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Should I hire a Wedding Day Coordinator / Planner

One Curious Dream - James Powell: https://www.jamespowellphotography.co.uk/

Should I hire a Wedding PLANNERIf you’re getting married this summer, firstly congratulations! You must be so excited! Has your countdown begun, and how are you getting on with the plans?

This time of year is busy for wedding planners and coordinators too as its the busiest time of year for last minute bookings for this summer. One of the services that wedding planners offer, that is frequently booked a few months before is that of “Wedding Day Management” , “Day of Coordination” , “Wedding Day Coordination”, (different terminology but in essence the same service). This is ideal for  couples wanting some support in the final weeks ahead of their wedding day.

If you’re wondering what wedding day coordination is, then read on, as we’ll be explaining the role of a wedding day coordinator, and why you should consider hiring one.

Who is a wedding day coordinator / wedding day planner

You might be familiar with the role of a wedding planner organising a wedding from start to finish, but not everyone knows what a wedding planner does when simply coordinating a wedding. Generally speaking a wedding day coordinator/planner is a logistical genius that steps in in the final few weeks before the wedding. They all have different business models, so there isn’t a hard and fast rule on how many weeks a coordinator works on your wedding. Some step in 6 weeks before, others 3 or 4. (Look at this blog post for a reminder on the different ways planners operate.)

We say “logistical genius” because, in all honesty, picking up the plans from brides and grooms and bringing it all together can sometimes feel like a juggling act. Often it’s the perfect service for the couple that is really organised and wants someone to take over the finalisation of the plans so they can relax as they get closer to their wedding day.

Other times it’s a life saving service for those couples who are not so organised, are feeling frustrated and worried, and need someone to pull all the strings to bring it all together. Either way, a wedding coordinator often wears many hats: logistical genius, pixie fairy and genie in a bottle!

Tim Stephenson Photography

Duties of a wedding day coordinator / wedding day planner

The duties of a wedding coordinator usually include meeting you for a hand over meeting to review everything you’ve done until that point and get clarity on what’s outstanding. Reconfirming all the supplier services, logistics and timeline; getting familiar with the suppliers’ contracts; producing a detailed floor plan and timeline ; supporting you with final arrangements you might have overlooked or that are still outstanding,  communicating final numbers to the catering team; meeting you for a final walk-through of the ceremony and reception ; handling the rehearsal of the wedding day, and finally coordinating and overseeing your wedding day.

Nora Photography

Why should you hire a wedding day planner / on the day coordinator?

In an ideal world, if everyone had the budget for it, we’d always recommend you work with a wedding planner from the start, as it saves you a lot of time and gives you complete peace of mind. But we appreciate not everyone can set aside the money for a complete service; also entrusting someone with such an important process is not for everyone.

With on-the-day wedding coordination being a much shorter service charged considerably less than full wedding planning, hiring a wedding coordinator is a much more affordable option.

Aside from relieving you from the stress that often comes with trying to bring it all together in the final stage, wedding coordinators are the kind of people you’d want to have on your side on your wedding day. They preempt issues and resolve disasters that might arise due to reason beyond anyone’s control (and sometimes due to reasons within suppliers’ control too!).

Believe us when we tell you that we have heard and seen it all, and there is nothing we are not prepared to handle, hence why our kits often resemble the shelves of a hardware store, chemist and stationery shops.

So if you’re debating whether hiring a wedding coordinator is for you or not, this might be helpful.

Hire a wedding coordinator if:

  • you wanted a planner for the whole day but you couldn’t stretch your budget for it. A wedding coordinator who purely manages the wedding day can cost anything between £800 and £1500 depending on experience; and those that coordinate the final few weeks will be a bit higher. Read this article on “How do wedding planners charge
  • you have gone for a dry hire or a marquee wedding. It can sometimes take experts to plan the logistics in venues like these, so it’s very possible that you might overlook aspects that should not be overlooked. A wedding coordinator will be able to review all the plans in advance and make provision for anything you might have forgotten.
  • you’re not the most organised couple in the world and are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to do to finalise the plans. What’s an insurmountable task for you is usually a routine task for us.
  • you’re super organised, you’ve done a great job at bringing it all together and just want someone to take over so that you can get to your wedding day feeling completely relaxed.

