Wedding Planners vs. Day-Of Coordinator... What's the Difference??
Now that E33BayArea has launched (whoot! whoot!) the most frequent comment we receive is "It's so great that you both are wedding planning now!" Not quite. :) It only made sense that one of our first blog posts should be to explain the difference between a wedding planner and wedding coordinator, because we totally understand how it can be confusing!
It's pretty well understood that wedding planners help with EVERYTHING during the planning process... securing a venue, choosing a florist, food vendor, musicians, linens, among other things. They are definitely nice to have and who wouldn't want a wedding expert holding their hand through the unchartered territory of wedding planning?? What makes a bride say "Oh, no thank you!" to a wedding planner is when they see the cost associated. Weddings are expensive. Actually, expensive is an understatement. It seems like anytime you tell a vendor they may be hired for a wedding, their prices miraculously increase. Therefore, trying to pay for a wedding and then adding the extra expense of a wedding planner is usually a hard "NO" when couples are saving every last penny to ensure they have the day of their dreams. Now if you have parents/extended family who have agreed to pay for the cost of your wedding or even a portion, you may have some extra funds to play with. However, most brides that I've met, would prefer to spend any additional funds on an extravagant honeymoon. We get it!
While wedding planners generally start in the upper $5000 range and can get as high as... whoever planned both of Kim Kardashian's weddings, which we would assume is easily upwards of $75,000, they are expensive for a reason. Most American weddings take place in one day, but to ensure they are executed without a hitch, the lead up takes many conversations, emails, phone calls, and visits to venues and vendor sites to make decisions. Not to mention, putting together an incredibly detailed timeline and ensuring all vendors are on the same page. And let me tell you... just making sure everyone is on the same page alone can make a wedding planner want to pull their hair out. They put in hours and hours to make sure all of the details are secured from start to finish. If you find a good wedding planner, we believe they are definitely worth the money.
Now, for those brides (like ourselves) who would have loved a wedding planner, but couldn't imagine spending that much money in addition to all of the other wedding expenses, we opted to plan our own. Thankfully, both of our weddings were planned (almost) perfectly and turned out amazing. Although we planned every last detail, the one thing that neither of us could do, was execute our plans on the big day. When we mention this to brides who are in the midst of planning their own wedding, it usually raises and eyebrow. More than likely they think we are underestimating their ability to do so, which is definitely not the case! We believe that in order to enjoy the day without family and/or friends ask a million logistic-related questions, It's best to have someone there dedicated to you to mitigate unnecessary stress.
So back to the question... what is the difference between a wedding planner and a day-of wedding coordinator. So unlike wedding planners, we begin working with a couple, typically just the bride, a month before their wedding. This is of course after the venue has been secured and other major decisions have been made. We begin by talking about the most forgotten details. For example, one of the most exciting parts of a wedding is the decor. A bride spends months finding perfect pieces to ensure every table looks just the way she wants. However, at the end of the night when the bride and groom have left and the venue is being cleaned up, where is all of the decor going? It can't be left at the venue and needs to leave in a vehicle. During our meetings prior to the wedding, we talk about what boxes the decor need to go in and with whom it needs to go with. The LAST thing a bride wants to talk about at the end of her wedding reception is where items need to go after its ended. We also put together a incredibly detailed timeline. This ensures that nothing gets missed! This usually takes a few weeks to finalize, considering there are always last minute changes.
The day before the wedding, we as the coordinators, typically run the rehearsal. We make sure all bridal party members are walking at the same pace, music is cued at the right time, and bridesmaids are holding their bouquets at the same height. If you have never seen a group of bridesmaids whose bouquets are at different heights, consider yourself lucky. It usually looks really silly in pictures. And of course, the day of the wedding, we are there to make sure the day is executed with minimal hiccups. We start bright and early ensuring the make up artist and hair stylists are sticking to their allotted time with each bridesmaid and that the groomsmen are back from brunch or whatever they do with the hours they have to hang out before ceremony. Seriously, they've got it so easy. ;) From the time we arrive until the last person leaves the venue, our goal is to make sure the couple, their family, and friends are having the time of their lives celebrating the spectacular occasion. If after reading this post, your first response was "I'll just have my friend or family member be my day-of coordinator," stay tuned! There will be a post coming soon discussing why we don't advise this.