We know that the wedding industry is a tough one to navigate, even for seasoned hospitality professionals. The lingo is confusing, the budget is startling, and the possibilities are endless. Even the most organized and decisive person can feel steamrolled by well-meaning family, friends, and the media. Everyone, but EVERYONE has an opinion. It's no wonder that brides and grooms - for whom this may be the first party they have ever planned - find themselves lost and overwhelmed by choices and expectations. Many people find it helpful to hire someone impartial with whom to talk through their decisions. This is where a coordinator or planner becomes invaluable.
In my opinion, the "Day Of" label as it applies to wedding coordinators is a misnomer and needs to go away. Some may disagree, but I think the name implies that your coordinator will breeze in on the morning of your wedding and be able to flawlessly pick up where you left off ... and, you know what? Maybe she can. That said, no coordinator worth her weight in wedding cake would intentionally walk into a wedding blind. If she's doing this for a living, it's because she truly loves it and takes it as seriously as your accountant takes tax season. She knows how to make your wedding spectacular, starting with the first meeting and is going to work like crazy to make everything as smooth as possible. This process - barring last-minute emergencies and unforeseen hurdles - starts well before the wedding day.
A few terms, as we understand them:
Designer - a decorator, one who will conceptualize and execute anything and everything from tabletops, room decor, ceremony runners and florals. Often a designer will assist with favors and place cards. You may not see this person on event day but their magic will be visible everywhere.
Wedding Coordinator - "day of" - one who coordinates the details that you have put into place. You've chosen most if not all of your vendors and have begun the planning process. A coordinator will help you to make final decisions, create timelines for the day and for the weeks immediately prior, meet with you to finalize arrangements, and make certain that things are properly implemented on event day. Note: most of the brides that we work with in Centre County are interested in this arrangement.
Wedding Planner - "full planning" - one who assists in choosing all of your vendors, starting with venue; will guide you, as needed, through decisions of theme, budget, menu and floral selection, invitations, and favors (to name a few!), culminating on event day. You can be as involved or dis-involved in the planning as you feel comfortable. This is ideal for a couple who may be planning their wedding from out of town or have oppressively busy schedules.
Whichever you choose, you can expect that either a coordinator or a planner will essentially spend the wedding weekend with you, starting with the rehearsal and ending - well, at the end. They'll often work in tandem with a partner or assistant, especially for larger weddings, to ensure a smooth event. A "Day Of" coordinator will spend 30-40 hours on your wedding when all is said and done; the planner, twice that.
Don't know what you need, or even where to start? Most, if not all event companies will offer a complimentary consultation. Make a few calls, visit with people, ask a million questions and check professional references. Do what you need to do to find the person with whom you are most comfortable to lead your wedding day team.
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