Wedding Planning 401: The Wedding Day Coordinator

It’s our LAST post in the January Wedding Planning series! If you haven’t read the first three, click these links below!

My final piece of advice is a simple one, but it’s SO important and can literally make or break your day! So without further ado, here it is…

Position a reliable person that you TRUST and who has your BEST interests in mind as the wedding day coordinator.

If you’ve actually hired a wedding planner/coordinator, that’s even better!

Here’s the reason why this job is so important…

Things. will. go. wrong.

I’ve never been to a wedding that was flawlessly executed. Something always happens, something totally out of your control that you couldn’t have planned for. The maid of honor forgets to pick up the flowers, the best man leaves the rings at the hotel. The caterer arrives late, the batteries in the officiant’s microphone die. No one hands out the programs, the toss bouquet goes missing, there’s no knife and serving utensil for the bride and groom to cut the cake. A seam pops in the bride’s dress, a bridesmaids’ shoe breaks, you run out of time for bridal portraits. The seating chart is misplaced, the groom can’t find his long black socks. No one remembers to buy Sharpies for the guest book, and the officiant gets lost on the way to the venue. Grandma is nowhere to be found when it’s time for family formals, or there’s no one telling the poor bride in the back of the church when it’s time for her to walk down the aisle. With an event of this scale, and the primary wedding planner (often the bride) totally preoccupied, things will go wrong.

But here’s the great news… when things go wrong on your wedding day, if you have an amazing coordinator in place, your guests will never know. And even better, YOU may never know! It’s the coordinator’s job to be on their toes and solve problems before they get to you. Your wedding day should be filled with giggles, laughter, and pure joy…. not trying to put out fires. The other unfortunate detail is that the bride is usually stuck in the getting ready room and can’t leave because her groom might be roaming the halls! It’s the most powerless of situations… finding out about problems and then not being able to fix them. How do you avoid that situation? Hire or appoint someone to be the wedding day coordinator!

I’m going to give you some qualifications for the person you choose, and then some easy action steps to equip them to do their job well! A professional wedding coordinator should take all these steps on their own, but if you’re having a friend or family member step into the role, it’s best to be clear about your expectations!

An Amazing Wedding Day Coordinator should be…

1. Trustworthy. There’s nothing more stressful than handing over total control of the most important (and expensive) day of your life to someone you don’t trust completely! Your wedding day coordinator needs to be someone you can count on who has your best interests in mind.

2. Proactive. A good wedding day coordinator will see problems coming from a mile away and have a plan to fix it almost before it comes up. They come equipped with pens, tape, a sewing kit, a phone charger, and will know everything there is to know about your wedding.

3. Detail-Oriented.

4. Energetic. Grandma might fit the first three qualifications, but if she doesn’t move quite as fast as she used to, she may not be the best choice for a coordinator. The coordinator will spend a lot of their day running around talking to different people to ensure even the smallest details are covered. Choose someone quick on their feet who won’t run out of steam halfway through the day!

5. Friendly but firm. They will be the face of your wedding to many guests and vendors who have given their day to attend your wedding. Choose someone who smiles a lot and keeps an upbeat spirit, but will still be firm with a vendor or guest who may be out-of-line!

Once you’ve found the perfect person for be your wedding day coordinator, it’s time to give them the tools to succeed! Here are a few pointers…

How to Equip your Wedding Day Coordinator for Success:

1. Provide a TIMELINE. Every wedding day needs a timeline from start to finish, whether it comes from your event coordinator, your photographer, your DJ, or a combination of all three. There’s a lot that happens on a wedding day, and a timeline is SO helpful because everyone knows when things are happening and where they need to be! As a wedding photographer, I always help my brides plan their timeline– because in my experience, a generous and detailed timeline is an essential component of a stress-free wedding day.

2. Provide VENDOR information. Give your coordinator a list of all your vendors along with names and phone numbers. Also, make sure your vendors know who your coordinator is! That way, the vendor knows who to ask if they have a question.

4. Communicate your VISION. Have a heart-to-heart with them before the wedding day to go over any potential issues you foresee, any important details they should give special attention to

5. Bring them to the REHEARSAL. One important role of a wedding day coordinator is standing at the back of the ceremony location and giving cues for the family and bridal party to walk down the aisle. Let them practice at the rehearsal!

3. Give them your PHONE! Nothing is more distracting to a bride on her wedding day than a phone blowing up with people asking her questions about where to go, what to do, or telling her that someone forgot something. Give your phone to your coordinator, or if you don’t feel comfortable having it so far away, at least give it to a trusted bridesmaid, maid of honor, or mom. They will act as a filter to make sure any problems get taken care of, but still show you all the good stuff!

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the entire Wedding Planning series and are hopefully well on your way to creating your dream day. Do you have more questions that you’d like me to address? Leave a comment below and you could see your question answered on a future post! Happy wedding planning, friends!!! 🙂

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