There are a million and one details that go into a wedding, and as the coordinator, you are in charge of almost all of them. (Check out our full wedding coordinator checklist.) To help you run things as smoothly as possible, we gathered the wedding coordinator tips and tricks you need to succeed.
This list will help you not only prepare for the big day, but also excel at your job. If you’re a rookie, it will help you find your footing, and if you’re already a pro, you may just find a new thing or two to add to your bag of tricks.
Tweak the timeline, proof all day-of stationery, and go over the table arrangements. If any guests have sent their regrets or tacked on a plus-one in the final hour, make any necessary adjustments to the seating chart, wedding guest list, and place cards.
Once you’ve accounted for any last-minute changes, make sure the caterer and venue coordinator have the final headcount for their own preparation. Confirm vendor meals for any vendors that will be present during the reception at this time as well.
Double-check all wedding vendor contracts and remind the couple to make any final vendor payments. You should also encourage the couple to pre-arrange cash envelopes for the vendors they plan to tip.
If you’re just coming on board, introduce yourself to all vendors via email or phone. Let them know you are their point of contact if they should need anything or have any questions. This not only opens the lines of communication to ensure nothing slips through the cracks, but also puts everyone at ease knowing there is someone in charge on the day of.
Secure all paper goods from either the printer or the stationer, and organize them in preparation for the wedding day. This includes programs, place cards, and menus, as well as any signage or other specialty paper goods. Don’t forget to check for typos!
And plan accordingly. If inclement weather is in the forecast, you’ll need to plan accordingly, Move anything you can indoors, call in a tenting company, and pick up umbrellas for getting the bride, groom, and wedding party from point A to point B. Even mildly questionable weather, like high winds, can mess with decor.
Is there draping on the ceremony arch or paper goods that could blow away? Weigh down anything lightweight, or nix it altogether. Don’t forget to plan for extreme heat or cold, too. Order parasols, fans, and extra ice to help guests beat the heat, or order extra heaters and blankets or pashmina scarves to keep guests warm in chilly temps.
Once you’ve finalized the timeline, share it with the vendors, wedding party, and necessary family members. This way, if anyone has any questions, you’ll have ample time to answer them and make any necessary adjustments.
Finalize delivery schedules and arrival times. Provide the photographer with the shot list.
Give all vendors a contact sheet with any information they may need. Most importantly, list your number first, so they can reach you when they need to.
You should have basic items on hand that the wedding party may need, such as stain remover, safety pins, bandages, hairpins, tissues, tape, etc. Keep it on you in a belt or bag, or stow it in the bridal suite for easy access on the wedding day.
If you can visit the ceremony site, reception venue, and bridal suite to drop off items before the wedding day, you should. Just be sure to leave anything of value in a secure location. Bring items such as programs and candles to the ceremony location, signs and favors to the reception, and an emergency kit and a steamer to the bridal party suite.
The wedding ceremony rehearsal is your time to shine and set the tone for the wedding day. Introduce yourself to the wedding party and lead them through a quick and efficient rehearsal, showing them where to walk, how to stand, and when to exit. Field any questions and give everyone a brief rundown of where they need to be and when.
Do you have everything you need? A phone charger? Water bottle? A change of shoes (yes, you need an extra pair of flat shoes)? Copies of the timeline and vendor contracts? Check your kit—and then check it again—to ensure your bag is packed and ready to go.
The wedding day is all about the couple, so keep them at the forefront of your mind from the very beginning. Check in with them consistently, making sure they have everything they need, and making them feel heard. Whether they have lipstick on their garments or need a pep talk before they walk down the aisle, you are there to attend to their every need.
Check the couple into their hotel room, drop off any luggage or overnight bags they have, and prepare any thoughtful additions to the room such as Champagne, candles, or rose petals. Keep the room key with you, and pass it along to the couple before they make their getaway.
The marriage certificate is crucial, so you should know where it is at all times. Keep it safe in an envelope and get it where it needs to go at each stage of the day. Provide the marriage license to the officiant before the ceremony and ensure the witnesses sign it afterward.
Make sure the wedding party is where they need to be at the correct time, whether that means in the makeup chair, putting on ties, or lining up for the grand entrance. Gather them for photos, tell them when to walk down the aisle, and cue them 10 to 15 minutes before their speeches.
You spent all that time crafting the perfect timeline, so be sure to use it. Check in with the wedding party and vendors to make sure everyone is on schedule and do your best to get things back on track when necessary.
Vendor relationships can make or break your business, so it’s important to treat everyone you are working alongside with respect and gratitude. Whether you have worked with them a dozen times before or it’s your first wedding together, a positive presence, a helpful attitude, and gratitude go a long way in both establishing and maintaining good relationships.
The gift table should never go unattended. If the bride hasn’t assigned a family member to be in charge of the gifts, it’s your job. Have an assistant stand by before, during, and after the ceremony, and stow away all gifts and cards once the reception begins for safe keeping.
After all the hard work you put in, and the relationship you built, don’t let weeks go by without following up with the couple. Reach out to tie up any loose ends, coordinate getting photos back, and wish them a happy honeymoon. If they were satisfied with your service, this is also a great time to politely ask for an accolade or review, or better yet, a referral.
After accolades, professional photos are the next best way to speak to your work. Nowadays, most brides find their vendors on Instagram, which means beautiful images can be your ticket to booking more business. Follow up with the photographer after the wedding and ask for the photos, promising to credit them, of course. Use them on your website, social media platforms, and—if the couple agrees—submit them for publication to a wedding blog or magazine.
At the end of the day, if everything runs smoothly and the couple is happy, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. With every wedding, you will grow more and more confident and develop your own stock of wedding coordinator tips and tricks.
For more resources on wedding coordinators and the planning process, see the expert guides from Zola below: