As a wedding day/month of coordinator I take full responsibility of how the day ebbs and flows. I take on being the point of contact for vendors, set up, and clean up. This really alleviates stress from not only the couple but the parents, bridal party, and vendors. I take the plans from the couple and illustrate their image from the moment they start getting ready to when they get sent off. I love being able to think about my couple and the vendors! Making sure everyone gets fed that night is one of my main focuses because no body is themselves when they are hangry! I truly love being able to take any challenge and transform it into something beautifully memorable.
As a wedding planner, we have tons of connections with vendors which saves brides money in the long run. If you think about it, us planners are a "constant client" to vendors whereas a bride without a planner is a one time client. When vendors see us constantly returning to their businesses and supporting them, they support us back and throw in discounts or even FREE items... Yes, free!! Cake stands, tastings, DJ discounts and more. In the long run, we can safe you money by giving you the best connections possible.
The main difference between planning and coordinating is that if you hire a wedding planner to plan your wedding, we will be working with you throughout the planning process to match you with vendors, create a cohesive design, and ensure that no details or important planning to-do's are forgotten! This of course takes away tons of stress and saves you hundreds of hours that you would be searching vendors and trying to figure out what to do.
If you hire a wedding planner to only provide coordination (sometimes AKA management), the planner will come in just a few weeks before the wedding to finalize details and coordinate the wedding day.
To take things a step further- there are different "levels" of planning and every planner will have their own offerings. You might see Full Service Planning, Partial Planning, or Planning + Design. It can be a bit confusing because these terms mean different things to every planner, so it is important to get a list of what is included in the service from the planner. Generally, Full Planning includes consulting and matching the client with all vendors, design, sourcing rentals, monthly planning meetings, and being there for whatever the couple needs throughout planning their wedding!
Partial Planning will include a limited number of planning meetings and a limited number of vendors that you will get assistance in getting help finding. I personally offer 4 planning meetings and 4 vendors of choice that I will consult and match you with in my Partial Planning package. I know some other planners that offer Management plus Design for their Partial Planning package.
When it comes to Coordination, the phrase "day of coordinator" is often thrown around but established planners actually really dislike the phrase. I prefer to use the term Wedding Management. Because in reality, nobody can simply show up the day before your wedding and coordinate your rehearsal and take over the wedding that you spent a year planning. The terms "day of coordination," "month of coordination," and "wedding management" are all terms used to describe coordination. When looking for a coordinator for your wedding day, make sure that they begin working with you a minimum of 4 weeks prior to your wedding. The reason being is that those final weeks before the wedding is when you are tying up the loose ends and finalizing details so you want a wedding planner that is going to help guide and help you through that process to ensure that no detail is forgotten, that timelines and details are planned appropriately, and also establish the relationship with your vendors to make sure they understand who will be the point of contact on the wedding day. Keeping your planning included in those final conversations and meetings is crucial! I have saved my couples so much time just in wedding management by filling out questionnaires for them and answering questions for vendors.
If you are trying to decide which service is best for you, I would say the highest level of service that you can afford. I will always be honest with couples that set up a consultation that are considering hiring us for planning but maybe they have a budget that doesn't allow for full planning. That is why I offer partial planning and al la carte planning. At a minimum, everyone should hire a coordinator. Ask your wedding venue and vendors and they will reiterate that! I started this business after working at a wedding venue and seeing too many weddings without a coordinator. If there isn't a coordinator, nobody knows who the point of contact is for the day and either the photographer and DJ have to kind of try to make up for the loss and thus, not focus on their jobs (which are both really important). Or they will go to the bride, her mom, or the best friend. But then you aren't able to be fully present in the day. So much happens behind the scenes. If something happens and the mother of the bride is in charge of fixing it, everyone will know something happened! If I am there, I can come up with a solution and move things around without anyone knowing. I might have to inform the couple of a slight change, but it will still be smooth sailing all night.
If you have a demanding job, don't have any idea of what to do or how to pull a wedding together, or just don't want to worry about planning your wedding- hire a full planner.
