A (Wedding) Day in the Life of a Coordinator!
If you join any wedding or bride related Facebook group, you'll find the question "is a day of wedding coordinator worth it?" every once in a while. It takes a lot for me to not respond with paragraphs, but I always love to read others' stories who are speaking from a bride's point of view or other vendors. What do they think we do? Are there stigmas or points I can take away from what others say about their experience with coordinators?
Most of the time, the reviews are super positive and go something like, " ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!" After all, we hold your day together, in essence. No pressure, right?
But what do we DO from start to finish?!
A TYPICAL WEDDING DAY
Usually, our day kicks off with a Starbucks run! We need all the fuel we can get to hype up for this. *Barista hands me a Venti*
Need me to swing into your florist on the way? Some of my brides LOVE the DIY option that places like The Flowerman offer, but don't want to pay that delivery fee. In this case, I grab the floral and sometimes even linens, cupcakes, etc. on my way to the wedding. You don't always find this as an option with all planners!
Arrive to your hotel or Bridal Suite
Whoever your coordinator with us is on the day of, we make it a point to stop wherever you are first and let you know we are there and ready to roll! We steam all of your bridesmaids dresses, your veil, and help you gather your "details" so that when your photographer arrives, you won't have to stop what you are doing to find them all. If anything needs taken from your hotel to the venue (marriage license, shoes, other decor) we will grab it from you here and have it where it needs to be when you arrive!
Arrive at Venue
If you are getting ready onsite, we will already be here, or if your venue is an all-inclusive, this timeline will shift back (most only allow outside vendors in 2 hours prior to ceremony time), but typically this is around the time we arrive for setup!
In our detailing meetings (the last one being 2 weeks prior to your wedding) we will outline what your setup looks like. We will create a decor list and floorplan, complete with where everything goes so we get the details right!
11:30 AM to 4:00 PM *roughly*
During this time, we are doing the mass of our work!
Vendors will be arriving, and we will be directing them! The DJ will ask where to set up, the cake person will ask about the cake table and give us the box for the top tier, the florist will ask where they can stage and give us extra pieces to place around! We will work together as a team to pull together all of the components of the ceremony and reception during this time. If we weren't, these tasks would fall on your mom or bridesmaids, and they should be enjoying the day with you instead of working.
During this time, you will be finishing up getting ready, and your photographer will be the vendor with you helping to keep you and your bridal party on task with getting ready photos, bridal party photos, first look, and early couple photos if you decide to see each other prior to the ceremony.
We will check in with you periodically to make sure you don't need anything from us and to reassure you that setup is running smoothly.
When your guests start to head in, we will be sure they are pointed in the right direction, reserved signs are out, welcome signs are out, and your DJ is playing music to set the tone. We will also be sure you are tucked away so that no one sees you prior to the ceremony! Your photographer is very helpful with this as well! Last minute touch ups should be done during this time!
After most of your guests are seated, we will pull your bridal party to get everyone lined up in your walking order and ready to go down the aisle. We will discuss your walking order prior to this time, usually in our final detailing meeting and then reiterated at your rehearsal (which you have us for 2 hours for!) So that we are familiar with faces, names and can get everyone lined up in a timely manner. Don't worry if you don't know how the order is supposed to go, we have all of that information for you and will help design this portion specifically to you and your people!
When your guests are seated and the DJ and photographers/videographers are in place, we will cue the DJ that we are ready to start. We then will send your bridal party down the aisle in the order decided, strategically spacing and following the lineup. Sometimes we have to jump in and assist the flower girl or ringbearer if they get a little nervous, but don't worry... we all have kids and know how to handle this! Once your littles are down the aisle, we will pull you from whatever hiding spot you were in (around a corner, in a side room) and get you in place. We typically cue the DJ again at this time that a song switch can be made (if you've so chosen!) fix the back of your dress to be sure it's not bunched up, and open the doors/ say "go ahead!" and you're off! We then close the doors or get out of view!
During-Ceremony Touch Ups
While your ceremony is taking place, our team will head back into the reception space and make sure candles are lit, all decor is where it needs to be, check with catering staff to see if we are running on time, and do a once over of the room to make sure every table setting is good to go and nothing is missing. We will also grab you and your new SPOUSE (!!) drinks to have in the bridal suite when your ceremony is finished. When you head in, we make sure you get a moment to yourselves to really soak in the fact you are married. This is one of the only "moments" you have alone during the day, so we find this super important!
During this time, your guests are mingling and getting drinks and appetizers, and you are typically with your photographer grabbing family photos and couples of the two of you/bridal party. We are overseeing cocktail hour and guests, helping with gathering up of family members for your photographer if they don't have a second shooter with them, and continuing to tie up loose ends. We are also beginning to gather and ceremony decor that can be reused in the reception area or that needs put away promptly after the ceremony finishes. If a room flip is needed between ceremony and reception, this is also the time this happens!
When your photographer has wrapped up and the bridal party/couple has returned to the venue or bridal suite, we are there to make sure you are refreshed and good to go for introductions. We work closely with your DJ to get you lined up and introduced into your reception!
Depending on whether you have a buffet or a plated serve, we will be there to take you through the buffet line; no red sauce on white dresses! Then we will help dismiss tables to go through the buffet if your caterers need our help! We also make sure all of your vendors get their meals in a timely manner!
Cake, Dances, Open Dancing
After dinner, we head into the formalities of the reception like cake cutting, first dance and parent dances, and then it's time to party! We are here to make sure you know where to be and what to do! Also, during this time we are doing pre-clean up. We're getting ceremony decor put away, gifts to a safe location, and packing up any other decor that won't be missed where your guests are.
End of the Evening
Depending on if your venue has staff that finishes clean up, we are there to pack up your belongings and have them neatly stored for you to take at the end of the night. Before we leave, we make sure your vendor tips are distributed and you know that we are headed out!
On a typical wedding day, I can have 25,000 steps on my watch. We are always on the go, running around and making sure your day is flawless!