Ok, I know I haven’t updated in awhile. I am really bad at this blog thing, but this article, written by a good friend of mine, needed to be shared! I was lucky enough to stand by her in her wedding, and before you ask “Why didn’t you help plan her wedding?”, let me just tell you that I value her friendship too much to put the both of us through that! Here’s hoping brides can learn from her experience and find this advice helpful!– Beth
I’m not exactly a Pinterest-style DIY gal, but I enjoy planning and thought I could manage my wedding on my own. I thought very, very wrong. While I interviewed a few planners, I decided to save some cash (weddings are expensive after all) and do it all myself. If you ask me what my one “big regret” of my wedding day is, it would definitely be not hiring a planner to help coordinate my wedding.
A lot of these are going to sound Bridezilla-ish and nit picky. Most of them are, and despite the chaos of my wedding day, it was all quite beautiful and there were many incredible moments. However, memories of the day are tainted by a number of unfortunate moments that mostly could have been prevented or minimized by having hired a coordinator. I’ve been to plenty of beautiful “frugal” weddings, and it’s certainly possible to have a great day without any outside help. But if you’re having a not-so-frugal wedding with vendors and a traditional venue, and you have a family that isn’t the “helping out” type, consider investing in a coordinator. I wish I did. Here are 10 reasons why I wish I hired a Wedding Coordinator:
- Weddings are Complicated Events — you may think you crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s, but you will forget something. And that something will come back to haunt you, likely in the middle of your big day when you’d rather be focused on getting married. You may have planned cute ideas and made custom items to pull them off, and then kick yourself when you forgot to do them on your wedding day (yea, those Etsy “thank you” banners for your thank you note picture are still lost in a box somewhere at the venue, never used.) You don’t want to be stage managing your wedding when it’s happening, trust me.
- Paying Vendors Happens at the Wedding –– I hired an incredible string quartet to perform during my ceremony, but forgot to pay them in advance. So after my ceremony they wanted to leave, I was in the middle of newly-wedded bliss, and they had to awkwardly come up to me to ask for a check. The check got written, but it definitely took away from that moment. If I had hired a planner, all of the payments would have been managed in advance and I wouldn’t have forgotten that I didn’t pay this one vendor.
- You Need an Advocate with Your Vendors — chances are, you’ve hired a handful of vendors for your wedding. If you booked a barn with no furniture, hiring a coordinator is pretty much a must unless you’re going super frugal and you have a lot of friends and family to help (this works for some people.) If you have vendors, they’re people and people–even well-reviewed people–can screw up. Maybe they got lost on the way to the venue, or they forgot to bring something important. Having a coordinator may not solve every vendor problem, but at your wedding and leading up to it, you don’t have to manage every single problem yourself and go crazy.
- Where’s Grandma? Even if your venue has an in-house coordinator (mine did), they aren’t working for you, they’re working for the venue. When it comes time to take family portraits or introduce the wedding party and Grandma is MIA, a coordinator can make sure she is found and brought to the right spot without losing too much precious time on your special day.
- Something Will Look Funky — and you won’t want to climb up in your fancy dress and heels to fix it. I decided that after micromanaging my entire wedding, I’d trust my florist on her ideas and just let her run with some images I showed her of flowers I liked and designs for the arch that would look good. I showed her a few ideas with light, gauzy, transparent fabric draped over the arch. When I arrived at my venue, my florist was gone, and what I saw was very cheap, wrinkled fabric covering the arch and fraying at the bottom. A coordinator would have been able to help contact the florist to come back and fix this. Even my florist later told me I should have called her and she would have come back if I didn’t like it — but how was I going to call her when I was in the middle of my first look? A coordinator could have helped either fix the design or get in touch for the florist to return and fix it. Another issue was that my hair person left before my veil was put into place, and mother shoved it into my hair without paying attention where she was putting it, and I forgot to check – so my veil is crooked and causing a huge bump in my hair in all my pictures. Not the end of the world, but a coordinator could have fixed this.
