There is one wedding vendor that you are going to work with more closely than the others before your wedding day. It’s your coordinator. We have said before that there are 3 vendors that should be at the top of your list when planning your wedding—your photographer, venue, and wedding coordinator. You can read our tips here on what to look for when you are booking a wedding venue. Finding a great coordinator is vital to your wedding day. We are going to dive deeper with our experience as to why they are necessary and what questions to ask when booking your coordinator.
In the years we have been wedding photographers Kala and I have photographed quite a few weddings. Some couples chose not to have a coordinator, some had great coordinators, and others had coordinators that was just…okay. We believe coordinators are essential to your wedding day, and there are great coordinators for any wedding budget. Even though coordinators are an additional cost for your wedding, they end up saving you money in the long run, they save you time and stress on your big day, and they allow all of your other vendors to focus on their specific tasks creating the best overall experience for you.
One of the first conversations that should come up during a coordinator interview is your entire wedding budget. Asking the prospective coordinator for examples of work they have done in or around the budget you have will give you a great idea of what type of work that coordinator can create similarly for you. An experienced wedding coordinator that has worked in the industry will have contacts and vendors to refer that they know and/or have worked with. They will be able to leverage their insider knowledge and stay within the budget that you lay out. If you feel during your first conversation with the coordinator that your personalities mesh well and the coordinator has a great sense of what your vision is, that is an ideal indicator that you would work well together.
While everyone loves saving money, that isn’t the only reason a hiring a phenomenal coordinator is important for your wedding. Coordinators save time and stress from your day. Without a coordinator typically family and friends have to pitch in and help get tables decorated or help other vendors setup, taking time away from getting to experience your day with you. Your friends don’t just lose time with you on your wedding day, you lose time with your bridal party. You will be pulled into different directions to answer questions and make decisions, if you don’t have a fantastic coordinator.
WARNING THE NEXT SECTION MAY CAUSE HIGH ANXIETY
Coordinators also remove stress from your wedding day…like exponentially. To help visualize this just imagine being at your wedding, a day you may have dreamed about for years. While you are getting into your dress the venue manager needs to ask you a question about opening the doors for guest, standing behind them needing to ask you a different question is the DJ, he just arrived and needs to know where to setup for the ceremony. After handling all their questions you go back to the bridal suite and one of your bridesmaids needs a safety pin so there you are asking around for a safety pin [by now you are starting to feel like your day is getting chaotic and spinning in circles]. The ceremony flies by and you and your now husband are with your photographer taking your first portraits as a married couple and the caterer walks down to ask when they can serve dinner because they forgot the hors d’oeuvres and guests are hungry. Following up with a question of if you have heard from the bartender because they haven’t shown up yet. As you’re walking back to the reception hall the DJ needs to ask how you’re going to be introduced in, and when the first dances will be! AHHHHHHHH TOO MUCH! MAKE IT STOP!
Okay so that’s over! Whew! While we have never seen a wedding with all these exact situations, some of those have happened to brides without coordinators. Your coordinator will take on all those questions and typical wedding day issues and you will probably never know about any of them. Talk about stress free!
Our favorite thing about coordinators is their ability to allow each of the other vendors to focus solely on their jobs and tasks creating a better day for you and allowing all your other vendors to serve you the best they can. This is best explained with an example. So, as photographers we work so closely with brides and grooms that when there is a higher level of trust that you put in us; when there isn’t a coordinator a lot of the responsibilities will revert onto us. Making sure your bridal part walks down in the right order, that the DJ knows it’s time to introduce you, or letting you know its time for the bouquet and garter toss. When a photographer can focus on photographing your wedding day, the finished product is going to be that much better for you. Coordinators do this for each of your vendors, and you don’t want to plan your day without one.
Here are some questions to ask coordinators when you are interviewing to find the right one for you!
If you are interested in hiring a coordinator Kala and I have worked with some of the best in the business and we love sharing their names and contact info, if you are interested in one of our referrals just let us know!
What kind of planning/coordinating do you offer?
Do you have our wedding date open?
Will you be the person on site the day of our wedding or will it be another planner? How many assistants will you have?
In case of an emergency that prevents you from being at our wedding, who will be the backup planner?
Why did you decide to become a wedding coordinator?
How long have you been in business?
How many full weddings [no elopements] have you planned/coordinated in your career? When was your last one?
How many wedding clients do you take on in a year?
How many weddings do you expect to have during the month of our wedding?
Is wedding planning your full-time job? If it’s part-time, what is your other job?
Have you ever worked at the venue we’ve chosen?
Do we have to book only the vendors you recommend, or can we hire vendors you haven’t worked with before?
Will you be present at all the vendor meetings or consultations? Do you assist us in reviewing all the vendor contracts?
Will you invoice us for all the vendor fees? Do will we need to pay each one of them ourselves?
If issues arise with the vendors before, during or after our wedding, will you handle them or are we responsible for this?
What time will you arrive and depart on the day of our wedding?
Will you provide us with a timeline of the wedding?
Do you offer different package options or is everything customized based on what we’re looking for?
How many meetings and phone calls are included in our package?
Is the wedding day rehearsal included in your services?
With our budget, will you provide us with a breakdown of how the money is going to be allocated per vendor?
How do you charge for your services? Hourly, percentage of the wedding cost, or flat rate?
How much of a deposit is required to book your services? When is the final payment due?
Are there any fees that won’t be included in your proposal that we should be aware of?
What is your refund or cancellation policy?
Can you provide us with a portfolio and/or video of weddings you have done?