How to Choose a Wedding Coordinator

Having a hard time choosing a coordinator? Zola explains how to pick the perfect partner to run your special day.

By The Zola Team

bride with her coordinator
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • When searching for a wedding coordinator, first know the difference between a day-of coordinator, a week/month-of coordinator, and a wedding planner.
  • The coordinator you choose will depend on your needs as a couple, so do your research to find those available to you.
  • The best wedding coordinators are responsive, super organized, and independent, but above all they should be the one you trust and connect with the most.

Whether you are in the initial planning stages, mid-way through your wedding checklist, or nearing the end of your planning process, you may be quickly realizing that you need a little extra help. Wedding planning is a lot of work, and with so much to do, it is no wonder why wedding coordinators are such a staple of the wedding industry.

Wedding coordinators are an integral part of the planning process and an essential member of your team. Every wedding needs a wedding coordinator, and yours is no exception. For most couples, coming to this conclusion is not hard to do. The task that challenges many couples is how to pick the right wedding coordinator best suited to their needs.

How to Choose a Wedding Coordinator Photo Credit // Shutterstock

The Three Different Types Of Coordinators

When selecting a coordinator, you must choose one who has the bandwidth and skillset best suited for your needs as a couple. For the most part, there are three different types of wedding coordinators who each fulfill a different role based on client needs. The three most common types of wedding coordinators are as follows:

Day-Of

As the name would indicate, this type of wedding coordinator is there to run the show on the day of your wedding. Often a day-of wedding coordinator is involved off and on a full week before the wedding, though there is no guarantee of this.

A day of coordinator is hired to be the point of contact for the day of your wedding. Everyone who is participating in your wedding and every person who is hired to perform a service or task at your wedding works with your day-of coordinator to ensure your wedding goes as planned.

Many wedding venues will not allow you to have your wedding at their facility without a day of coordinator as there are simply too many moving parts for anyone who is in the wedding to coordinate and handle. Zola recommends a day-of coordinator for any wedding that is not a quickie ceremony, and for any wedding where there are more than 20 guests, a day-of coordinator is an absolute must.

Week/Month Of

This wedding coordinator is one who is hired to help you get down the home stretch of wedding planning. As you and your fiance approach the final days of your engagement, adjustments will need to be made. This type of wedding coordinator is perfect for dealing with the last-minute headaches and hassles of planning a wedding like getting the wedding party in line, dealing with logistics, etc. All your hard work and planning is in place; a week-of coordinator simply makes sure everything goes according to plan.

A week-of/month-of wedding coordinator is the perfect addition to your team to help solidify the details of your wedding. Zola recommends this type of coordinator for every couple as it allows the final days of your engagement to be spent on one another in preparation for the commitment you are about to make. Typically a week-of/month-of coordinator will also be your day-of coordinator, so no need to worry about having both!

The Secretary Effect

A wedding coordinator is not a secretary, nor are they a personal assistant. One of the biggest complaints from wedding coordinators about their clients is that the couple who hired them does not truly understand what a coordinator does. The role of the wedding coordinator is to act as a liaison between you and the other professionals who are lending their services for your wedding.

Hiring a wedding coordinator does not give you a license to kick your feet up and put everything on their shoulders. A good wedding coordinator will do things to make your life easier, and there will be instances where they act on your behalf. However, you need to remember that your wedding coordinator is hired to assist you, not be an assistant to you.

The impetus for hiring a coordinator should be your need for an advisor who can steer you through uncharted waters, not because you simply want to hand this off to someone and then show up on the day of...that’s not how it works when it comes to wedding planning.

Wedding Planner

Anything outside of a month, and the role of a wedding coordinator drastically changes. Aside from the role shifting from helpful organizer to full-fledged decision-maker, the title also changes from wedding coordinator to wedding planner.

While most month-of/week-of coordinators will be hired long before the actual month of the wedding, there is not much that they assist with before the final month of preparation. There are some tasks that a week/month of coordinator will be involved in before the month of the wedding, but they are few and far between.

