Friday, June 3, 2011

Wedding 101: Choosing a Day of Coordinator or Wedding Planner

Planning a wedding long distance, I knew I was going to need help. True, I have my mom, my FSIL and my MOH's but they don’t plan weddings everyday and I still want them speaking to me by the wedding day, so I knew I needed to find professional help.

So how do you choose a wedding planner or coordinator?

First you need to determine your needs. Are you going to do all the planning yourself and just need someone to coordinate the day of? Do you want someone else to do most of the footwork for you? Or do you want something more in the middle. And most importantly you need to know what your budget is for these services. There is a difference between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator. A planner is usually with you from the beginning and helps with everything from hiring vendors to coordinating the day of, depending on what you have in your contract. A coordinator usually takes over anywhere from a month out from the wedding to a few days before and generally handles coordinating the rehearsal and making sure the wedding day runs smoothly.

Even before I was officially engaged I started to research coordinators just to get an idea of their prices. When I looked online I kept seeing glowing reviews about a particular planner, so I shot her an email and she answered all my questions and her packages had everything I wanted. Plus she had the lowest prices in the area, while offering the most.  So of course, after meeting her we hired her.

I had very specific things I wanted in a coordinator. I wanted someone to set up/clean up centerpieces, run the rehearsal, contact my vendors to make sure they know when and where they need to be, and to basically take care of any problems that may come up on that day so my fiancé and I don’t have to worry about a thing. I also really like that my coordinator offers an hourly planning service so that if I need any planning assistance before the wedding she is there.

Here are a list of things I wanted to know about potential  coordinators:
  • Is wedding planning their primary job?
  • How many weddings do they do per weekend?
  • Do they have references?
  • Do they have photos of events they decorated? (If you are looking for someone who does decorating too)
  • How often can you call/email? Will you be charged?
  • What is the deposit? When is the final payment due?
  • When will they take over my wedding? How long will they stay?
  • Have they worked at my venue? Can they recommend vendors?

I also wanted someone who was friendly, seemed genuinely interested in my wedding, and whose personality meshed with ours.

So ladies, did you have a wedding planner or coordinator? How did you find them? And were they worth it?

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