What is the role of wedding coordinator?
A wedding coordinator is tasked with a leadership and organization role over all wedding vendors, details and wedding-day tasks. Also known as a wedding planner, the coordinator maintains contact with all vendors during the planning period and acts as a liaison between the bride and groom and the various wedding participants. The planner may also offer consultative advice and help with the budget.
The idea of getting paid to coordinate weddings might seem like a dream come true for many. Wedding coordinators and planners help build the agenda of the event, including the ceremony, the décor, the reception, and entertainment. They create a unique and memorable experience for everyone who attends.
But the job is not without some significant pressure. A wedding coordinator must effectively be a jack of all trades and must possess certain skills that are essential to performing each of them.
The job can involve hand-holding in one moment, chasing down a vendor the next moment, and corralling loafing employees with the very next breath.
What Does a Wedding Coordinator Do?
Wedding planning jobs exist throughout the U.S., and they go by many different titles, such as bridal consultant, wedding consultant, or wedding coordinator.
Behind the creativity and fun lies a mountain of paperwork, non-stop phone calls, and logistics. Wedding coordinators respond to many emails, and they manage a significant volume of files on each event, including all relevant details of a particular ceremony.
The coordinator might serve as a liaison between the client and another hotel/resort resources, such as catering, concierge services, guest room reservations, and other departments.
A wedding day consists of multiple vendors coming together to create the perfect ceremony and reception. The wedding planner presents the bride, groom, parents or any other party involved in the planning process with options for each vendor service. This includes rental equipment, caterers, reception venues, florists, cake and dress designers, a DJ or band, an officiant, and any other wedding necessities. The planner offers recommendations of vendors with whom she has had a pleasant experience. The planner will note the bride and groom’s style and requirements and relay this information to each vendor to ensure the couple is pleased with all aspects of the wedding day.
Communication with Vendors
The planner maintains all contact and communication with the vendors. If the vendors have a question or concern, the planner can usually address these issues without involving the couple. If necessary, the planner will relay any questions to the bride or groom and then report back to the vendor. The wedding coordinator must make certain that all vendors arrive on time on the day of the event. Each vendor should have the coordinator’s cell phone number in the event of an emergency.
Working With the Wedding Party
The coordinator must instruct the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, parents and officiant on how to stage the ceremony and make entrances at the beginning of the reception. This often involves working with the musicians or DJ to ensure attendants enter and exit at the correct time. The coordinator should also instruct the best man and maid of honour when to give their speech during dinner. If any attendants have issues or questions on the day of the wedding, they should direct them to the coordinator instead of the bride, groom or parents.
Assisting on the Wedding Day
The coordinator is available to assist the bride and groom with whatever they need on the day of the wedding. The coordinator is armed with hairspray, mints, tissues, makeup, perfume and anything else the bride may need immediately before the ceremony or reception. The coordinator may need to help the bride bustle her dress after the ceremony, provide more comfortable shoes, or assist with hair and makeup touch-ups.
What is the difference between a wedding planner and a day-of wedding coordinator?
A full-service wedding planner handles everything for the couple, from start to finish. A wedding planner’s tasks include the overall design and vision of the wedding, keeping the couples within their budgets, contract negotiations, the hiring of vendors, as well as execution of the event vision on the day of the wedding.
But what does a day of wedding coordinator do? A wedding day coordinator will jump into the process a few weeks to a few months prior to the big day, usually to help those couples who are planning the wedding themselves. Yes, there is help for those couples who are planning their weddings on their own!
A day of wedding coordinator will be logistically focused and available to you to get everything organized as you lead up to the day of the wedding. They are there to take over on the day of the wedding to ensure that all details that are planned are executed. As we like to say, a day-of coordinator is essential for any couple who wants to do most of the planning themselves, but when their wedding day arrives, they need a professional to execute all of their hard work and planning. Having a professional such as a day of wedding coordinator there to handle the logistics is so essential because a wedding couple should be able to enjoy themselves at their wedding and not worry about anything!
As a day of wedding coordinator, at what point in the wedding planning process do you come in the process?
A day of coordinator comes into the process depending upon the needs of the couple. We have couples who book our services a year out from their wedding date because they already know the value of having a day of wedding coordinator and want to ensure we are available for them on the day of the wedding. We also have couples who call us closer to their wedding, like two months out let’s say, which usually happens as their stress begins to mount and they realize they need help. They start to worry about details and aren’t sure how it will come together in the end so hiring us helps to alleviate that.
What does a day of coordinator do to help the couples who are choosing to plan their weddings rather than hire a full-service wedding planner?
Details Made Simple will take the day of coordination a step further in these situations to help guide our couples through their planning process. We become a resource for them and remove some stress as they know we are just a phone call or text away! From the time of the contract, we do monthly check-ins, provide amazing vendor recommendations, give advice and guidance through their planning process while providing wedding day management on the day of the wedding. Our main goal is to ensure that our clients feel like actual guests at their wedding!
Organization and attention to detail are key! This is a first time process for most wedding couples, so that is truly flying blind through the planning. With this in mind, we always recommend helpful ways to simplify planning, including the use of AllSeated. The guest list, floorplan design, seating arrangements, and timeline tools are invaluable throughout the planning process.