- Your Venue Will Lose/Break Your S#*t — most venues require that everything be out shortly after your wedding ends. It’s no fun to follow up an evening of celebration with figuring out where your shoe went (how did it get in the bathroom?) I learned the hard way that even venues that are more flexible with their policy on “when to pick up your stuff” are more than likely to lose things that are meaningful to you. My husband and I had a “glass pouring ceremony” in our wedding, where our parents joined us to pour colored glass into a vase (provided by a glass artist.) We were supposed to send that glass out to a company that turns it into a vase as a keepsake. The venue somehow lost all of the glass, the vase and the other materials that were used for that ceremony. They also lost the bag for my wedding dress, a bunch of unused programs that we custom printed for the wedding (valued at $100), and a few other important items. Even if the venue claims they will gather your things and you can pick them up later – they are not responsible for your items. A coordinator will make sure your valuables do not get broken or lost.
- Your Bridal Party is Hangry — ok, maybe I’m just a bad planner, but I forgot about feeding my bridal party the morning of the wedding. I didn’t really forget — I thought about it — then ran out of time to coordinate getting food. A few friends ran out to get a plate of sandwiches, which was very nice of them to do, but they weren’t enough for my bridesmaids who were starving by the time our limo got to the venue. I was literally calling places on the way from the limo seeing if we could stop and get some food. A coordinator would have handled this and made sure no one in my bridal party was starving.
- Family Driving You Nuts? You Need Help — maybe you have a lovely, caring family that wants nothing but your special day to be perfect. But odds are you have someone, or someones, who are determined to make your wedding day a nightmare. I had one close family member nearly ruin the day by yelling (screaming) at a few people, including my makeup artist, the venue manager, and my three-year old ring bearer who was in a cranky mood, as three year olds often are. While a coordinator wouldn’t have been able to keep this relative entirely in check, a really good coordinator would have been able to diffuse the situation so I could avoid having to step in and get involved.
- Your Bouquet is Where? Did aliens steal your lipstick? I took most of my pictures without my bouquet, because I was told to go to the photo location and someone would bring my bouquet (but never did.) We weren’t even able to get a picture of the whole bridal party because no one was helping coordinate this, and the parents of the younger members of the party weren’t informed to bring their kids down to our photography location. Meanwhile, just before I was about to get in place for walking down the aisle, I realized all of my lipstick had come off. I had given my lipstick to a bridesmaid who gave it to her husband to hold and he forgot and took it with him to the ceremony site, leaving me with barren and rather dry lips and a 5 hour wedding in front of me, to be documented by a professional photographer at every step. Admittedly, I had a big of a panic attack at this point, threatened to not walk down the aisle if my lipstick wasn’t found (bridezilla moment for sure), and my poor bridesmaid – who felt horrible and who I apologized to later – scrambled to figure out where the lipstick went. Crisis was averted, but that moment could have been avoided with a good coordinator who helped keep makeup for touch ups in a safe place.
- Your Dress May (Strike That. Will) — Rip. Or stain. Or both. — Don’t ask me why, but I decided to move a couch for a photo opp. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when my dress that was altered poorly (and too tight) ripped the second I bent over. At my venue, one of the assistants actually was able to help pin my dress back together (so much for that beautiful low back), but in many cases venues won’t be able to help and you’ll need a coordinator for those “I spilled something” or, in my case, “ripped something” moments. Your coordinator will be there with you as your advocate, your therapist, and your repairman throughout the evening. The best coordinators enjoy managing the details of your wedding, so you don’t have to!
Looking back on my wedding, spending the $5000 on a coordinator to help with planning and day-of coordination would have been the most valuable expense or all the many expenses. Unfortunately, there are no do overs (well, I love my husband, so there won’t be for us!) — However, if I can help a future bride not made the same bad decision, perhaps some good can come out of the chaos of our wedding day!