Did you just get engaged and feeling a bit overwhelmed about everything on your new to-do list?
One big question you may have is "who can help me" and "do I need a wedding planner, or even just a day-of coordinator"?
Below you'll find the answers to a few key questions about what a wedding day of coordinator does (and doesn't do). Hopefully this will help you understand if it is in your best interest to hire one for your wedding day.
What is a Wedding Day Of Coordinator?
An event professional you hire specifically to help execute the vision and details for your wedding day.
How do I know I need one?
If you having many details and moving parts to your day (aka not everything is in one space, like a hotel) and you don't want to be stressed out worrying that everything will work out the way you dreamed, you probably want to hire a day-of coordinator.
A good example of this is if your wedding is happening at a "raw space" venue where nothing is supplied and you have to bring everything in. This might include a caterer, furniture rental, florist, photographer, dj, videographer, transportation, decorator, string quartet, etc.
What if my event venue supplies a coordinator?
If you are having all of the wedding festivities at one location (ceremony & reception at the same place) and they have a coordinator on-site, that you like, then you probably will be OK without a day-of-coordinator.
Please Note: I did say "that you like" this is so important. You need to feel comfortable and secure with all of your vendors, especially the coordinator. This person is going to be your biggest advocate on your day, making sure your needs and concerns are addressed. If you don't like them, you need to find someone you do like so that your day is as stress-free as possible.
What kind of details can they help me with?
Main contact for all vendors
Make sure all vendors arrive on time and are set up where they need to be
Help with directions if any vendors get lost
Coordinate shuttle/bus services if needed
Make sure no guests are left behind if there is a shuttle taking guests to ceremony and/or reception
Make sure all flowers that were supposed to arrive, do in fact arrive
Make sure all place settings are arranged as envisioned
Make sure timeline is followed throughout the day
Troubleshoot if any last minute emergencies occur
Call cabs for guests who need them.
Work with DJ/Musicians on any last minute needs/timeline of reception details
and SO MUCH MORE!
So they don't help with any of the planning at all?
Depends on the coordinator. Some can be hired for planning, some can be hired as a "consultant" just providing guidance throughout the planning process. You can do research and find a coordinator that meets your needs.
A good coordinator will help create an "itinerary" for the day. This should include a walk-through about 4-6 weeks prior to the wedding day. Here, they will go over every little detail with you, making suggestions to ensure the experience is memorable for you and all your guests.
The "itinerary" should be shared with all vendors about a week prior to the wedding day so everyone is "in the know" about the details and all are on the same page. Often the caterer creates their own version of a timeline - a good coordinator will work with the caterer to make sure their timelines align.
When do I need to hire a wedding day-of coordinator
As soon as you know you'll need the help. If you start planning and start feeling anxious about all the details, do yourself a favor and hire a coordinator. A good one will have "unlimited email communication" as part of their package so you can always email them with questions or concerns throughout the planning process. It is helpful to have this open line of communication so you can feel more comfortable and they can reassure you that you have nothing to worry about.
How much do they cost?
Every coordinator is different and it is based on the market and their personal experience. They can range from $500 to $5000. Just make sure if you are spending top-dollar, you are getting A LOT out of it - basics should be:
Walk through of all event details 4-6 weeks prior to event date (best would be AT the venues for the wedding)
Creation of a timeline for the day
10 hours of day-of service (this is a minimum).
Also, don't always opt for the cheapest option. If they cost less than you expect, just make sure you get a reference or two before you hire them. Here is where spending the money will be worth it for you.
How can I find one?
Google "Day Of Coordinator in (your city/town/state here)" and see what comes up. Also, a great resource is a wedding blog or photographers blog. Often, along with their photos, they list all the vendors associated with the wedding with links to contact them. Here you'll find great vendor options and testimonials from the bride and groom and/or other vendors that worked with them. Often, vendors recommending vendors is a great resource - especially in this instance because the coordinator is the conductor of the event and if they weren't nice, other vendors wouldn't recommend them.
Have a question that wasn't answered above? Let me know in the comments below. I'll try and answer all questions asked!