The UKAWP has a great directory for wedding planners and coordinators that can help you. If you’re considering hire a coordinator, visit ukawp.com/directory-uk-wedding-planners for a full list of our members.

www.busybrides.co.uk

How a UKAWP wedding planner can think on their feet

Here’s a few examples of how some of our UKAWP Wedding Planner members really saved the day at client weddings in the past.

Essex based wedding planner and coordinator Mary of Weddings By Mary shares with us an experience showing how invaluable the role of a wedding coordinator is when unforeseen disasters happen.

“It was a beautiful hot summer’s day last July, but unfortunately it was also a windy day! Whilst at the church the capri marquee that the couple had provided as additional shade blew down. So I contacted the marquee company who came straight over to rectify. The combination of the very dry ground, wind and open marquee made it a bit of a challenge. The couple knew nothing about it!

Just as I was about to announce the bride & groom into the wedding reception, disaster struck, we had a power cut! I had to really think on my feet. Speeches were going to be prior to the wedding breakfast anyway and luckily the starter was a cold sharing platter. Along with the caterer and myself we devised a plan. The caterer who ran a local pub, which amazingly still had power, shifted the main course food back to the pub to finish cooking. The speeches commenced without the aid of a microphone and then the starter was served. During the starter I spoke to each guest table to let them know that we were doing all we could and that the main course would unfortunately be delayed… everyone was completely understanding. The production crew for the band had arrived and kindly assisted me with linking up power to the pianists microphone as the venue owner had a small back up generator that we could use.

HJ Photography

So the guests had food, wine and an amazing pianist to keep them entertained.

The power cut was due to a fallen power line so we had no idea how long it would take to get back up…… the caterer served the main course an hour late but not one complaint from any of the guests and the happy couple continued to enjoy their day. Once the pianist had finished we then hooked the generator to the DJ for the first dance and just as the music started the power came back on!! Perfect timing and I must admit I breathed a massive sigh of relief!”

If Mary had not been there, the day might still have gone ahead, but likely the mood would have been very different. You, or your parents, or your best man would have had to run around trying to figure out how to address the challenge of a blown marquee (which you would have only discovered upon arriving to your reception) and no electricity for a whole day…

As a testimony to how invaluable Mary’s coordination services were, these were the words of the bride and groom after the wedding:

“Mary was incredible on the day, we had a power cut! No stress from Mary, she stayed calm and carried on organising the caterers, DJ, Band, Venue, Everything! Not just a brilliant wedding planner but also a lovely, lovely genuine person.”

Professional Member

Another one of our members, Essex based Sian Belton of Busy Brides  who specialises in on the day coordination, has had her fair share of challenges on a wedding day. From breaking up a full on fight between a staff member and a catering manager before the guests arrived, to changing the timeline completely because the coach taking the guests down to the venue broke down. She played florist when the official florist turned up with the wrong shape bouquet;  last minute DJ when she realised the couple put their entrance song on a pin-locked ipod and had to swiftly download it just before the couple’s arrival.

