From time to time, I will occasionally get inquiries asking about day-of coordination services for a couple's wedding. Some brides are disappointed or confused as to why my least extensive wedding package is for Month-of Coordination. I absolutely understand the concerns of a limited wedding budget, that some brides are fully capable of throwing a fabulous party with panache and just want somebody to be there to make sure no major crises occur, and also that it can sometimes be a little tricky to articulate exactly why having a third party involved for a few weeks pre-wedding is SO important.
For most brides, the wedding they're planning is their first -- therefore, they don't have the prior life experience of being a bride and living out their wedding day. If they are anything like I was, they think, "Oh, everyone keeps telling me our wedding is going to fly by, but I just don't think it'll be that way for me. I'm so good at staying in the present moment and will definitely be taking all those mental pictures all day long. Piece of cake." Unfortunately, they are WRONG. Yes -- I STRONGLY recommend that every bride of mine takes mental pictures all day long. I strongly recommend making a conscious effort to stay in the present moment. But I INSIST that they develop a keen sense for delegation early on. We are all humans and subsequently we have limitations. We cannot be in multiple places at once. It does not matter how fantastic of a party host you or your mom is, you will not be able to do everything by yourself. Or you and her. (Umm, don't you want your mom around to be with you on your wedding day, instead of setting up tablescapes in the reception hall while you're putting on your dress?)
I cannot stress enough how VITAL it is for you to focus on your marriage as you're getting married. While YES, it is the most important party you'll throw... it's also the ONLY wedding you'll have (God willing and you take the covenant seriously). You need to be the bride. Your mom needs to be the mother of the bride. Your groom needs to be the groom. Your maid of honor needs to be your right-hand lady. (And NOT the slave labor.) Why would you trade a role you will ONLY get to play ONCE IN YOUR LIFE for a role you can play every single party you throw, from here on out? This is not a matter of your capacity to do something. If you are really that stubborn about doing everything all by your lonesome, you can probably do it... but you're going to be miserable. You're going to be stressed. You're not going to have fun. You're not going to be focused solely on your impending marriage. Why go through that??
You may be reading this and thinking, "Yes, duh, of course -- that's why I want a coordinator. But only for the day of the wedding!" This is for you:
Back to delegation. Let me just tell you from personal experience that from six weeks leading up to your wedding, time will elude you like nobody's business. Those days are going to fly by so fast until you're in the single-digits on your countdown and pulling your hair out. I seriously have not met a single bride who has ever told me otherwise. You are juggling not only the final details surrounding your wedding, you're making travel plans and buying camera cards and packing suitcases, you're attending your own showers and bachelorette parties and wedding-related festivities, you're writing eighty thousand thank-you cards, you're mediating family relations as people start trickling in from out-of-town, you're loving your future husband and keeping him calm as he does the same (as well as getting extremely excited and impatient to JUST GET MARRIED ALREADY)... you have a LOT on your plate. A lot.
I guarantee that if you try to do it all on your own in those weeks leading up to the big day, something will get lost in translation. Maybe that means you won't rent the trashcans that your venue doesn't provide but your caterer needs in order to bus tables. Maybe that means that some DIY project you slaved over for two months gets shoved in the back and forgotten. Maybe that means that the wrong song is played during your ceremony. It doesn't matter how detail-oriented or awesome of a party planner as you are -- you are human, and you will forget something. Something will not be communicated to an important party. Someone will show up at the wrong time. Something will be placed somewhere you didn't want it to.
Even if you hire a day-of coordinator, how is she (how am I?) supposed to know you well enough to make big decisions on your behalf? How is she supposed to know your priorities and how they rank up to you? If (and when) something you've thought up isn't actually feasible the way you planned for, how is she supposed to problem-solve in a way that will satisfy you? How are you, someone who hasn't planned your own wedding before, supposed to know how to do everything leading up to the big day? Would you hire a contractor to just start building a house for you on the day you want it built? You can hand him some blueprints and a list of things you need taken care of, but is that really sufficient for something as important to you as your home? Yes, you may live in that home forever and your wedding is just one party on one day -- but you're making a lifelong commitment. You will look back on your wedding photos and remember how you felt that day. Were you happy? Stressed? Frazzled? Why taint your own memories of how you started your marriage with regret and discontent?
It is a huge relief to hand over some of the responsibility to a professional wedding planner the month before you get hitched. To have someone act as your liaison, to review your contracts and make sure that the vendors you've hired deliver on what they've promised you. To have someone to answer questions about things you do not know. To calm your mother-in-law's nerves when she thinks you've inadequately planned everything (She's just nervous. Forgive her early on). To have someone devise a schedule based on how actual events ACTUALLY go (not just some vague idea of "well, maybe it'd be good if we did this then...") and write up a well-composed and organized detail sheet that EVERYONE involved with the wedding gets, so there are no substantial questions left unanswered. To communicate your desires and plans effectively with your vendors (because they will inevitably have questions in the weeks leading up -- they are probably not mind-readers), since you will probably not have unlimited time to keep answering the same questions time and time again.
Wedding coordinators are kind of like external memory drives. You need to load all of your information into my head in order to make sure your wedding turns out how you planned for it to. You need to load your vision into my head so I can see it the same way you do, and make it look that way. There is a relationship involved. An important relationship. How deep are relationships built over the course of a day? (Not very deep.)
That's the long answer. Here's the short version, which I sent a bride this morning:
So there's my two cents! When making plans for your impending nuptials, think about how you want your day to feel, and how YOU want to feel on your wedding day. How important is your sanity? Obviously, you should do what you can afford and make the best decisions based on what your options are. But if you're debating between hiring a month-of coordinator and a day-of coordinator, do yourself and your sanity a favor and opt for the month:) Questions? Comments? Write me below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org :)