In some ways, a wedding is like a live theater production. The bride and groom are – or at least should be – the stars of the show. And in many cases, the “director” is someone who usually has the title of wedding coordinator or wedding planner. Their job is to work behind the scenes before and during your wedding to make sure it is exactly what you want and that everything goes smoothly.
In general, a wedding coordinator will help you
• with overall planning, including choosing the venue, finding and selecting vendors, deciding on a theme and making sure it’s carried through all the details, etc;
• create a budget and stick to it;
• create a wedding planning schedule and checklists;
• create a wedding day schedule;
• supervise the wedding day activities;
• provide assistance as necessary at the wedding and reception, and handle any emergencies that arise.
Whether you need to hire a wedding coordinator depends on the type of wedding you want, your own organizational skills and your support network. I’ve seen beautiful weddings coordinated entirely by the bride and one of her friends and near-disasters under the supervision of supposed professional coordinators.
My perspective on wedding coordinators comes from years of experience as a professional DJ in Orlando. I’ve seen coordinators that shouldn’t have even bothered to show up and ones that tried to run the wedding like a precision military exercise. At one wedding, the coordinator was following the schedule and insisted it was time to cut the cake. But the bride and groom were late arriving at the reception (a common occurrence) and they had just been served their entrees at the scheduled cake-cutting time. At another wedding, the coordinator told me to announce the cake-cutting because it was time – but the bride and groom weren’t even in the room!
I know that schedules are important, especially if you have the venue and other vendors for a limited period. However, a good coordinator is flexible and doesn’t interrupt one activity to move to the next. She’s prepared from the beginning with a Plan B and the skill to deal with whatever happens.
Here’s what I think you need to know about wedding coordinators:
Like many wedding-related vendors, anyone can call themselves a wedding coordinator. No training is required, there’s no equipment to buy. But just because someone got married once (or twice) or was a bridesmaid doesn’t mean they’re a qualified wedding coordinator.
Look for a coordinator with professional credentials. The Association of Bridal Consultants provides training and certifications that demonstrate a degree of professionalism and commitment that you want to see in someone you’re trusting with such an important event.
Don’t hire the first coordinator you meet with. Interview several, check their references, compare their services and then choose the one that’s a good fit for you. Take the time to read some valuable information posted by wedding planner Elisa Delgardio on her website A Flair for Affairs.
Do you have a great story – good or bad – about a wedding coordinator? Please share!