and your guests), florists, decorators, videographers and photographers, so many more and there is a director. A wedding coordinator ensures the finished product appears seamless and beautiful to you and to others. But to get this finished product, there is planning and coordination that happens throughout the planning process.

The wedding is broken up into several "acts - planning, rehearsal, make up and pre-ceremony, ceremony, and reception. Within each of these "acts" are scenes being played out. If all the actors and participants are not doing what they are supposed to be doing or where they are supposed to be, unexpected accidents can happen. But with the event coordinator, the event is completely choreographed, so it appears seamless to the outside eye.

Do not be frightened by the words "schedule" and "choreography". I hear it all the time, brides do not want a wedding planner because they just want to "have fun" and do not want to be regimented so much so that they aren't able to have fun and enjoy it. Once you and your wedding coordinator have worked together to place all of the moving pieces and parts in their roles, you can let go and live in the moment. Much like an artist on stage, her dance may be choreographed, but on stage she is able let go and it is beautiful and flows and the director can sit back and watch to cue others in the dance.

It costs money to put on a well choreographed wedding. You have to dress yourself and possibly others. You need a setting/venue. You need to feed yourself and those attending. You need to a photographers and videographers that work best with you. Figuring out who you should use to fill these roles can take a lot of time. Time is valuable. Your director, or wedding coordinator, will work to present you with options and suggestions on how to fill these roles to fit within your budget and to fit your personality.

Thinking about not having a coordinator?
Some couples choose to forgo a day-of coordinator because their reception venue includes a coordinator. Although this may sound similar to a day-of coordinator, beware: It is not exactly the same. It's important that you identify exactly what your needs will be on wedding day and know ahead of time exactly what your venue coordinator is able and willing to do. Keep in mind that they may not be able to call the limo driver who is running late, or assist the groom who can't find his shirt.

If it's cost, reach out anyway. Talk to the coordinators and see who can work with you on your day.

"Day of" Coordination
No matter if people hire me, my first recommendation when planning a wedding is to get a wedding coordinator, even if it's just for the day of the event.

When your day-of coordinator comes on board, she or he will be the new point of contact for your vendors. They will introduce themselves to your vendors and get an idea of what to expect on the wedding day. Also, the coordinator will review your contracts and understand exactly who is doing what and when. She will create your day-of timeline, which will break down all the details regarding arrival times, setup and breakdown. This one is very important: Your coordinator will do a site visit with you, and discuss all of the details you have planned, to get an idea of how you envision the space on your wedding day. The day before your wedding, your coordinator will run your rehearsal, and on your wedding day, she will be there to run the show! For me, it's sometimes a 15-hour day, and we're there to make sure that each hour of your wedding day is worry-free and seamless. Depending on your arrangement with your coordinator, she will pack all of your goodies up at the end of the evening (cake knives, flutes and gifts), distribute the tips, and ensure the hotel has "romanced" your bridal suite, if she was not able to do it herself.

I do want my clients to be aware though of things they shouldn't expect from their coordinator. We coordinate, we aren't there for manual labor. Your vendors have been hired for a reason. We want to use them. If you're expecting more than just coordination you can probably expect more costs.

As solution oriented people, once we are on board we usually want to do any and everything we can to make the last moments of planning a breeze. If you hire your day-of coordinator a month before the wedding and you still do not have major planning details in place, such as a photographer or caterer, you should anticipate an additional planning charge to get these last minute details in place. If your coordinator is gracious enough and does not charge for this additional planning, then consider that when you're tipping on wedding night.

Getting to know Coordinators
When looking for your director, or wedding coordinator, there are several items to consider:
  • are they available for your date?
  • are they flexible with your needs and wants? 
  • how do they communicate with their clients? are they reliable and responsive to your emails, phone calls or in person? 
  • do they have experience with many types of people and places?
  • can they manage a budget? 
  • are they personally going to be at your wedding or are they using a team? (and then ask yourself what do you want - for them to be there or are you okay with the assistant.)
What are you going to do? 
Who is going to be your director on your big day? Can you tell that family member who volunteered that things are not the way you want them? Will your friend who volunteered also enjoy the wedding while she is working to ensure the timeline stays on track? Let your mom, your friend or you family member enjoy your day with you. Hire a coordinator. Let a professional direct your wedding so you and your family and friends can just enjoy the day.

Still not sure if you want or need a coordinator or planner? Take this quiz from About.com.

I don't just say it because I am one  (It's Your Time Events), I say it because I used one (thanks Ms. Cathy with Fleur De Lis Weddings and Events). And I'm not the only one who says it. You can find many other vendors in the industry saying it - a wedding coordinator can help you, guide you and make sure you have the day of your dreams (Cat Guidry, photographer).