Plan your own wedding but don't want to manage it on the big day? Here's your answer!
by Adrian Cavlan
WARNING: In the forthcoming narrative, you may at times notice the tongue placed firmly in cheek. Please don’t take offense, and let’s have some fun : )
There you were, staring at that mountain at the very beginning of your journey into the wonderful world of planning your wedding, when suddenly you thought to yourself “hey - I am a resourceful person. I am capable of finding my own sources, making my own choices and negotiating my own deals. I don’t need some stranger who doesn’t even know me to micro-manage my wedding and start thinking they can tell me how it’s going to be. Hah - I’ll just do it myself and save a ton of money!”
And so it went. Happily at first… “I found the coolest photographer!” “Oh my GOD this caterer makes the most amazing food and she’s actually friends with the baker for my cake and even recommended a fantastic florist to me too! You know, I think I somehow found my way into the cool brides club!”
Then a snag or two… “Had a hard time getting the DJ sorted out and, yeah, the florist turned out to be great but how in the heck could I have ever afforded her?” Oh - and then there was this thing about finding an officiant. An officiant. Wait - what? Oh - yeah - not just planning a party, gotta get actually married too.”
But, in the end, you made it. Unbelievably. “Hmm… ok: I’ll admit it might have been a bit easier if I would have hired a coordinator… but I did save a bunch of money and the choices were all mine and that feels pretty good to me. It was worth it!”
But, we have a whole new potential nightmare to tell you about and, well, we’re sorry, but…You have to manage all of those separate vendors all the way up to your wedding day and then ON YOUR WEDDING DAY.
Yes, you heard me right.
Pre-event confirmation calls, integrated timeline management that considers the logistical and service delivery needs for each vendor as an individual and the team as a whole, negotiation of who does what with what when each thing is delivered, post-event timeline management (necessary to avoid costly facility overtime), etc, etc, etc.
Doesn’t that sound like a fun thing to do in the final week leading up to your wedding?
Even more, doesn’t that sound like a fun thing to have to worry about and actually manage during your wedding celebration?
No, it does not. If you think about it, it is a nightmare. And don’t think you will be doing yourself or any of your friends or relatives a favor by dumping this responsibility in their lap on your wedding day either. I mean, they are your friends and relatives, right? So, don’t you want them to have fun and participate in your wedding day with you rather than stressing all day working for you? Of course you do!
Enough doomsaying. Let’s look at a potential solution now that you have planned most or all of your own wedding. Let’s look at a way that you can zip this all up in a big, beautiful bag and simply hand it off to someone who you can trust to take it to completion for you with no guilt feelings at all.
Let me introduce you to the latest trend in weddings and your personal hero/savior: the Day-Of Wedding Coordinator!
Rather than spouting off a bunch of factoids about a discipline I am only somewhat familiar with, I instead decided to go to two up-and-coming experts in this emerging sector of wedding coordination and ask them to share their wisdom with us.
Meet Lynn Myers-Galster (LMG) of Duke And Pearl Weddings & Celebrations and Sarah Greathouse (SG) of A Paper Flower Wedding.
Here are the questions I asked and their responses:
Q: Why you think the trend of hiring a day-of coordinator has been gaining so much momentum?
SG: “With so many resources at the fingertips of couples these days, I think couples are feeling more confident than ever that they are capable of planning their own wedding. It is much easier now than it was a few years ago to find the vendors you are looking for without the help of a hired professional planner. There will always be couples out there who want or need the assistance of a full planner, but for those who want to do the planning themselves, hiring a 'day-of' coordinator allows them the freedom to plan their own wedding without worrying about who will be there to make sure all their plans come to life.”
LMG: “I think people really want to plan their wedding but not have to do anything on their wedding day and don't want their family and friends to have to be in charge either. Many venues are also requiring at least a "day of" coordinator.”
Q: What the difference is between day-of, month-of and full-service?
LMG: “The difference between our day of and month of service is the ability to add on extra services where they may want additional help. Most of the time it is with vendor assistance, either needing referrals or helping to negotiate and help with the appropriate services for their event.”
SG: “I only offer 'day-of' services, and neither of my packages only include one day. My most popular package is my three week 'day-of' package. I meet with the couple three weeks before their wedding. At that time we do a venue walkthrough and a complete coordination meeting. This meeting is very in depth and typically takes several hours as I learn every detail about their big day. I take detailed notes and then over the next two weeks we go back and forth with follow up questions and clarifications as I put together their detailed timeline. Once we have a finalized timeline, I send that document out to all their other vendors and introduce myself as their point of contact from that point forward (typically one week before the wedding). I then run the ceremony rehearsal the day before the wedding so all participants are comfortable and know their parts. Then on the day of the wedding I am there for approximately 9 hours overseeing vendors, assisting with set up, orchestrate the ceremony, and general management of the timeline throughout the event. I am also typically there until the end to be able to pack up all the personal items of the couple and ensure everything is wrapped up smoothly.
During the three weeks we work together, one of my main goals is to really learn who the couple is, their personality types, what is most important to them on their wedding day, and how I think they would handle challenges. That way I will feel comfortable handling issues on the wedding day as I feel they would have handled them. A 'day-of' coordinator should be able to handle most issues that arise without involving the couple.
I do also offer what I call a 'final month' package that is 5 weeks. It is basically the same package as the three week package only I include a review of all vendor contracts and we split the venue walk through and the coordination meeting into two separate meetings. With the 'final month' package, we just go a little more in-depth and I 'proofread' everything they have coordinated up to that point to make sure there are no 'red flags'.”
Q: What kind of clients should seek day-of vs. month-of or full-service?
SG: “The 'day-of' or ‘month-of’ client is typically someone who really wants to be in charge of their wedding and design it themselves. They are usually confident they can pull all the pieces together but they are also wise enough to know that they will not be available to oversee everything on the wedding day.”
LMG: “Clients that seek full service typically don't have the time to plan their wedding or are from another state, again, the month or clients needs more that just day of to assist with either additional vendor relations or maybe guest services such a transportation and/or lodging assistance.”
Q: Anything else you think people should know?
SG: “If you are planning your own wedding, hiring a professional 'day-of' coordinator is the best investment you can make to ensure all your plans come to life and that you actually get to enjoy your day!”
LMG: “It is SO worth the money to hire us for at least day of coordinating for their wedding! We make sure that the couple enjoys every minute of their wedding day!”
And there you have it! I think there are a lot of reasons to at least look into possibly adding this service to your wedding day. To contact Lynn, you can see her website at http://dukeandpearl.com/, call 831/521-2034 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact Sarah, you can see her website at www.apaperflowerwedding.com, call 650-483-5209 or email email@example.com.
Good luck and we hope we were able to help shed some light on this for you : )