Alternatively, a professional wedding planner is there with you every step of the way. A wedding planner is someone who will help you pick out bridesmaid dresses and floral arrangements and then turn around and hire the DJ and caterer.

A wedding planner is a full-service experience that allows you as a couple to be as involved or uninvolved as you choose to be. For those couples who want to take a back seat in the planning process, a full-fledged wedding planner is the way to go. Be warned, wedding planners are expensive, and they often perform tasks that many couples enjoy doing themselves.

A professional wedding planner may be exactly what you are looking for when it comes to your big day. Still, if you and your fiance are interested in making happy memories while planning your wedding, Zola recommends sticking to a more traditional wedding coordinator.

How to Choose a Wedding Coordinator Photo Credit // Shutterstock

Establish your needs as a couple

This is one of the biggest obstacles facing couples choosing a wedding coordinator. To select a wedding coordinator, you have to understand what your needs are. That can be hard to do, especially as you have never been through this process before.

There is almost no way to understand everything you will need your wedding coordinator to do without ever having been through the wedding planning process before. When choosing a wedding coordinator, you and your betrothed need to be honest about the fact that you will need to lean on this person for advice and assistance.

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Ask Your Wedding Venue For Recommendations

In the same way, venues have preferred caterers, many venues also have close-knit relationships with a handful of wedding coordinators. Choosing a coordinator who understands the inner workings of your wedding venue can be very beneficial. However, this can also be a double-edged sword as a wedding coordinator who works specifically with a venue is less likely to help you find workarounds or bend the rules on your behalf.

Ask Your Friends

Your already married friends are an excellent resource for helping you find a good wedding coordinator. Talk to your friends and ask them what they thought of their coordinator and try to choose the best one based on their recommendations. Sometimes this is the best route as you can hear what a friend’s coordinator fell short on, and you can address those issues early on.

Do Some Online Research

Often couples will turn to the internet as a method of finding their perfect wedding coordinator. This strategy can be a worthwhile endeavor, provided you are using a trustworthy site with plenty of reviews. Weddings are very personal, so try to avoid getting too hung up on negative reviews that seem to come from a place of emotional injury. If you are using an online source to find a wedding coordinator, here are a few key phrases to look for:

Good communicator - this means that the coordinator completed tasks and requests without having to be asked multiple times. This is a must while planning a wedding as you don’t want to be hounding your coordinator to assist you.

Responsive - similar to being a good communicator, this adjective indicates that a wedding coordinator was quick to respond to questions/concerns, etc. Responsive indicates that a wedding coordinator is invested in her clients and cares about the shared vision of your wedding day.

Organized - this is an absolute must for any wedding coordinator! If you read any reviews that criticize a coordinator for being disorganized or dropping the ball, move on! You need your coordinator to be able to grab the bull by the horns and run a tight ship.

Independent - another must for a wedding coordinator, you want to hire someone who doesn’t need to clarify every little thing with you for your big day. One of the most important attributes of a good wedding coordinator is their ability to be briefed about your wants and needs and then take over on your behalf.

Your choice of wedding coordinator will come down to who you have the best rapport with. You and your fiance must meet with wedding coordinators in person before signing a contract. The wedding coordinator you choose to trust with your wedding should be someone you have an instant connection with.

Choosing a wedding coordinator may seem like a tough decision, but it is one of the best choices you will make during your engagement. Zola strongly recommends a coordinator for your wedding day because, in some ways, we see ourselves as a coordinator too! We are here to help work behind the scenes to ensure you have everything you need to make your wedding a success.

Zola’s commitment to your wedding starts with your wedding registry and extends from invitations to thank you cards and beyond. Just like a coordinator, Zola allows you to make all the creative choices, while we take care of the stressful stuff like addressing envelopes and tracking your guests for you! We would love to be your full-time coordinator, but for now, we’re stuck in the digital realm. One thing is for sure, between Zola and your new wedding coordinator, you have the best possible team to create the wedding of your dreams!