Now, we are getting to some choices. Once you have planned your budget, you have to start making some serious decisions about venues and wedding vendors. This is where a wedding coordinator can be quite useful.
However, it is tricky to pick a coordinator is this modern market because of how venues are currently operating. Many venues have their own wedding coordinator included in a package, so to hire one before choosing a venue could lead to hiring someone you don’t need.
Nonetheless, I have found over the past year that many brides don’t know about all the venues available, which ones offer the best services or which ones have deals. That is where hiring a wedding coordinator up front can save time, energy and money.
Personally, I am of the opinion that hiring a wedding coordinator should be done before picking a venue unless you already know specifically which venue you want. In that case, book the venue and then look for a coordinator if the facility doesn’t have one.
Typically, a coordinator for a facility isn’t what I envision as a professional wedding planner. If they work for one facility, that facility has certain wedding vendors it uses all the time so there is no choice. More on that later, but the planner simply calls these vendors and puts in orders of what the bride says she wants. Sometimes it’s the right choice. Other times it’s not.
A facility wedding planner’s truest duty is taking care of small details the day of a wedding. In that respect, most are pretty good at their jobs. If going this route, make sure you can trust the coordinator with details. Make sure they are organized. Otherwise, you will worry on your big day.
A true wedding planner/coordinator helps a bride with her budget, her choices and offers alternatives when necessary. They steer her to good vendors, guide her in her choices and help the bride make a decision. A true wedding planner is also versed in all aspects of a wedding, such as etiquette, and how to skip around certain delicate situations that crop up at today’s weddings.
For instance, how do you handle divorced parents who hate each other? How does that read on the wedding invitation? Do you give a stepmother a corsage? These are things true wedding professionals know how to handle. They are part event planner, part adviser and part psychologist. In this respect, a good wedding coordinator can become a wise friend who keeps you on this side of sanity.
I had a bride call me once about 10 p.m. one night nearly in tears. She has procrastinated in finding ceremony musicians and now she was hearing it from her mother. To be honest, I had reminded her of the same thing weeks before. She insisted she would take care of it on her own, mostly because she wanted to save the money she would have to pay me to help. Now, it was about three weeks before the wedding.
After talking with her about how to handle her dear mother, I told her I would make some calls. I got some numbers of potential musicians, called her back, and she took half to call up and I took half. By the end of the next day, she had some wonderful musicians which did a great job at the wedding. She couldn’t have been more pleased.
No matter what type of coordinator you choose, you definitely need someone to manage the details and proceedings the week and day of the wedding. I say that from my own experience. When Chef Mike and I got married, I failed to hire a coordinator. Why should I? I thought. I knew exactly what I wanted. Exactly who I wanted. However, the day before the wedding people came up to me with questions like “What do we use to light the candles?” and “Who is going to tell the bridesmaids and groomsmen when to come down the aisle?” and “Who signals the musicians?”
I stared at these people, family members, with a blank stare reminiscent of a dog who couldn’t remember where he put his bone. I had nothing. Fortunately, my family members had been in lots of weddings and took it upon themselves to manage these tasks. I was lucky. Every bride is not.
Hence, a wedding coordinator.