Late Night Musing - The Myth of "Day-of Coordination" and why it costs more than you think it should.
I'm just going to come right out and say it. There is no such thing as "day of" wedding coordination. Sure, planners offer it (we even offer it)- but that name is a total misnomer. No one can swoop in the morning of your wedding and make sure it all runs like clockwork after one meeting or conversation with you, and with no previous research or prior work. It's impossible. Sure, we planners are a talented bunch, but to do that would be magic. The following is a major sneak peek into the world of wedding planning- and I do it for your own good!! What day of coordination actually involves is a careful balance between logistics (timing, who needs to be where when, and with what), a dash of counseling (lots of cooks, one big kitchen) and circus performing (juggling, anyone?). It's quite involved. As a couple, the myriad details of your day tend to fade into the background once the day gets rolling. It's a complete whirlwind! You're dressed, you're in the limo, getting photos, walking down the aisle, saying "I Do," getting introduced, dancing, dinner, dancing, drinking, cake, dancing, and it's over! As a planner during that day, we have each tiny detail in the forefront of our minds. It's our job to oversee all of it. Of course, in order to coordinate it, we need to have the details -
Here's how it usually works- (or how I, and other planners I know handle it): - Once you're signed on, we get in touch about 2 months prior. - We have a meeting and go over an extensive checklist with you. Mine is 4 pages long, and growing. - We ask all about your vendors' contact info, ask to see their contracts and what they've agreed to provide, what time they're arriving, contact names and numbers. - We ask about the ceremony- who's in it, how long is it, who's officiating. We ask about receiving lines and music and programs. We find out about readings and mini-ceremonies. - We ask about the reception- what you're eating, when it starts, what room it's in, what you're dancing to, how you're being introduced, pronunciation of your parents and bridal party's names, if you're having any special "moments" planned. - We ask about table numbers, seating charts, menu cards and escort cards and favors. - If stuff isn't done, we make a list for you so we can remind you to get it done. If something's not necessary and it's stressing you out, we can advise about substitutions or eliminating it altogether.
Once that's done, we contact your pros, get timing straight and do up an itinerary- your whole day on paper. Literally. We double and triple check facts to make sure it's all straight. We communicate. We send that timeline to your vendors. Then we attend your rehearsal, answer questions and get ready for the next day. We're there to act as your bouncer- keep you calm and enjoying while you prep for the day, field questions from vendors, troubleshoot, and keep you on schedule.
If something goes wrong, we fix it. If we can't fix it, we make it as right as possible. A good day-of coordinator is on her feet all day (10+ hours in most cases), with her assistants, rocking it out for you- she's checking with the caterer, cueing the band, making sure the photographers and videographers know what's happening when. She's making sure you get the most for your money and enjoy the day. She's collecting your special ceremony items and making sure they're put somewhere safe so they go home with you. She's remembering which bridesmaid you handed your lipgloss to. She's watching that card box like a hawk to make sure no one walks off with your gifts. And she's there until you are loaded back into your limo and off to the hotel for the night. And when you're happy, she's happy with a job well done. It's so much more than just the one day. Should you still hire a day of coordinator?? Absolutely. The peace of mind is priceless. That's why you should be *super* careful when looking for one. In NJ, wedding planners have fees all over the map. If the price they're charging you seems super low or exceedingly high... ask why. Wedding day management does not need to be expensive, but it shouldn't be cheap either. As with any wedding service, remember, you get what you pay for!
Happy Planning and Keep Celebrating!