The Wedding Day-of Coordinator Doesn't Exist
So what’s all this crazy talk about couples being unable to call up an event planning company and request day-of coordination. Simply put, no one can go into an event blindly after you’ve planned every detail down to the napkin fold without some preparation. It’s similar to you walking into a testing center to take your GMAT/LSAT or the bar after law school without ever cracking open a book to study.
Imagine as the couple that you’ve been planning for 14 months, making calls, attending meetings and finalizing all the lovely details of your wedding. We understand that not all couples are able to hire a planner to be there every step of the way to record every detail. So, an Event Manager is the best alternative formerly and incorrectly known as Day-of Coordinator.
Here is what really happens and why it’s important to hire an Event Manager that includes day-of coordination in their service. Every Event Manager (EM) works with different time frames depending on where you are in the process. Some start 30 days out, some 6 weeks out and some even 2 months out for your wedding date. I can only speak for myself but the timeframe for me depends on these major factors: 1) location, 2) the scope of my involvement, 3) the guest count and 4) the hours I’ll be working.
Here is a breakdown of how Event Management services work and why day-of simply does not exist.
Location - Location and venue are key to the way I operate on your wedding day as your Event Manager. It’s how I determine how much planning we need to do together once I’m hired. If there are several locations, I'll most likely need to be split between the different locations causing me to bring on my staff.
For venues, the less staffed and/or less established your venue, the more work I do. For example, I absolutely LOVE planning weddings at private estates. However they are so much more involved and can be double the work for me. You'll need to consider maintenance staff, bussing staff, portable restrooms, greeters / servers refilling beverages or passing plated meals. If I’m hired just for coordination, as the EM, there is a lot of catching up to do. More established venues have these roles taken care of but of course there are limitations. So if I need to bring in staff to fill any of these roles, my prices will increase to cover that additional staff.
Scope of Involvement - This depends on what all you’ve planned for. Do you have favors, am I setting up your flowers, am I arranging for personals to be delivered, are you requesting a lady in waiting plus all the other wedding day tasks such as executing timelines and managing vendors.
Guest Count - The work and involvement for a 50 person wedding is drastically different from that of a 200 person wedding. I will definitely have to add staff to complete setup in time to start your wedding.
Hours - Sometimes I’m requested to arrive to a wedding for setup as early as 8 am but have also been asked to stay till the end for breakdown. My packages include 10 hours of service so if setup and break down fall out of those hours, an additional hourly fee will apply and will need to pay staff to work longer hours.
All this to say that no one person can simply arrive on the day of your wedding without, at the very least, having covered these basic factors. If you don't plan ahead you won't know who the wedding party is, where the locations are, how much staff to hire. If someone comes in unprepared and unrehearsed, you risk running behind, missing an important part of the wedding and simply spending the day putting out fires. I've blogged about some of those fires and you can read them here.
If you think, "oh my wedding isn't that involved, I don't need much, hiring someone inexperienced can do that job." Think about how many parts you have moving on your day. To name a few: family, bridal party, hair and makeup, pictures, transportation to the ceremony etc. And these are just in the first few hours of your day. Ceremony and reception excluded. What if transportation is late, hair and makeup didn't complete on time causing a late ceremony time, wrong linen napkin orderd, key family member is stuck in traffic, missing bridesmaids dress and the list goes on. This is just the morning. It's not that YOU aren't prepared, it's just that life happens and there are SO many people involved in your wedding, you can't control them all. But you can hire someone to troubleshoot to come up with an alternative game plan.