The cost of a wedding coordinator

 

Ok. You’re on a budget. You look at the idea of a wedding coordinator thinking it’s something you can do without.

It’s not.

However, most brides are concerned only with the cost of a coordinator and how it will affect their budget. So they skip the idea to save money.

What they don’t realize is that a good wedding coordinator will not only pay for themselves but save you money. And time.

The cost of a wedding coordinator/planner can be up to 25 percent of your budget, although some offer flat rates for specific services. Many negotiate depending on the services you need.

A full-service coordinator helps from the very beginning with finding a venue, wedding dress, caterer, floral etc. They go with you to every vendor and discuss options with you for you to make the final decisions. They meet with you weekly as the wedding gets closer, go over your budget, and see where you can cut costs.

They are there at the facility days before the wedding, the day of the wedding, and sometimes the day after to make sure everything gets returned, picked up and secured.

The make sure everyone is in his or her places at the rehearsal and at the wedding. They act as producer to make sure everyone does their part at exactly the right time.

They take care of every detail

They are worth every dime.

An event planner does much of the same thing, but on a smaller scale and with less personal service. After all you are paying them a flat fee, so there is a limited amount of time they will spend with you before their time outweighs their profit.

They send you ideas for venues, help you with rentals, floral, catering, music. They answer questions, go over your budget and are there to make sure everything goes smoothly immediately prior to and at the event.

They are also money well spent.

Here’s how these professionals can save you time and money. Unlike family, who sometimes offer to help plan or coordinate, these professionals already know vendors – probably your vendors. They’ve done the research. They know the trends and the prices.

Time saved.

Most of all, they know how to negotiate prices and get you the best deal.

For instance, you may want beef for the reception dinner. The caterer will try to get you to use the best cut because, hey, that makes the meal better and is more profit for them. However, there may be a cut that is suitable for half the price. Chances are your guests won’t know the difference.

A wedding coordinator knows these things while you might not.

Same goes for wedding dresses, floral and even music. A good wedding coordinator should be able to save you 50% on costs compared to what you would have paid retail.

So consider this part of your planning not as another budgetary burden, but as an investment not only into your savings, but into your sanity.

 

The importance of a wedding coordinator

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.