#4 in our series of the Five Biggest Wedding Planning myths: The risks of not working with a professional wedding coordinator.
Certainly, a bride or groom with common sense, an eye for numbers, and solid time management skills allow him or her to organize a wedding from the ground up. But no matter how on point you are, you need to be present as the guests of honor on your wedding day, not actually ‘working’ the day itself. It’s like a play – the lead actors cannot also serve as the stage managers!
Also there are logistical and permitting issues at play in a variety of cities, that the layperson is not aware of. Having the bare minimum of expertise to guide your wedding will save you from doing the dirty work of brass-tacks logistics.
A few things to keep in mind:
Vendors do not all communicate with each other or the venue. In other words, they often don’t know what they don’t know about each particular wedding until someone shows them a timeline, a scout video, etc. Once they receive that initial information, numerous questions and concerns come to the fore, and a coordinator can then expertly answer them, while the client focuses on more fun things – attending a flower mockup, trying on the dress one more time, and sorting out her guest list.
Most other vendors – like the DJ, onsite banquet captain, or photographer – hate taking over as coordinator. They do not have time to answer multiple questions or perform certain tasks (i.e., repurpose the bridesmaid bouquets to the head table; discuss adjusting the main course service time due to the bride and groom taking last minute sunset shots; coaching the terrified maid of honor through a dry run of her toast, etc.). The DJ is constantly adjusting volume and his or her mixing board, double-checking the speaker system, and prepping for the next toast or announcement. Your photographer is catching the most essential, important moments of one of the biggest days of your life, scanning the room for those special moments. They do not have ample time to circle back with the banquet captain to keep things flowing. The biggest danger here is going seriously off your timeline and running so late that you go into overtime with your vendors or the venue.
Experience counts. There is no governing body that declares someone fit to start an event planning or coordination business. No bar exam to pass, or board certification to earn. Anyone an their mother (literally) can sell themselves as a planner, with little to no practical experience.
The assistance that a good, qualified coordinator provides is evident throughout the planning process, as well. Here’s an example of just a small percentage of the work – the tip of the iceberg, really – we recently provided to a coordination client:
- Advised on floor plan and gave floor plan changes to the venue manager, who mis-read them twice. That’s about 30 minutes and 4 emails back and forth that we took on, on behalf of the client. This is just a small sample of the hours and number of emails (typically 600-800 per event) that we expend on behalf of a client.
- Provided ideas for how to create risers and, thus, more space, on their favor table so there was enough room for their cute but bulky favors.
- Consulted with their DJ on a jam-packed timeline to ensure it went smoothly on the day-of. I sent multiple emails back and forth and drafted at least 3 revisions of the timeline, and ran it past multiple other vendors to ensure it worked with their service time frames.
- Advised on quantities for dessert bar; myself and my associate sat on hold multiple times with the bakery to discern how long the desserts would be stable at room temp, as well as to confirm delivery time.
- On the day of, we dealt with serious issues at the venue on the clients’ behalf. First, we showed the venue manager the contract to ensure everything we and the client originally confirmed with them, was provided accordingly. Then, we asked for a $500 credit at the bar for the client…and got it.
A coordinator protects your best interests and removes a lot of wasted time and guesswork from your planning process. As soon as you hire one, you’ve come the closest to truly guaranteeing your emotional and financial investment in the big day is fully realized.
Our door is always open for a complimentary consultation about the peace of mind and stress savings a coordinator can provide. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-562-3306.