Setting a wedding budget (with a bit of wiggle room) is not only one of the most important steps of planning a wedding but also one of the first you should take. It will help direct other decisions you make, both big and small. Can you afford to have an entire dessert bar, or should you stick to a simple wedding cake? Will you get married at a fancy resort or a family home? Most importantly, the budget will influence the wedding vendors you hire and services you can afford when you are shopping around.
If you have a rough idea of how much you want to spend and how big your wedding will be, you can begin to shop for one of the most important vendors—a wedding coordinator. If you hire a coordinator as soon as you start wedding planning, they can even create a budget for you and help you stick to it.
A wedding coordinator is a must-have for many reasons. They not only help your day run smoothly but also can help you throughout the entire wedding planning process. However, if you’re confident in your number-crunching abilities, and have early wedding planning on lock, you may not need the help early on. There are different kinds of wedding coordinators and levels of service to suit all celebrations.
You can hire a day-of wedding coordinator, one for the month of your wedding, the entirety of your engagement, or any length in-between. With varying commitments come varying costs, so before you book a coordinator, consider the type that will meet your specific needs. Keep in mind that each professional will have different wedding coordinator costs, so make sure to do your research before making your final decision.
A day-of coordinator is just like it sounds: someone to help run the show on the day of your wedding. This includes coordinating and communicating with the couple, the wedding party, and the wedding vendors. They will also direct set-up and tear-down, manage the timeline, hande any unexpected issues, and generally ensure the day runs smoothly.
You may think the hard part is over when your wedding is only weeks away, but most couples are surprised and overwhelmed by the little things that come up in the final days before they say “I Do.” Month-of coordinators ease this stress and ensure everything is ready for the big day. In addition to doing everything that a day-of coordinator does, a month-of coordinator will take on all last-minute planning details. These additional responsibilities can include managing RSVPs, assisting with the seating chart, creating the timeline, checking in with vendors, and anything the couple may need during the last hour.
So you know you can handle most of the planning, maybe because you have been in a dozen weddings already, or have been saving tear-outs from Martha Stewart Weddings since the year 2000, but you want someone to step in and check your work. A lot of full-service wedding coordinators and month-of coordinators offer partial-planning packages as well for couples that fall in this boat. These packages are most-often custom, although you will come across coordinators with three-month and six-month options. Extra services can include managing invitations, offering design ideas, securing specialty vendors, assembling favors, handling paperwork, and lots more.
For help and design advice from engagement to “I do,” a professional wedding planner offering complete planning and event design is the way to go. Unlike a coordinator, a professional wedding planner will be there from the very start and can help with everything from your color palette and mood board to wedding venue selection. A full-service wedding coordinator is especially helpful for destination weddings or large weddings with lots of moving parts. They can also help lower costs and save you time by recommending vendors that are within your price range. They may even be able to secure discount pricing or added perks if they have existing relationship with your vendors.
Consider your budget, style, and personality when choosing a wedding coordinator. Shop around,get on the phone, or meet in person with a few favorites to get a feel for how you’ll work together. Apart from your fiancé, your wedding coordinator will be the person you communicate with the most about your wedding. Plus, they’ll be directing everything on the day, so it’s important to not only get along with them but also trust them completely.
For each type of wedding coordinator, there’s a range of costs. The least expensive option is day-of coordination, which starts at under $800. Some may charge by the hour while others charge a flat-rate. For support at the wedding ceremony only, a coordinator that charges an hourly rate will be the most cost-effective option for you.
The more time and services you require, the more your wedding coordinator will cost. Month-of coordinators and partial planners start around $1,000 but can go up to $6,000 depending on their experience and time commitment.
Full-service wedding coordinators commit the most time and energy to your big day, so naturally cost the most. There’s a wide range of costs associated with coordinators in this category based on experience and location. Fees for full-service coordinators can reach$12,000, however, the starting rate hovers around $3,000. While you may be paying a pretty penny for these planners, they come with service and insight that can be worth the extra funds.
Most wedding coordinators will work with you to create a custom package best suited to your needs. Keep in mind, tacking on additional services such as having them plan a rehearsal dinner or being in text contact, can cost extra. On the flip side,don’t be afraid to remove and save on services you don’t need.
Are you having a destination wedding? You’ll need to factor your wedding coordinator’s flights, room, and food into your budget. But covering travel and accommodation costs isn’t limited to destination weddings. Gas,transportation, and a hotel the night of or before your wedding are other typical coordinator costs. It’s essential you read all agreements with your wedding coordinator as these expenses may not be included in their rate but are required under the contract.
Does your wedding coordinator work with a team? If so, are their team member’s wages included in the overall rate, or do they come at an additional cost? Additional help on your wedding day can come with extra fees for labor, travel, food, and tips.
Be sure to include vendor meals in your catering budget for coordinators and any team members working during the reception. If your coordinator is also attending the rehearsal dinner or joining your food tasting, consider their meals as additional line items on your budget as well.
Tipping wedding coordinators is highly recommended, especially if they’ve played an integral part in your wedding planning. If your coordinator exceeds your expectations, it’s appropriate to tip them and their assistants on the day of the wedding. A good tip is 10-20% of the coordinator’s total fees.
Be upfront with your coordinator about all costs before you sign the contract. Ask about their policies concerning travel, if they’ll be hiring additional team members to help, and if the tip is included. Ask about payment plans, as most vendors will allow you to make payment in chunks as opposed to a lump sum. Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Coordinators will often throw in additional services you are looking for in order to add value if you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around their rate.
Although wedding planners and coordinators do come at a cost, your coordinator can end up saving you money on your wedding day—maybe even enough to offset their entire cost. A huge part of the coordinator’s role is to help you stick to your budget. They offer expert advice and helpful suggestions to help you make tough decisions and find budget-friendly options. These tasks alone could ensure you don’t overspend. Wedding planners and coordinators are also experts in the field and have often worked with your venue and vendors before. These established relationships can help secure deals, discounts, or trades that can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Even if you don’t see direct savings thanks to your coordinator, a wedding coordinator will surely save you time, energy, and stress. And that’s practically priceless.