Weddings 101 : The Road to “I Do”

Oh hey there, engaged couple! When you think about planning your wedding do you feel lost? Overwhelmed? The vendors you’re contacting are speaking a language you don’t understand? Well, let me welcome you to Weddings 101 : a course all about the road to “I Do”! This monthly series will provide you with a whole lot of clarity, destroy myths about how you’re “supposed to” plan a wedding and all the things you should know before your wedding day.

Give Peace a Chance Bridal Shoot by Cheers Babe Photo featured on Green Wedding Shoes

Lesson 1 : Coordination

Before we dive into the actual wedding day, let’s talk about coordination. Coordinators play an essential role at a wedding. Think of them as the conductor of an orchestra, leading your vendors to play their parts perfectly without a hitch. (They also take a lot of pressure and stress off of me, your photographer!)

Now, I’m gonna let you in on a little insider secret. Not all coordinators are created equally (gasp!). Here’s what I mean. There is a significant difference between a “Day-Of” coordinator (a.k.a. wedding planner) and a “Venue Coordinator”. Let’s break it down.

A Venue Coordinator is just that — at your wedding on behalf of the venue, not the client. They are employed by the property to make sure your ceremony and reception begin and end on time, and that dinner is served according to schedule so that they and their staff can clock out at the end of the night at the same time they do each weekend. (Other responsibilities include creating a very basic timeline, setup, breakdown, day-of logistics, and facilitating the wedding rehearsal.) Now, these are necessary players in the game, I’m not hatin’! However, the use of the word “coordinator” in their title is a bit misleading.

In contrast, a Day-of coordinator (or month-of, or partial/full wedding planner) is there on YOUR behalf. To make sure you are having the best day of your life and that it runs smoothly. A few key differences in responsibilities include:

  • creating a comprehensive day-of timeline that details everything including your hair & makeup schedule, your photo schedule (hallelujah!), all the way through your event breakdown
  • will actually take the time to check in with you multiple times during the final month of planning
  • communicate and confirm with all of your vendors weeks before your wedding so you can relax and be present for all the big and little moments leading up to your wedding
  • handle all day-of logistics – setup, breakdown, safe storage of personal items, distribution of final payments/tips, etc.
  • facilitate wedding rehearsal
  • arrive at venue when first vendor arrives to oversee every moment
  • make sure you and all your guests are taken care of from start to finish– whether that is keeping your champagne flowing, checking in on grandparents,  relaxing the nerves right before toasts– they notice and take care of all the little details
  • ensure the day runs smoothly from start to finish so you can relax and enjoy! (seriously, these people are like ninjas – you barely see them and somehow they make everything happen)
  • they do all this & can do more if you add-on (i.e. styling, signage, design, emailing vendors for you, the list is endless)

For all these reasons, I always recommend my clients hire at least a day-of coordinator even if their venue provides an on-site coordinator. You will never regret it!

Stay tuned for the following installments of Weddings 101 – next month we’ll be chatting about how to prepare for all things pre-ceremony and getting ready & I cannot wait to share the goods with you!

Gabe & Jazzy's Landmarks Art and Garden Center Wedding in Tiburon by Cheers Babe Photo

Ready Part II – What to Expect Pre-Ceremony

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