A few weeks ago we sat down with Bethany Wu from Daniel & Bethany to share all about what wedding planners wish you knew.
Here are all the juicy deets!!
There is so much information out there on what wedding planners do, how much they should be charging, what your expectations should be of them, etc. With so much data flooding wedding platforms, it is hard to filter through the most important and helpful tips!
We know that not everyone believes in the value wedding planners bring to the planning process or believe it is necessary to hire one. Our goal is to shine a light on the work wedding planners do across the nation to ensure you have a smooth and fun wedding planning process and wedding day. Our intentions are always to ease your excited, yet sometimes overwhelmed and stressed hearts.
Here are some of the things wedding planners wish you knew!
- There is truly no such thing as day of wedding coordinators.
The term “day of” is heavily overused in the wedding industry. While many companies use this term to describe their services, it truly does not do it justice. If coordination was just day of, the coordinator would show up on the wedding day and execute everything that the couple created and planned. One would expect there to be an initial inquiry and then a see you on the wedding day mentality. However, this is just not the case. In fact, that would likely create more stress and put the wedding day flow at risk.
Because of this, wedding coordinators tend to be more “month of”. Much of the communication between the couple and the coordinator begins 60-90 days out. It involves timeline creation, gathering vendor contact information, creating your layout, organizing setup and teardown flow, chatting through processional, and very thoroughly finalizing any details and logistics that need to be considered. Truth be told, this means that wedding coordinators offer a lot more than society gives them credit for. Talk about a worthy investment, right?
- Coordinators are absolutely a necessary part of your wedding vendor team.
Coordinators and planners are invaluable to a wedding day. You probably have been to a wedding where there wasn’t a coordinator present. You may have noticed that things didn’t flow as well. Or maybe you didn’t. Coordinators truly set the tone for the wedding day. They are responsible for making sure that your reception hall is set up according to your vision, that your vendors are arriving on time and know where to set up. They are in charge of running your ceremony and lining everyone up for the processional, directing guests and answering their questions, as well as making sure your reception flows from entrance to exit. Oftentimes, coordinators fly under the radar, trying to be as unnoticeable as possible while still making magic happen. You may not always see them in action but you will certainly feel the weight if you do not have a coordinator on your wedding day. Also, friends, family members etc, should not be your wedding coordinator, unless they are truly professionals, maintain insurance, and have a reputable brand. You want your A team to show up on your wedding day and you want to make sure your captain (aka your coordinator) is experienced and can handle anything a wedding day throws at them.
- You should hire wedding planners early as they have great resources, discounts, and recommendations to guide your wedding planning process.
Wedding planners should be hired after you have locked in your wedding date and venue. While many online timelines suggest you should wait, we believe that you should be hiring your planner well before the majority of your other vendors. Wedding planners have great connections with vendors in their market, which may mean giving you access to vendor discounts and more. Wedding planners likely have a compiled list of vendors that they have worked with and provide exceptional service to their clients. This will save you countless hours of reading reviews, researching vendors, and trying to figure out who is a best fit for your day. They can even provide recommendations that are more geared towards your budget or better align with your vision. Many wedding planners also provide you with a planning checklist so you can make sure that you are completing tasks and booking vendors in a timely manner! They will ensure that you start your planning off on the right foot and you are set up for success later down the road. Be sure to book your coordinators and planners early to truly take advantage of all the knowledge and resources they have to offer!
- There is a difference between wedding planners and coordinators.
We know that these terms often become interchangeable in the wedding industry. While it is not a big deal to say one over the other, it is important to understand the differences between the two. Coordinators are responsible for tying up any loose ends and making sure any logistics are covered before the wedding day. Like I mentioned above, they may step in 60-90 days out and create your timeline and layout and communicate with your vendors to gather arrival times and answer any logistical questions. Coordinators take everything you have planned and organize it so that it flows smoothly on your wedding day. Their job is to make sure that you show up, get married, and have the best day ever.
Planners, on the other hand, are with you from the moment you book them to the moment that you say I-do! Planners are designed to take on the load of planning for you and hold your hand, walking you through the entire process. This means that your planners will handle the communication with your vendors from inquiring for pricing and availability to signing contracts. They will also take over the design aspect of your wedding by creating a mood board and curating your vendor dream team with vendors that match your vibe and aesthetic of your wedding day. Planners make sure that no step is missed during the planning process.
- In-house coordinators may not offer everything you are looking for.
We often get many questions about whether or not an in-house coordinator offers everything a couple needs on their wedding day. Unless it is a service that you add on through the venue, they will likely have limitations of what they can do for you. Oftentimes, in-house coordinators only help with the flow of your day including running your ceremony and rehearsal as well as making sure you are sticking to the timeline. They are not as hands on prior to the wedding day with recommendations, creating your timeline, answering your questions about wedding day logistics, etc. It is also important to consider that their obligation is to the venue itself, while the outside coordinator’s obligation is and always is to the clients. While these venue coordinators are exceptional with knowing the ins and outs of the venue, they typically have the venue’s best interest in mind as they are employed by the venue. This is not to bash venue coordinators or say that they don’t do enough. This is all just to say that you should consider what it is the venue coordinator is responsible for and how it can potentially impact your wedding day. We recommend asking these questions to better understand which service would best meet your needs:
- Will you help create my wedding day timeline with me and share with all of my vendors before the big day?
- Will you manage all vendors coming in and out of the venue and answer any questions they may have? What if a vendor does not show up?
- How will you help with setup and teardown the night of my wedding, if at all?
- Will you tell me and my wedding party when to walk down the aisle and ensure we stick to our timeline the night of?
6. Wedding coordinators and planners wear many hats, but there are a good number of things that we do not take care of or help with.
While wedding planners wear ALLLL of the hats, it is important to know that they don’t do it all. This is a common list of things that wedding planners are not responsible for:
Serving alcohol, setup and teardown of tables and chairs, busing tables, removing trash, venue cleaning, serving and cutting wedding cakes, family or guest mediation, emceeing throughout the night and floral service.
Every vendor is unique with what they offer and what they don’t offer so always check with your individual vendor on what these terms are, however, this is the general norm of the things wedding planners don’t handle. We have had some clients assume that we will pick up the slack of what other vendors aren’t able to do and oftentimes, to be honest, this falls in our laps as we are your wedding day fixers. Keep these in mind when you are signing contracts and booking vendors so that all of your bases are covered.