The short answer is absolutely yes! The 2 biggest regrets when chatting to couples after their wedding day is firstly, not getting a videographer to capture their day in video. Secondly, not getting a coordinator to help make sure the day runs smoothly and instead forever having memories of the dramas.
This is a question that’s popping up a lot at the moment in these post COVID times. I mentioned on a panel at the end of December that my prediction for planning trends in 2021 was a big increase in demand for On The Day Wedding Coordinators. This was based off the trend that all of our beautiful brides and grooms were spending most of lock down planning their big day down to the smallest of details. Only to realise, they needed someone to bring it all together on the day.
A lot of couples I speak to, don’t even know what a wedding Coordinator is, nor that it is such a thing. The answer is ultimately pretty simple. An On The Day Coordinator is essentially a wedding planner that comes in a week or 2 before your big day, works with you to discuss all of your intricate plans and details for the big day, and then is there on the big day using their knowledge of weddings and your plans to ensure the day runs as smoothly and perfectly as possible.
You know all those little things you’re thinking about when it comes to the big day. Who will move the chairs from the ceremony to the reception? Who will play the music as we sign our documentation? Who will remind us when speeches are on, or what time to do our first dance? Who will make sure Uncle john doesn’t get on the microphone?
These are all the little tiny elements, that whilst they seem small, quickly add up to a lot of work for someone, or even for the couple themselves. At first it seems like an easy job for a family member. Aunty Jane can easily move the chairs for us without a problem. However, as the list grows, Aunty Jane quickly moves from a guest to an employee, and more often than not ends up forgetting half of her jobs as she’s too busy enjoying the wedding (AS SHE SHOULD!).
Enter a Wedding Coordinator! A wedding coordinator’s sole role is to complete all of these little tiny tasks, whilst making suggestions in the lead up to the day on the best way to run the day. Knowing what time to start things, and how long to expect they will go for is hard to guess.
Before the month of
Couples will typically get in touch anywhere from 1-2 months, all the way up to 12 months out from their big day to lock in an On The Day Coordinator. At this point, I will always do an initial consultation to find out exactly how much is required. Some couples will just need someone to arrive an hour before the ceremony and run the ceremony and reception and leave. Other couples will need help with setting up and packing down. It really is unique to each couple.
That initial consultation determines how much help is required which allows me to go away and provide a quote for the couple. From there, we will lock in the date and the couple continues on their planning journey.
I am always available to my clients via email or call if they need any help along the way with some of the planning processes. Sometimes, a problem that they have spent days or weeks on, I can find a solution in a matter of minutes as I’ve usually been through it before.
I also provide vendor recommendations for anyone who is still looking for certain vendors to finish off planning their day. I only recommend vendors I know will look after my couple through the booking process. So this is an added win there!
On the whole though, we don’t have too much to do in the first few months after you’ve locked in your coordinator. This is because so many elements of how the final day will run change every 5 seconds. Never forget though, we’re just an email away if you ever needed anything.
The Month Of
So the month has finally arrived, you’re probably getting pretty excited and a little nervous at this point. That list of little things is now growing. The florist is dropping the flowers to me in the city, how will they get to the ceremony venue? Who will tell us when to walk down the aisle? Who will greet the guests?
It’s becoming a long list and probably starting to stress you out a lot. At this point, we sit down with my run sheet template and fill in all the blanks. I get all of your vendors contacts, your bridal party contacts, your family contacts, you name it. We then start working on timings. What time are you arriving, what time are speeches, what time is cake cutting?
We also discuss music choices, styling decisions and any other minute little detail that you can think of. Don’t worry the run sheet is ever changing so if we miss anything, we just add it in.
After our chat, I take all of your notes and compile them into one document to be followed by myself and your vendors on the day. This makes sure everyone is on the same page, and more importantly ensures you know that I’ve got all of your points covered. If it’s not on the run sheet, it means we still need to discuss it.
Once this run sheet is at a near final stage, I contact each of your vendors and send them a copy of this run sheet to make sure everyone understands their role and more importantly their timings. This also is a final point to confirm with everyone that they are still available and haven’t written the date down wrong in their diary (it’s happened before).
The Day Of
On the day I will arrive at your venue at our designated time. Which you will remember is all dependent on how much assistance you need. I become the main point of contact for all of your vendors. This means when the caterer can’t find the front entrance, they’re ringing me to help guide them, instead of interrupting your hair and makeup time with your bridal party.
I work based on our plan to ensure the wedding day looks exactly how it is meant to. In our meetings prior to the big day, we would have discussed your style guide. I am there to make sure the furniture company puts the chairs in rows of 6 like you asked and the florist puts the floral arrangement on the right side of the arbour. You know it’s going to look great no matter what happens!
Once everything is set up, it’s time for the real coordination to begin. I will meet you at your car as it arrives. Making sure the groom is facing the way you want him to, the guests are standing, the right music is playing and the walk way is free. I will time you and your bridesmaids so you know exactly when to walk down the aisle so all eyes are on you at the end. The ceremony will run smoothly with the right music being played on queue and guests being shown to throw rose petals at the exact moment.
We move on to the reception, where catering will come out when planned, and the entertainment will move smoothly through the night, timing breaks with the formalities in your run sheet.
Most of all though, we’re there as the go to for any requests you’ve got! I’m there to make sure your glasses are always topped up, you’ve eaten enough and that your dress is still fluffed to perfection.
We will have agreed earlier on a time for my departure, but I always will come and check with you first to see how you’re going and if you need anything more before I head off for the night. I’ll never leave a couple in the lurch!
This has probably got to be one of the biggest and most important reason to hire an On The Day Coordinator! What if something goes wrong? What happens when the flowers rock up and don’t look like they’re meant to, or the singer does a no show? Who will be the one running around to change the styling plan to suit the new arbour flowers, or find a new singer or at the very least a speaker system to keep the entertainment flowing?
There’s not much coordinators haven’t seen before. We’ve done it a few times before and have seen our fair share of wedding dramas. This means you’re getting all of that wedding problem solving experience on your day. I always like to tell couples that I’m there to solve problems before they even know it’s a problem.
I coordinated a wedding a few months ago with a bride who had setup her reception activities and bar outdoors. Just as her and her husband were saying their vows, a huge storm rolled through with hail and damaging winds. Whilst the couple was off getting their (slightly damp) photos taken, I ditched my shoes and ran around relocating all of her items into their backup marquee. Once the newlyweds and guests arrived at the reception, everything was relocated, setup and dried off. I was soaked, but the couple couldn’t have been happier and more stress free.
Have a think, do you have someone who can do this for you on your big day if a disaster hits? Or will it be you in your wedding dress moving everything inside?
Another perk to having a coordinator, is getting access to our emergency kits. Our kits are like a tradies toolbox, but for wedding coordinators. They have absolutely everything you could ever think of including Panadol, band aids, cable ties, fishing line, hair brush, hair spray, and the list goes on. I’ve spent years building mine up to have everything I need
There is a solution to every situation in that little box of tricks and you have access to it for the entire day. Those little baby hairs flying away, or the loose thread on your dress stand no chance against the emergency kit!
How much is a coordinator?
So by now you’re probably thinking a coordinator is something you kind of really need, but can it fit into the budget? The short answer is most likely. Due to the nature of coordination, it can be very budget friendly.
If you need a full setup, coordination of the day and pack down, this is going to be more costly than just coordination for a few hours over the ceremony and reception.
How to get started!
Chat to the coordinator you are thinking, to get a price from them. Be open with your budget and your needs and together you will be able to find a solution that works!
Or send us a message, we’re more than happy to have a chat about all things coordinated related.