To have or not to have, that is the question. Day-of wedding coordinators can be the first to go when a couple is trying to cut back on costs, but the budget is not the only factor to consider when deciding whether to have a wedding coordinator... or not. We’ve gathered a few questions to consider to help you determine whether or not you need a day-of wedding coordinator.
The type of wedding you are having can determine whether or not you need a day-of coordinator right off the bat. Are you heading to the courthouse? Having an intimate ceremony in your backyard? Or inviting your closest crew to a local beach or park to witness your vows? In all of these intimate scenarios, a wedding coordinator is probably unnecessary.
However, if you are inviting 50 guests or more for your special day, you should consider a day-of coordinator. The larger the wedding, the more bodies, chairs, tables, meals, and so on there are to manage. This also applies to your wedding party. The more bridesmaids, groomsmen, bridesmen, grandparents, parents, flower girls, and ring bearers there are, the more people there are to keep on schedule. If you’re having a big wedding, a wedding coordinator can help manage and track not only your wedding party and guests but also all of the additional moving parts that come with big celebrations.
If your brother-in-law is heaven-sent and your mom is as they come, you may not need the extra help of a wedding coordinator during the planning process. However, if you want these loved ones to be able to fully enjoy the day of your wedding, you may want to enlist the help of a professional. If your family member or friend is acting as your coordinator, they will end up making sure the cake is prepared instead of getting down on the dance floor, or chasing down a missing wedding party member instead of being in photos themselves.
There are a lot of people that play an important role for you and yours on your special day, and making sure everyone keeps their wits about them, and knows where to be and when to be there, is a necessary job. When it comes to wrangling the family and party members, a wedding coordinator can be a big help. Picture the opening scene of The Wedding Planner: J.Lo’s character fixes a bridesmaid’s ill-fitting dress, orders the groomsmen to put on their suit jackets, and finds the missing Father of The Bride, all in a matter of minutes. While the example may be a bit extreme (or not), a wedding coordinator is trained and equipped to dissolve a myriad of issues, big and small.
In addition, if you have a family where there is potential for personal drama, do yourself a favor and hire a wedding coordinator with a breadth of experience and tools under their belt. As an outside party, they can more easily diffuse difficult situations and help keep the peace. Plus, you can dictate your wishes exactly to them without them having any personal feelings about it.
When you picture your Big Day, do you want someone there by your side every step of the way? Someone who can navigate the timeline, coordinate with the vendors, and put out any fires that may arise? A day of wedding coordinator can be just that, and much much more.
Coordinators can get the rings into the right hands, exchange gifts between you and your soon-to-be spouse, steam garments, hold an umbrella, tell bystanders to carry on their merry way, and the like. But these are just the minor details they can unburden you with...
The biggest areas in which a wedding coordinator can be helpful are set-up and tear-down. A lot goes into not only creating the space for a wedding, but also making it beautiful, and then taking it all apart. Between just a simple ceremony and reception, set-up requires tables and chairs, a Chuppah or arch, escort and place cards, and the coordination of a number of vendors including the florist, officiant, caterer, musicians, bartenders, technicians, and many, many more.
Set-up and tear-down also require someone to be the first to arrive, sometimes hours or even days before the celebration, and the last one to leave, often hours later than everyone else. Don’t make your special guests or devoted family and friends be the ones picking confetti, or worse, grains of rice, out of the carpet, or folding linens and dumping out vases into the wee hours of the morning.
A venue can dictate a lot on your wedding day including but not limited to when the festivities start and end, how loud the music can be, and what needs to be cleaned up and carried away.
If your venue or the neighborhood where your venue is located is strict, there’s a lot at stake. If you don’t abide by the venue’s policies, there can be hefty fines or overage fees. In this case, we would highly encourage you to have a day of coordinator. The wedding coordinator can ensure all venue and location stipulations are met and that everyone is on and off the property when they need to be. Many venues now require a professional coordinator or planner to ensure the event is being managed properly.
Direction comes in two forms: Timing and Location. While there are a variety of creative solutions for many location direction issues (below), a coordinator will keep your wedding on track by getting your guests moving when the time is right. Coordinators hold the keys to the timeline and can begin leading guests in the right direction with the appropriate buffer to ensure they make it there in time, be it for the bride’s walk down the aisle or the couple’s grand entrance.
If you choose to forgo a day-of wedding coordinator, there are other ways to guide guests from point A to point B, show them where to leave cards and gifts, and encourage them to sign the guest book. Consider signage as your guests’ liaison to lead them through your wedding day. From the moment they arrive to the moment they leave your celebration, signs can signal everything from where to park, walk, and sit to where to line up for the sparkler exit.
Directing guests with signs is simple when guiding them across a golf course, around your family’s home, or through a perfectly organized property built for weddings. However, if your wedding day has multiple parts or segments to it, the task of leading the wedding party and guests to the right location at the right time is far more complicated.
Is the ceremony at one venue, cocktail hour somewhere else, and photos in yet another location? Is there a pre-wedding brunch or an after-party people should know about? You wouldn’t want people to get lost on their way from one celebration to the next and miss out on the fun. Along with your wedding website, wedding coordinators are chief communicators and can be extremely effective in moving guests from point A to point B.
Let’s get down to business. Professional help comes with a price tag because it has value. It’s important to weigh the cost and benefits to determine whether or not you want to and can hire a professional wedding coordinator. Whether you hire someone or not, someone will need to manage the timeline, your vendors, and your guests on the day, and it can’t be you.
Do your research, and schedule introductory calls with multiple coordinators to not only learn their pricing but also their personality. Be transparent with the coordinator about your budget and see what services might be possible A lot of coordinators will even add or remove services to create a package and price tailored to you and your needs.
While planning your wedding, it can be easy to let money do all the talking. Staying within budget is important, but it shouldn’t make or break the aspects of your wedding that are most meaningful to you and your partner. If you decide you need a wedding coordinator, there are plenty of professionals that offer day-of services at budget-friendly prices.
When it comes down to it, are you a person who will experience more peace on your wedding day if you have the help of a coordinator? If so, that’s reason enough to justify hiring a day-of wedding coordinator.
Your wedding day should be filled with peace, love, and joy. A wedding coordinator can help you achieve these feelings by putting your mind at ease, giving you room to focus on your partner and the family and friends gathered to celebrate you both, and helping you enjoy the day fully!
Alternatively, a coordinator isn’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you won’t need help. You may jive more with a family member or friend who has offered to take on the responsibilities of your big day. If you are confident you and this person can handle unforeseen scenarios with ease, you may not need a coordinator. However, this person will no longer be a guest as they will be actively managing the event, and need to prioritize the wants and needs of the couple and the rest of the guests over their own.
Whether you hire a day-of wedding coordinator or enlist the help of a friend or family member, it’s important to have a point-person for any and all questions, concerns, and requests during the planning process. Plan ahead and get the help you will need, because, on your wedding day, your job is to enjoy it! If you do this, your day will go off without a hitch (as far as you know) and your sanity will be intact.