So your wedding day is fast approaching, and you realize that you can’t actually play planner while you’re supposed to be getting married. Time to find a wedding day manager! When your planning process is almost done, these pros sweep in, check that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, so that you can have an amazing and stress free wedding day.
A wedding day mananger (sometimes called a day of coordinator, or simply wedding coordinator) is someone who helps tie up loose ends toward the end of your engagement period. They usually get involved between 6 weeks and 3 months beforehand, go over all of your wedding day details with a fine toothed comb and check for potential problems before they arise.
Some key personality traits and things to look for when you’re searching for wedding day manager:
Look for someone who is organized and responsive. You need to be able to trust that this person can handle loads of information in an organized manner, and that they will work to make sure you’re taken care of.
Your coordinator should be willing to listen to your concerns and their goal should be to help you achieve the kind of celebration you want.
Great coordinators know how to course correct. If something is going off the rails, they know where to jump in and make changes to get things flowing smoothly again.
Your coordinator should ask you a ton of a questions, sometimes about things you haven't thought of yet. Which is why we’re there- to make sure everything gets done, and properly.
Now of course, there are some things we won’t be able to fix outright, but we can create contingencies around certain situations.
What a wedding day manager cannot do:
- Your wedding day manager is not going to plan your wedding for you, so please don’t wait until the last minute to complete planning tasks assuming that they’ll be magically handled by your coordinator.
- Try as we might, we aren’t magicians, so if something about your plans is inherently flawed (ie. your ceremony is outdoors, without a tent during rainy season) we’ll try our best to mitigate any potential issues. However sometimes our hands are tied and we will just need to make the most of it.
- We can’t read minds. Sometimes I wish we could, but we can only act on the information that you give us, so be sure to be 100% honest about every single detail in your day, from the flowers to the food, to the surprise song by your college friends.
- We can’t correct mismatched timing on your vendor contracts. Say, for example, your photographer is scheduled for 8 hours, starting at 1pm for getting ready shots. That means the contract with them ends at 9pm. Now say your venue typically doesn’t do cake cutting until 10:30pm. Oops. Looks like you won’t be getting shots of your cake cutting! Now this is the kind of thing that goes unnoticed all the time, but that a good wedding day manager will catch in a heartbeat.
**** BONUS TIP **** How we’d fix this: After consulting with you and making any other needed adjustments, we’d ask the photographer if they’re willing to shift their schedule, OR if you’d rather, add time to the end of their day. Conversely, we can also check with the venue to see if cake cutting can be moved up in the schedule. Problem solved!
Now, I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t leave you with a few warnings. Here is what you need to avoid in hiring your wedding coordinator.
- Planners without references or reviews. Chances are they are new and may not be able to handle the fast pace of a wedding day.
- Planners without assistants. Good wedding coordinators know they can’t be everywhere at once. I always bring 2 people with me for any wedding over 100 people.
- Planners whose services only include showing up on the day of your wedding. No one can do this and do it well. It is not possible- there are too many details that have to be vetted, and trust me when I say your other vendors will be very wary (and often distrustful) of someone they just met the day of.
- Planners who are charging peanuts! Yes, I know this is usually one of the last expenses couples think about, and the budget is beat down, but seriously, this is one place where cheaper is definitely NOT better. Remember, you get what you pay for! In New Jersey, Wedding Coordinator pricing ranges from $1000 up over $3500.
Are you using a wedding day manager? Not sure if you need one? Download our Wedding Day Delegation Checklist and Worksheet here.