Why You Need a Day of Coordinator or better, a Wedding Planner!
Many brides are first-time brides and therefore have little experience with the wedding planning and execution process. Attending as a guest offers none of the behind-the-scenes action that actually takes place, months or even years before the Big Day! Budget is always an issue and many think having a friend or family member will be just fine. And it might. Maybe. But realistically, if they are family members or close friends, they are naturally going to want to be involved in the photo ops and activities and so the Day of Coordination could get rocky. Even coordinating all the vendors, details, decisions, selections, receipts, contracts, stipulations in the contracts, time lines beforehand…it’s a HUGE task even for the most organized and well-meaning of friends. And, many venues are very specific about what may and may not happen the Day Of the event. Some even require you have a coordinator or planner and for good reason. Finally, they don’t have the experience a Coordinator or Planner has when it comes to dealing with the inevitable last minute hiccups.
Time is the biggest challenge for any of us. Never enough of it. And in wedding planning, the clock is always working against you. Why do many couples start planning a year or two out? Well, because there are so many choices to investigate, decide upon and then commit to that waiting until the year of can cause a lot of unwanted stress. Things don’t happen immediately. Emails have to be responded to, schedules coordinated for viewings, tastings, fittings. All of that takes a lot of calendar space!
If you have your heart set on a specific venue or photographer for example, waiting may mean they aren’t available on your desired date. Many are booked a year in advance or travelling and your date may well not be something they can swing. Why start your process with disappointment or “settling” for second choice?
So let’s first cover some terminology. Coordinator vs. Planner – what’s the difference? Well, a Coordinator is just that. They are often hired by the couple for the day of or maybe day before the event to help coordinate the rehearsal walk-through, the vendors as they arrive, the guests, the wedding party and facilitate communication with the venue. This individual has not been involved in the planning process typically so the hand off to them is critical. Details, copies of contracts/agreements, timelines, contact information and so much more. Think of it like an airport: they are the guys in the orange vests and wands directing traffic and making sure planes (vendors) and travelers (guests) end up where they are supposed to when they are supposed to.
A planner is more the pilot. They have a flight plan created ahead of time, they have coordinated with air traffic control and they are in charge of making sure the plane and guests are complying, know where they are headed, make adjustments when bad weather hits or other emergencies. Planners take a lot of the time burden and stress off the couple. They are magicians when it comes to making last minute adjustments. Bad weather? No problem. They have an arsenal of vendors they can call upon to make adjustments as they no doubt have already laid out a Plan B…and Plan C! They also have the experience to know how to act timely on matters needing addressing or fixing. Problem-solvers under pressure, they are invaluable. If you’ve ever watched one in action, you know that there is a lot of sweat that goes into what they do and no job or task is below them. One minute they be dressed like a guest and welcoming visitors when just two hours before they were on their knees, fixing a broken prop or running to a supplier when you are short on the required number of linens or centerpieces.
Facility Contact is just as it states. A contact for the venue. They are typically charged strictly with ensuring the air is working, the audio visual is available, and anything else the venue has committed to is available or executed. They will not be involved in any of the Day Of tasks such as greeting guests, directing vendors, gathering the wedding party for the ceremony, working with the DJ on the time line for specific announcements, song plays, and so much more. The Day Of tasks are numerous. Every couple wants a fairy tale wedding. While little bumps may happen, a Coordinator or Planner can help ensure those are minimal or certainly unknown to the couple thereby leaving you both to blissfully enjoy your once in a lifetime moment together…as you always imagined.