Do We Need a Wedding Day Coordinator?
Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, which is why you should be focused on taking in the moment – not unloading trucks or directing caterers. That’s a role better left to the professionals.
“Couples should consider a day of coordinator because you cannot be two places at once,” says Kolena Thomas, a wedding planner with Chancey Charm Weddings in Washington, D.C. “You have already invested so much in your special day so why risk being stressed out and unable to enjoy it? Having a day of coordinator relieves you from having to be the point of contact for everyone, and allows you to enjoy the moment!”
While the titles wedding planner and coordinator are often used interchangeably, there is a key difference. A wedding planner is often with a couple from the very beginning, guiding them through every step of the process from setting a budget and selecting vendors to designing décor and ensuring everything is done on time.
A day of coordinator, on the other hand, “is someone who comes in the weeks leading up to your wedding day to handle the day-of details and perfectly execute all the planning you've poured your heart and soul into over the last year!” explains Melody Hall, owner of Events by Melody in Minneapolis.
Responsibilities for a day of coordinator can include:
• Reviewing vendor contracts;
• Writing a wedding day timeline;
• Creating a venue floor plan and leading the final walk through;
• Communicating with vendor teams;
• Cuing wedding activities (i.e. processional music, first dance, cake cutting, etc.);
• Overseeing setup and teardown; and
• Solving problems and handling the unexpected.
Of course, hiring a coordinator or event manager isn’t just about having a body to supervise the wedding. It’s about the level of expertise they bring to the job. “Coordinators will think of things that have not even crossed your mind: is there an outlet by the DJ booth? Do we have long enough sparklers for the send-off? How will the gifts get back to my house at the end of the evening?” explains Sofia Ocampo, a wedding planner for Chancey Charm in Atlanta.
If you’re thinking of contracting a day of coordinator, be sure to budget accordingly. While rates can vary greatly depending on your region, costs usually range between $800 and $2,600.
Event managers should also be vetted like any other vendor to ensure you’re getting the right person for the job. In addition to plenty of experience and stellar reviews, experts also advise factoring personality into your selection process.
“Look for a coordinator you resonate with on a personal level and who has a strong portfolio of work,” recommends Jennae Saltzman, owner of Blush & Whim Wedding Planning in Minneapolis. “Don’t simply go with the cheapest option. You want a planner who has experience in the industry and a calming personality that will be cool under pressure.”
Overall, industry experts agree that no matter how big or small your event is, the peace of mind a coordinator brings is well worth it.
“It doesn't matter how organized you are, how many weddings you have attended or how ‘laid-back’ you intend your wedding to be, everyone benefits from hiring a day-of coordinator – from backyard to ballroom,” says Ocampo, adding how she, as a bridesmaid, once heard a groom ask his bride how he was getting to the church. “He literally did not know and he was getting married within the hour. That right there is why you hire a day-of-coordinator.”
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