Anyone who has planned a wedding knows and understands, after the fact, just how many moving parts there are to conducting the day. “Execution” is very scary-sounding word that, in the event planning industry, simply means “to carry out the moment-by-moment occurrences the day-of.”
It takes an army to do this! Whether it’s Aunt Sally cutting the cake and Uncle Louie helping with ceremony chairs, or a complete team of professional vendors carrying out those details… THERE ARE A LOT. OF DETAILS.
A wedding coordinator will execute these details, and all the ones no one thinks of! I pin boutonnieres on the groomsmen, for example, which the photographer can perhaps do if there is no coordinator. I create a timeline for the reception, so the food is at the right temperature to make the caterer look good but there’s still time for photos in the perfect lighting to make the photographer look good. Yes the DJ may be able to create this kind of timeline.
But there are so many little details that a coordinator does, that you really do not want to put on your other vendors. For example, for one wedding this summer I ran during cocktail hour to McDonald’s to pick up happy meals for the kiddos’ dinner (you don’t have your DJ run to pick up kid meals during cocktail hour). I try to attend the rehearsal dinner the night before; not to weasel my way into free food, but to begin the process of building trust and rapport with the bridal party and family members PRIOR to becoming miss bossy pants the next day!
You do not want your photographer or DJ to try to fill these roles, no matter how professional or capable they may be! You want the photographer to take great photos and you want your DJ to keep your dance floor full. Trust me, you don’t want me trying to do their jobs! They’re great at it! You don’t want them doing mine, either.
The biggest advantage to having a wedding coordinator on the day of your event, is that you have ONE PERSON to handle all those little aforementioned details. Could 16 family members figure out a way to wrangle all the cats? Probably. But a lot of frustration and miscommunication can result! Let a professional, designated Wedding Coordinator be the person you turn to for your “execution.”
A lot of brides think they don’t need a wedding coordinator… can’t afford a wedding coordinator… their mom is their wedding coordinator. I end up booking a lot of weddings about three months before the big day; the sweet couple (and their mamas) get off to a great start by excitedly reading magazines, starting Pinterest boards, and scrolling through vendor Instagram photos. Some vendors are booked, the big stuff is done, and then there’s a lull.
This lull is supposed to happen. But it is during this time that the questions all start. The big stuff is done, the little stuff can’t get done yet, and the bride typically panics. “Did I miss something?” “Should I be doing something?” “I wonder if I need to hire a wedding coordinator after all?!” and that’s when I get the email.
The answer is usually no, you haven’t missed something. You’ve gotten off to a great start. But the answer is always yes, there’s so much to track and coordinate that you NEED a coordinator! There are so many factors that affect so many other factors on a wedding day. My vendor friends and I say often: Everything. Is. Connected.
Examples of things we know, that you won’t think about:
Choreographed dances make dinner cold. If you schedule a surprise choreographed dance, you need to let the kitchen know because it could affect the time food is served and therefore its temperature. In fact, surprises in general need to be on someone’s typed up itinerary somewhere so that there aren’t any unintended surprises along for the ride!
Short ceremonies make you run out of food faster. If your ceremony is short, your cocktail hour will probably be long. This means you must serve appetizers, or else your guests will drink more during cocktail hour and need to eat more for dinner. Especially if your dinner is buffet or family style, guests will eat larger quantities and you’re likely to run out before everyone is served. Tip: make your ceremony longer or serve lots of appetizers during cocktail hour.
Large dinner plates mean small dancefloors. If you have a charger plate to mark your place settings on your tables besides the dinner plate, you need extra room on the table per place setting. More room per person can mean fewer chairs per table, which means more tables for the room, which means less room to dance. Depending on your headcount and your floorspace, you may want to keep your place settings small so you can put more people at the tables thus cutting down your number of tables (and centerpiece cost)!
These are just some instances where an experienced wedding coordinator will be able to help you anticipate things at your event you may never think of on your own. And that’s ok! Hopefully your wedding planner has done this lots of times… and hopefully, you’ll only do it once.