If you have already started planning or you just feel like you need a little bit more help than coordination but don't want full planning- book Partial Planning.
Expect to spend about 10% of your budget on a wedding planner or 5% of your budget on a coordinator. And if you are worried about being able to afford a wedding planner, that is why I offer al la carte planning sessions. So literally anyone can afford to get at least one planning session and we can really power through wedding planning in 2 hours! However, I get access to exclusive discounts from vendors and affiliate programs. I got my last client over $3,000 in discounts!
Get organized! There are so many little details you can easily skip over without even realizing until the last minute. Also make sure to ask for help. A lot of people take on so much thinking they can handle it but planning a wedding can be very stressful and full of emotions so ask for help
Let’s talk wedding day regrets, but ahead of time so that when your wedding day comes, you will have none!
Saving money on a “budget” photographer- This is one of the biggest regrets I have had couples experience. They are saving money for that day, but their memories are either not captured or the quality is lacking. My advice is and will always be, don’t trim the budget in this category, do your research, read reviews, look at their work! Finding the perfect photographer doesn’t always mean the one who is the least expensive! After your wedding, when you are left with lacking images, it’s something you can’t authentically get back. I have witnessed brides miss certain moments being captured or images not delivered to them post wedding.
On the same page as photography, comes video coverage! Often I hear brides say they don’t want to include video coverage because they will never watch it, or there is no room in their budget! My advice is this, your day happens in the blink of an eye! Videographers have a way of capturing those moments that you have spent months (years) planning and often don’t see! I advise all couples to watch highlights, do your research, but consider video/film coverage for your day! It will be something you won’t regret doing! You can relive your wedding day over and over, share on your anniversary, and really be taken back to your beginning!
Picking trendy decor- Yes, we all want to stay current, “on trend”, however another regret for wedding day is just doing what is “trendy.” Your wedding day should reflect your style, from your dress to the decor! Choose something that is timeless and don’t just jump on the current trend! Choose what you love, after all, it is your day!
Not having a planner or coordinator- the biggest regret I hear so frequently is not having a planner or at least wedding day management (coordination.) As stated above, your wedding day goes by very quickly. Often when there is no planner or coordinator, your wedding party or friends and family are left with all the tasks of the day. I have heard so many regret not hiring a professional to take the lead. I encourage you to consider your day, do you want your family and friends to enjoy the day with you? Hire a planner, at the least, a coordinator, save yourself and your family any regrets!
Let’s talk guest count! The biggest regret in regards to this topic is this, having a venue that doesn’t work for your guest count. The first thing you should consider when planning your day, is your guest count. This will really help you choose the perfect venue that will comfortably host you and your guests. We have all been to a wedding where we can barely move our chairs from the dinner table, right? Narrow down your guest list ahead of time, it will save you from many regrets in the end!
As a planner, my main goal when helping couples is keeping their best interest in mind! I like to meet them for coffee and hear about how they met, how they proposed, and all about their idea of their dream wedding. I like to hear about their favorite experiences they’ve had to together and the hobbies they share. Things like their music taste, personalities, and their favorite brands can also benefit us while planning their wedding. After getting to know them, it truly helps me envision their wedding day and from there I can create the aesthetic and experience they always dreamed of. It’s easy for some couples to have ideas, but most of the time they just need some help sourcing those perfect vendors and making everything cohesive. I love nothing more than a couple who comes to me with a vision and I get to find a way to create it. The most rewarding thing as a planner is to see your couples reaction on the wedding day when they see that vision come to life.
I always like to start by creating a mood board for the couples’s vision and then a list of what vendors would be necessary to accomplish that look. Also keep in mind the small details like guestbook, cake knives, cuff links, appetizer plates, etc. Then we discuss what is top priority for them versus what they are willing to budge on; think “would you rather plated or buffet dinner? If we do buffet style then we will have more to put towards that gorgeous floral arch piece you saw.” Be open to your planner’s recommendations because in the end they just want to help keep you in budget while also giving you the wedding of your dreams!
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