The funniest of all is probably one that involves coconuts of all things:

The bride and groom were set on having rustic / festival style wedding, they wanted a strong man, bouncy castle & coconut shy. Everything was delivered and the entertainment company started to build the coconut shy. My staff helped as they were so late in arriving and I was conscious of the wedding schedule. Once the shy was built I left them on site to finish the strong man and castle. Before leaving I asked to ensure they had coconuts which they confirmed they did. When I arrived on site the next morning, NO coconuts! The company said they had left them behind, but I later found that they just didn’t have any. So I jumped in my car and drove round Norfolk trying to buy coconuts, in August. I went to 7 different major stores and managed to get 7 but they were tiny. So thinking on my feet I bought some potatoes to protrude from the large cups, and pineapples to make up the numbers. Needless to say I got my clients a full refund.”

www.busybrides.co.uk

 

Another of of our members, Elisabetta of Elisabetta White Events, is a planner who specialises in destination weddings. While she rarely does solely on-the-day coordination, she often steps in during the final stages of the planning when couples feel overwhelmed by the amount of logistics they have to organise from a distance. On one of her weddings the couple was late to the rehearsals, so her team couldn’t do a full walk-through with them, which meant liaising with the couple a lot more than we usually do throughout the day. She discovered the day before that one of the gifts the couple had shipped for the welcome bags was stuck in a courier depot in Rome. She had to spend a couple of hours on the phone trying to trace the parcel and understand why it was stuck in transit. Turned out, the company that shipped it didn’t label all three boxes correctly, so DHL halted the delivery because they weren’t sure that all three boxes were due to go to the same address. All strings were pulled, the “the-wedding-is-going-to-be-ruined” card played, and the gifts arrived safe and sound the night before the wedding. Of course by that point most of the guests had already arrived; so she had to organise for someone in her team to go around every hotel and B&B where the guests were staying to deliver the welcome bags. In addition to this, the day before the wedding Elisabetta found out that the couple suffered a transport delay which meant the order of service booklets didn’t get printed and the (very expensive) silk ribbon they purchased to bind them was left back in the UK. With 2 hours before all shops shut, Elisabetta had to find a printing shop who would be able to print and assemble the booklets and have them collected during the welcome dinner. And luckily, because there is almost nothing that a wedding planner’s kit doesn’t contain, her assistant was able to get enough ribbon to bind all 60 of them.

Nora Photography

 

Esther Wild

And finally Norfolk based Jo from One Curious Dream , said couples choose to hire a wedding day planner so that they can relax and not have to worry about what’s going on behind the scenes, she is hired so clients can truly relax and enjoy their wedding day. She feels the real value in an on the day coordinator is dealing with the unforeseen. The words ‘anything unforeseen’ can naturally feel worrying, but wedding day planners are used to thinking on their feet, problem-solving and ensuring the logistics run smoothly whilst you are having the time of your lives.

We’ve covered everything from wedding transport not turning up, a power cut in the middle of a wedding breakfast right through to a family of four appearing as an amazing surprise for the couple on the day. As you can imagine, the couple were over the moon, however, with no space at the dining table, chairs, crockery and cutlery or food arranged with the chef, it was our job to spring into action, creating a seamless experience where the couple didn’t have to think about a thing. In a nutshell, this service gives you complete peace of mind that the plans you have made will come together perfectly on the day and that you can spend your time making amazing memories to last a lifetime!

www.busybrides.co.uk

Of course we don’t want you to think that your wedding day will be full of disasters, but as wedding planners and coordinators we know that a lot of problems can be preempted with the right team on board, and you will be able to have the seamless wedding experience that you deserve.

The UKAWP has a great directory for wedding planners and coordinators that can help you. If you’re considering hire a coordinator, visit ukawp.com/directory-uk-wedding-planners for a full list of our members.

With thanks to our professional Wedding Planner members  Weddings By Mary, Busy Brides, One Curious Dream and Elisabetta White Events.

Please note none of the images shown were from the actual weddings , this is to protect the privacy of those clients.

 

Image Credits

Sophie Oldhamstead Photography

Tim Stephenson Photography

Nora Photography

HJ Photography

BusyBrides Wedding Planners

James Powell Photography:

Further reading

What do wedding planners cost

What is it wedding planners do?

Ultimate guide to choosing a photographer

2 Comments

  1. […] Our membership body, The UKAWP has written a great article about hiring a Wedding Coordinator, you can read it here. […]

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