As the wedding day approaches, we construct a detailed timeline and run of show for the day of the wedding, confirm and manage all wedding vendors, and become their point of contact. We monitor and set up the wedding details, organize the bridal party and family for the ceremony as well as do damage control for anything that might come up on the day of the wedding. Think of the day as your wedding day ninja! We take the wedding you have spent the last year or so diligently planning come to life and without a hitch!
Wedding Planning Skills
A successful wedding coordinator must be personable, possess strong followup skills, and be able to multitask, according to Ada Casanova, former Assistant Manager at the wedding chapel at Mandalay Bay.
Those multitasking skills are critical. “You may be coordinating a ceremony, and then a bride calls you because a boutonniere is missing. You want to make sure that they’ve had a phenomenal experience because they’ll share their experience with others,” Casanova explains.
Wedding coordinators and wedding managers are expected to convey a positive image, have strong interpersonal skills, and maintain a professional, well-groomed image. Similarly to the job requirements for other event planning professionals, wedding coordinators must have a strong knowledge of hospitality.
They also have the added responsibilities of overseeing the wedding coordinators, meeting departmental expectations for budget and staffing, and ensuring that they effectively represent the hotel or resort.
You’re expected to respond quickly to clients. “We had a response time of 24 hours for every email. We worked on files 30 days prior to the event to accommodate the workload. We contacted the couple, and finalized the contract,” Casanova adds.
Your wedding coordinator will not decorate all of your reception tables
On the day of a wedding, a coordinator has pulled in a dozen different directions at the same time. Almost every professional participating in set up will run into a logistical issue or have a question about where or how their job is to be performed, no matter how they have been communicated with. Friends and family members will be approaching throughout the set up with various issues that need immediate attention or questions that need answers, and heaven forbid disaster strike on some level. Even a well-organized coordinator is guaranteed to have their hands full. There simply isn’t enough time for them to be responsible for setting all of your reception decors simultaneously and executing all of their other responsibilities.
You CAN expect your coordinator and their team to be responsible for the placement of limited decorative pieces.
Items like your guest book, escort cards, favours, unity ceremony elements, menus and programs are all items that we can easily manage to get into place while orchestrating the rest of your set up, answering questions, and putting on our super capes to avert a crisis if needed. These are all things that can be accomplished without pulling our primary focus from the execution of the event itself, and it’s our pleasure to do them for you and put the finishing touches on your vision for your day. Putting tiny details in place and seeing everything come together seamlessly thrills us and most of us kind of geek out over it inside because we love what we do.
Your wedding coordinator will not run errands for you or retrieve forgotten items
This one is pretty simple. If your coordinator is running out to replace your Spanx or grab a mysteriously missing groomsman’s shirt, they are no longer doing their primary job, participating in and overseeing your event set up and execution. Your whole purpose in hiring a coordinator was to be certain that someone professional and experienced was leading the team of pros you picked to work on your day. So why would it make any sense to send them to another location where they cannot effectively do the job they were hired to do? We can’t manage event set up, put final details in place, advise on last-minute etiquette questions, and combat any potential disasters ready to strike effectively long-distance from Nordstrom…or anywhere else.
What you CAN expect from you planner/coordinator is a fully stocked emergency kit.
We travel with Tylenol, lint rollers, Tide stain pens, spray-on deodorant, safety pins, and about a million other useful items that can solve a variety of common wedding problems. We horde picture frames, little chalkboards with chalk, baskets, small vases and votives in our cars to try to prepare for any eventuality. Chances are if you need something small-ish we have it on us and if we don’t, better to send a friend or family member to grab it instead of the person holding the event together and captaining the ship.
Your wedding coordinator will not return rented clothing items for you.
So, we have no problem returning a cake stand to the baker for you, or the votives that the florist used in the tablescapes, but we won’t save your friends and family the hassle of returning tuxes? What gives?!? Late fees & damages, that’s what.
The baker and the florist typically don’t have late fees in place that designate a specific return time for their items or super stiff penalties into the hundreds and hundreds of dollars for damaged items–suit rental groups do. Since your fiance, father, groomsmen etc. rented their suits, they are financially responsible for returning them at the correct time and in the proper condition. Transferring responsibility to your coordinator can lead to problems if any of the suits are returned in less than a pristine condition or if we are unable to get them back to the rental group until later in the week. (Keep in mind most suit rentals are due back on Mondays–a day many coordinators take off.) It’s simply a duty best left to the individuals who rented the items in the first place.
With a capable Day-Of Coordinator watching over the details of the day, you can enjoy all the special moments with your family and friends without stressing. This also means that your bridal party and family can enjoy the day too! I can’t tell you how many weddings I have been to where the bridal party and close family are running around and stressing because the couple did not hire a wedding coordinator. Not only do you want to relax on your wedding day, but those closest to you should also as well. Entrust your special day to a wedding professional with the experience and flexibility to handle any last-minute changes that may come up, so you can enjoy your celebration.
Wedding planners and coordinators are generally helpful people by nature, and it delights us to make your life easier and your big day flawless, but there are some things we just can’t do. Talk to your coordinator or planner in advance about any jobs or duties that you anticipate needing to be completed and are uncertain about whom will complete them–communication is key in the relationship between a client and a planner/coordinator. There are so many things we can gladly handle for you! And, if there are things on your list that we just can’t do, we are always happy to help you find a solution for getting them done–that’s just part of our job, and it’s a job we love to do.