I have noticed that many couples don’t understand the importance of wedding coordinators and some wedding planning professionals have cut wedding coordination out of their list of services altogether. As such, it seems that many brides and grooms fail to appreciate the role of a wedding coordinator and their costs– as I have heard things said like:
- “I only need someone for the day. Can’t you just come on the day of?”
- “I’m a type-A personality and highly detailed so I enjoy the planning, so I don’t really need a lot of help”
- “We’ve done all of our planning and have about $400 left for a coordinator”
Now, this isn’t the norm– but with the economy’s downturn, people had become very creative with their inquiries and excuses. So when they hear that wedding day of coordination could cost thousands, they are shocked. Let’s clear up some misconceptions:
First, no one is just “showing up” on the day of your wedding to coordinate it. That’s not day of coordination. That’s damage control. This is much like you going into a doctor’s office and saying, “I don’t need you to do any tests on me, I’m pretty smart and really detailed. So, what I’m going to need you to do is just show up at the operating room and do the surgery for me”. You basically want the doctor to do a procedure “cold”, without knowing anything about your medical history, predispositions, or the medical team of nurses, anesthesiologists, etc. you’ve secured. The same is said for clients who expect wedding planners and coordinators to do the same thing. It is expected that the clients want someone to appear a few hours before the ceremony, set up a few place cards, fluff the peonies, tell your grandmother when to walk and cue you when to cut the cake. That is truly the watered down version of what a wedding coordinator does. That is only what you see.
It takes more than one day to coordinate a wedding. Truth be told, it takes anywhere to 4 to 6 weeks to coordinate ONE day. Those weeks consists of pulling together logistics, reviewing the event team’s contracts to confirm responsibiities and obligations, contacting your bridal party to make sure they know their duties and needed locations, finalizing payments, scheduling load-ins and strikes, creating timelines, event layouts, seating charts and more. By the time your wedding day rolls around, your coordinator will have put in at least 8 hours on your wedding. I’ve heard many brides laugh and say, “Oh, I don’t need all of that”. I laugh right back and say “Of course you don’t. But your caterer and photographer does…” It’s your job to be the bride, so there are many details that you may not have thought of.
Think of it as major motion picture company finding the right movie director for their new hot blockbuster. While a movie producer finds the talent, supervises and controls the funding, and other important duties. The parallel would be your full service wedding planner. The movie director is the person who directs the making of the film. They control the artistic and dramatic aspects, and work to visualize the script while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of that vision. That, my friend, is your wedding coordinator. You supply the vision, they make sure that everyone else is on the same page so that the vision can come to fruition. With something as important as a blockbuster movie, as an investment, the motion picture company would never bring in a director on the day of a final shoot. Directors are hired early enough to get a feel for the film so that they know it like the backs of their hand. This allows them to know which cameras need to be where, The location of boom mics, pans and zooms and so much more. Again, the same is said of your wedding coordinator. S/he is able to see your event before it happens, making it possible to avoid pitfalls, timing clashes between vendors and other important factors.
So this is why wedding coordination “costs” so much. The experience, commitment and savvy your coordinator brings your wedding is an asset and benefit to your event as a whole. I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my team before each and every wedding: there are no do overs. While you may be extremely detailed, a planner by nature or profession, or have a really good friend or Maid of Honor who can help you, wedding coordinators do this every weekend. You’ll only do it once. They know the ins and outs, what works and what doesn’t. What sounds good in theory, may not work at all for your wedding. Nothing replaces the ability of having your own personal event director/producer on your side to make sure that your vision happens while you’re enjoying your day.
Stepping off my rhinestone soapbox in the Ambertina Louboutins…
P.S.– Keeping in mind what I just described about what the weeks prior to your wedding could entail production-wise, beware of $200 “wedding coordinators” or “free” wedding venue coordinators. You get what you pay for, luxeling.
What’s your thought?