I can’t believe we’re nearing our one year wedding anniversary! This year we are so excited to celebrate special weddings of close friends and family members.
For all the brides-to-be – I want to start off by saying that no matter what you do, something is bound to not go your way. And I’ll be the first to tell you – that’s okay. Our wedding day was more than anything I could have ever imagined. It will go down as one of the happiest days of life, and at the end of it tiny mishaps do not even matter. We loved our venue, we loved our team, and we loved how everything turned out. But that’s not to say I didn’t learn a few lessons along the way.
For many of us, formal wedding planners just aren’t in our budget. The average cost of a wedding planner is upwards of $10,000. Depending on the venue you select, you may get access to a “wedding coordinator” or “day of coordinator.” A coordinator is a great incentive on your venue contract, but make sure you understand their vague job title.
We have several friends getting married this year – so I thought I’d distill some of the lessons I learned. These are some of the questions I wish I asked my coordinator:
What is your role?
We met with our wedding coordinator only a handful of times between the time of our booking and the time of our wedding. In the beginning, I was in a glowy cloud nine state of oh-my-god-we’re-engaged-this-is-happening-I-don’t-even-know-what-questions-I-have and oh-sure-that-sounds-great-ok-lets-do-it-that-way. I didn’t ask the right questions.
You have so many decisions you have to make, right down to the napkin style. Our coordinator was sweet and enthusiastic and talked us through everything, but when it came to her actual role she only provided vague statements like “I’m your girl day of – we will take care of you.” As it would turn out, our coordinator would end up leaving the company. Our day-of coordinator was a complete stranger, which you can imagine heightened my anxiety. Do yourself a favor and clarify from the beginning. Who are you? Will you be there on my wedding day? Where does your job begin and end? What will you do for me?
How will you save (and use) these notes?
During my consultations my coordinator would type away on the computer and take notes. We submitted important details like our questionnaires, table assignments and wedding party line-up via email. Ultimately given her exit from the company, a lot of that information got lost. We had to scramble and put it together during our rehearsal dinner with pen and paper. Little details she promised – like delivering mimosas to my bridal party while we were getting ready, or the exact placement of our chalkboard welcome signs, etc. I recognize this was a unique situation that happened to us. And these details are so minor. But looking back, I wish I would have pushed back and asked for another team member to be cc’d on those communications, or in the least bit, brought a hard copy with me going into the weekend. How will you capture everything?
What kind of communication can I expect from you – week before, week of my wedding?
After our final consultation, we still had four weeks until our wedding. I received an email from the venue the day or two before – something along the lines of “Hellooooo bride-to-be! We’re so excited for this weekend,” but that was it. The week of our wedding we were busy hosting family in town. I was rushing out of work and finishing up all my final appointments. But if I could go back in time I would have loved a check-in call or at least a more thorough email. Or at least a set expectation of the communication I would receive. But I never asked.
At the end of it, your wedding day is such a beautiful occasion and reason to celebrate. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I’m asking too much from a day-of coordinator. But as a bride, do not be afraid to speak up for yourself. Ask questions. Push back. Clarify until you understand. And ask again. Do what you have to do to make sure you feel good about everything and you understand what will happen and when and with who. Your wedding day can be overwhelming, and in the least bit your coordinator should help take some stress off.
I hope that was helpful! Married friends, did you have a wedding coordinator? Did you have a similar experience? I would love to hear your stories.