Everyone (just about) has seen the 2001 Jennifer Lopez movie: The Wedding Planner and fell in love with the idea of some OCD, uptight scrabble lover finding love with a Medical hottie (the groom of a wedding she's planning, of all people) and living happily ever after. But the movie really only touches on a sliver of what Coordinators actually do and how they play an extraordinary key role in your Wedding. Wedding Coordinators and Wedding Planners are the very backbone of your event; the glue that holds everything together.
First let's review what the differences are between Coordinators and Planners and how they will help you decide what you need:
A Wedding Planner is a professional you would hire to help you plan from the beginning all the way through the day-of. You can expect them to help determine and manage your budget, find and negotiate with your other vendors, assist with all details and design, coordinate hotel rooms for out of town guests, and so much more. The right Planner should be able to oversee everything regarding your event on your behalf and create it the way you want it.
So why is this important? Why should you fork out the money for someone to do it for you? If you are like just about every other couple getting married for the first time, you've probably never planned a wedding before... and it can be overwhelming to say the least. The shear intricacy of detail and amount of loose ends that need to be tied to ensure your day goes smoothly (and within your budget) are innumerable. There is no right way to host a wedding, therefore each one can be completely different than the last, and catering it to your needs and calling all the shots can really be a challenge. For us as professionals, it creates this never ending learning process. After working over 300 weddings, I can say for a fact this is true! But that is what makes it worth it; no two weddings are alike and each one requires a new way of brainstorming.
Therefore, if you... -Want the least possible amount of wedding-related stress-Have zero free time (because we all know better than to do wedding stuff while at work!)-Have no clue where to start when it comes to planning, or your organizational skills aren't very strong.-Have a very short time frame for planning.-Are having a destination wedding and/or a wedding weekend involving multiple events.-Are hosting your wedding in an unusual space/multiple locations ...a Wedding Planner is for you and WELL WORTH the money. Besides, that way you don't have to burden any family members or friends to do it for you (talk about pressure!) which is becoming less and less acceptable at venues nowadays.
A Wedding Coordinator (or Consultant in some cases) is a professional who steps in as your wedding becomes closer; a Day-Of Planner if you will, though they typically begin their assistance 30 days before your wedding date, it's really dependent on your needs.
So why is this important? Exactly the same reason as before but above anything else they are there directing your vendors, setting up and decorating your venue, and making sure the event itself goes off without a hitch (except your getting hitched of course!) They make sure everything is exactly the way you envisioned it so you are free to enjoy your special day.
Therefore if you...
-Want to play an active role in planning your own wedding but would like someone to take care of the last-minute details and make sure you haven't missed anything.
-Are extremely organized and detail-oriented.
-Are required to hire a Day-Of Coordinator by your venue (more and more are going this route)
-Don't want any family or friends to miss out on your day by having to work during it
... a Wedding Coordinator is for you and WELL WORTH the money and being able to relax knowing everything is being taken care of.
Now for some Tips to keep in mind. As a certified Wedding Planner (and Designer) myself, I find it important to keep some things in mind when choosing whichever route will be best suited to you and your wedding.
According to a 2018 study, the cost of hiring a Planner, or Designer (we'll touch on them in a separate post) can range anywhere from 15-25% of your total wedding budget depending on location, specific inclusions, and more. Wowza, right?! So it's important to ask plenty of questions and really understand what it is you'd be paying that professional for. For a full-service Planner, be prepared to pay a minimum of $1,500 (based on a $10,000 budget) but understand that it really is worth it.
Certifications and licenses are not required (with the exception of working at certain venues) to practice Wedding Planning/Coordination. HOWEVER, it certainly doesn't hurt and lets you know that they mean business. So ask your professional if it's something that is important to you.
Timing is everything. Even if you decide to hire a Day-Of Coordinator, it is best to book them as quickly as possible. One, so you know you have someone you can rely on. Two, so if you have a professional in mind, you know they are available for your date regardless of how far out it is. Three, you can start planning your final meetings, rehearsal, and what you think you'll need help with ahead of time to give them a heads up to put it on their calendars (we really appreciate this!)But this also goes for Wedding Planners; the more time you can give them to make your wedding perfect, the better.
ASK QUESTIONS. There is no such thing as a dumb question when it comes to putting together a wedding. If you aren't sure about something, ask your professional. You are paying them to provide any and all assistance pertaining to your wedding, so you can feel confident and worry-free.
Weddings are so rigorous, time consuming, rewarding, breath-taking, enchanting... sorry I zoned out a bit and could go on for a while... but to sum up: worthwhile. I have such an indescribable passion for Weddings, it's hard to relay it to my couples during our initial consultations. My goal has been and will only ever be to provide the best professional services I can; because in the end my couples are who are important: getting them down that aisle to say "I Do" is what matters, but I want to make sure the journey leading up to it is as stress/worry-free and fun as possible. You only get married once, so you might as well enjoy it!
I hope this shed some light on the difference between Wedding Planners and Coordinators so you can make the hiring choice that will best suite you, and I sincerely hope you will consider Once in a Lifetime for your Wedding or next event! Thank you for reading!