I blogged about five questions to ask a coordinator or planner a few years ago, and I’m now writing today with a more in-depth article on how to find and choose one – reflecting the current needs of brides and grooms today.
Consider exactly what service you want. The past two years, I’ve seen the number of wedding coordination bookings lessen, and surging ahead in popularity are my Partial Planning and custom consultation packages. The reason is, people are strapped for time and need expertise given to them quickly and accurately. These services save couples money in the long run; we often can pre-negotiate and warn clients of costly missteps when we are more intensively involved in the planning process. Also, having a life while you are planning your wedding is nice, too.
Weddings at private estates, like this intimate affair at Malibu Rocky Oaks Vineyard, take intensive time and labor to pull off flawlessly. Photo by Dave Richards Photography.
Do your research on pricing. Comparable-quality vendors have similar price points. If one or two are out of wack from the majority of quotes you are getting, ask them why. Some vendors are newer and less expensive; be sure you can trust their work and check their references. I also talk about this in a recent podcast, here – knowledge is power, and being educated will allow you to discuss pricing in a fair and effective manner with a potential vendor.
“Day of” Is a misnomer. Every now and then I receive a call from a potential client who insists they only need a “day of coordinator” just to “run the day”. I understand there may be some information or opinion floating about there in the universe that allows someone to think that a coordinator does not need to be involved till, say, a few days prior. Many times I’ve stepped into an event 3-4 weeks prior and there are a significant amount of final elements left undone – like a proper timeline, linen count, final menu choices, etc. etc. And certainly, there are also clients where at 2 months out, they are already rock solid with a lot of details. But consider a coordinator an agent of final due diligence and essential project management, speaking with all the vendors and passing info from to another, and correcting some things and adjusting others. We can spot a disaster waiting to happen, too – a seemingly innocuous detail can cause serious issues on the day of, and we’ll hone in on those potential issues. We’ll chase down info from vendors, and chase down info from the client FOR the vendors. The vendors don’t all talk to each other; they need someone to connect the dots.
All set and ready to go…starting a ceremony on time takes careful prep in the weeks prior to the big day. Photo by True Photography. Venue: Calamigos Malibu. Florals: McCann Florist.
I’ve seen massive holes left un-addressed and even if everything is locked up tight, I need to be prepared before the day of so I know how to manage everything. Otherwise, I’ll be constantly behind the curve and scrambling to keep up – and guess who will be to blame if anything goes wrong, that could have been fixed ahead of time? That’s right- the coordinator.
My value for showing up on one day – with no prep work – is at least several hundred dollars. My day rate for working for caterers as a floor manager, for example, is around $350 for 8 hours. Add a few more hours of time at the event; and acknowledging I work 30 weekends a year usually so I have to make it worth my while; and, add the assistant I MUST have (no matter how big or small the wedding), you’re looking at almost 1k. So, it makes sense to get the whole set of wedding coordination services for a little more money, and get way more value out of the caring hand-holding and resourcefulness of a coordinator working just for you.
My book The Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths has more must-have info about planning your wedding, and my door is always open at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy planning!