I’m going to share a not-so secret with you —
A good day-of coordinator or wedding planner is invaluable. For every single bride who has ever said, thought, or even thought about thinking the words “I really hope I don’t end up being a bridezilla” — hiring one is not just an option, it is a necessary expense in order to save you an immeasurable amount of stress and bring back the fun into your wedding day. There are so many reasons why I think that they are a crucial part of the wedding process, but today I’m here to tell you why they are a must for every bride who doesn’t want to be a frazzled hot mess on their wedding day.
Everything you need to know —
What is a day-of coordinator?
A day-of coordinator isn’t really a “one day only” type of vendor, and should really be referred to as a wedding coordinator or month-of coordinator. They work for weeks in advance with a couple to ensure that the execution of the wedding they just worked tirelessly to plan goes off without a hitch. The exact role of a coordinator varies from company to company, but in most cases they assist with designing a timeline, implementing all of your wedding elements (such as setting up decor), keeping you on schedule, and problem solving any issues that arise on the day of the wedding.
What is the difference between a day-of coordinator and a wedding planner?
A full-service wedding planner typically carries the same role as a wedding coordinator on the day of the wedding, but also has more responsibilities in preparation for the wedding. They normally work with you from start to finish, assist with developing and sticking to your budget, help find and secure your wedding vendors, and essentially walk you through your wedding planning process like a guardian angel. That’s not an overstatement, I’ve seen wedding planners pull off Cinderella-style pumpkin moves.
What is a venue coordinator?
A venue coordinator is an employee who works specifically for your venue to ensure that all aspects of the venue are functioning properly. In most cases, these people are focused on ensuring that the venue lives up to it’s standard with things like their in-house catering and timeline — especially if the venue has multiple weddings on the same day and they need certain spaces for another couple at a specific time. I am by no means discounting the amount of work that these people put in to their job, and most of the ones I’ve worked with are complete badasses who are incredibly on point, but you should not rely upon them fully as a wedding coordinator unless you have already spoken with your venue and established that this is in fact their role. Their responsibilities vary from venue to venue, and some of the things that you require a coordinator for may simply not be their job. Some venue coordinators will not care if your speeches are behind because your aunt was in the bathroom, or that you didn’t have time to check in to your hotel room in the morning before arriving and they don’t allow late night check in, because it is straight up not related to the venue in any way, shape, or form. Since a wedding coordinator works for you and not your venue, their duties cover all aspects of your wedding, and not just those related to the venue.
You, your friends, and your family will be able to enjoy the wedding stress-free.
Oftentimes when brides decide to forego a full-service wedding planner or a wedding coordinator, their tasks end up falling on to the Maid of Honour, the mother of the bride, or even just a close friend. This is such an easy direction to go in since so many of your friends and family members are practically jumping to help you at this exciting time in your lives (and let’s get real, who doesn’t want to save a little money up front?). However, it is also just as easy to underestimate how much stress a day-of coordinator takes on throughout the day. While you’re spending your morning having your hair and makeup done with your bridal party, these are the people who will be laying out your carefully crafted favours on your place settings one by one, checking the clock while waiting for your centrepieces to be delivered, and making sure your limo driver arrives at the right address on schedule.
Preparation and experience
Wedding coordinators and wedding planners spend weeks in advance preparing with you and your groom in order to be the next best thing to having you there yourself. They (the good ones, at least) know which questions to ask in order to determine exactly what you envision for your day and how you want each step of the process executed. They know where exactly each DIY decor piece you worked so hard on with your bridesmaids needs to be placed, they know how long they are able to spend preparing those decor pieces in order to keep you on schedule, and most importantly, they know how to make game-time decisions exactly as you would so that you can be left alone to enjoy your day with your new husband — guys, questions like “do you want to keep the bar tab open for an extra hour?” should never be a burden left to your friends and family to try to figure out on their own.
Having someone who is calm in the face of an emergency is always a good idea.
A few weeks ago, I shot a wedding in Cambridge. It was a perfect day, at a beautiful venue, and everything started off flawlessly— until the groom realized that he left his wedding shoes over an hour away at his house in Toronto. He immediately had to drop everything he was doing with less than an hour before the ceremony to run out to Aldo and buy a brand new pair which made him about twenty minutes late for his church ceremony, and had he been any later there was a chance that the ceremony wouldn’t have even happened. The kicker? The employee working at Aldo instantly said “Oh this happens all the time!”
I see little mini emergencies like this happen at every single wedding: forgotten clothing items, the venue not realizing that they had to set up a vendor table, missing cutlery. Weddings with a planner or coordinator, though, have somebody other than you to continually say “I’ve got this!” and handle it quickly, professionally, and keep everyone calm in the process. They act as a first point of contact for not only you when you have an issue, but also everyone else. So when your photographer realizes that they don’t have a table or chair to eat their dinner at, they can ask your planner instead of interrupting your dinner to awkwardly ask about it.
You’re almost guaranteed to have a timeline that straight up makes sense.
I’ve said this time and time again — the timeline will make or break your wedding day. If this isn’t the biggest selling point to hire a professional, it absolutely should be. The truth is, you likely haven’t planned out a wedding before, and even if your photographer is kick-ass and helps you by letting you know how much time he or she needs to photograph every portion of the day there are still a lot of aspects that even they don’t know about that will change the way a timeline should be organized. A wedding planner or wedding coordinator will work with you to create a timeline that is functional, flows, and that has the exact amount of buffer time they need in order to problem solve all of the issues that are bound to come up. They also work tirelessly to keep you on that schedule, and know how to adjust it on the fly so that when your mother goes missing for thirty minutes right before her speech you don’t lose videography coverage of your first dance as a result.
Images above photographed at the Erich McVey Workshop in Elk, California at Navarro River Redwoods State Park | Creative Direction & Styling: Ginny Au assisted by Charlene Tea | Art Direction: Kaela Rawson for Ginny Au | Floral Design: Soil & Stem assisted by Tess Comrie | Hair & Makeup: Mimi & Taylor | Gown: Emily Riggs | Ribbon: Froufrou Chic | Model: Morgan Love for Option Model & Media | Sponsors: Neve Albums, PhotoVision, Fuji Film, Pixieset, Once Wed, Make & Stow