Updated: Nov 18, 2018
Budget wedding coordination. It sounds like a dream come true, but in this article I'll share a few things to consider before selecting a coordinator at any price point.
If you’re on any public wedding planning Facebook group, like the Seattle Wedding Community here in our area, you will see a post like this every day:
“I’m looking for a day of coordinator to show up on the wedding day only. I want them to manage vendors and the timeline during the wedding day, help escort guests, and do all decor setup and cleanup. I don’t want to meet with them in advance, I don’t want them to come to the rehearsal, I don’t want them to read contracts or do anything before the wedding.”
The story is usually the same - they didn’t budget for a coordinator but realize that it’s necessary to have someone in charge the day of. Now they are looking to spend under the bare minimum and are going to hire for bare minimum services.
There are definitely coordinators out there who will work for bare minimums (I used to be one when I was brand new five years ago and didn’t quite know all that goes into a solid running event day). Nowadays, Prudence & Sage does not offer a bare bones day of coordination package where we don't do much work before the wedding day, and for good reasons. Here is why I do not recommend you hire someone to be your day of coordinator without working with them for a couple months before your wedding day.
Imagine you’ve been working for the same company for a while now. You know your job well, and so do your coworkers. One day in the middle of one of your biggest projects, a new manager steps in and begins to direct you in your job. It’s obvious they don’t understand the overall vision for the project and they definitely don’t understand how you or your coworker’s jobs fit into making it happen. This situation would be frustrating and the end result of the project would be sub-par.
That situation above is exactly what would happen on your wedding day if a coordinator stepped in to the responsibility of leading your whole event without spending about 10 hours before your event to get to know you, your vision, your vendor team, the services you’ve hired them for, your family and friends who are helping make your day happen, and had the opportunity to tweak and add to your timeline weeks before the wedding day.
We get to know your vendor team so that we know how best to lead them and when to stay out of their way. We learn who needs to make connections with other vendors to do their job - like the baker needing to connect with the florist, or the catering staff connecting with the venue and rentals. We go through every contract so we can ensure your vendor team provides the services you contracted for, and makes up for it if they fall short.
The timeline, setup plans, and breakdown plans are vital for your wedding coordinator to be a part of finalizing. This is to make sure all pieces fall into place at the right time. To help ensure every task has the appropriate amount of time allowed and the right number of people assigned. That things happen in the right order so they don’t interrupt another piece of your wedding day.
The rehearsal is also an important part of a wedding coordinator’s job. Whether you need our help planning what order and timing everyone walks in or not, we are responsible on the day of for making all that happen and do need to be a part of the practice. More than that, rehearsal night is the first opportunity we have to introduce ourselves to your family and wedding party, so they know who we are and who to go to for questions and solutions on the wedding day. Once nerves are running high on the day of your wedding, there isn’t time to get everyone together to talk about the flow of the day, the requirements of the venue, and to introduce our role.
As coordinators, we are responsible for the outcome of your wedding day. We know that your wedding day is important to you and understand the gravity of the responsibility we take on. It is not taken lightly, and we hope that you don’t take hiring Prudence & Sage, or any event coordinator, lightly either. Our prices (which are published on our website so you can see if we fit your budget before emailing us) reflect the responsibility we take on.
From the beginning, plan to hire an experienced wedding day coordinator. Budget their service fee from the start, expecting it to cost about 5%-15% of your wedding budget. For Prudence & Sage and other stellar coordinators, expect $1500-2000 for Wedding Day Coordination (also commonly called Day of Coordination around the industry), or about 7% of a $25,000 budget.
The steps a coordinator takes before the wedding day are vital to the outcome of your wedding. You wouldn’t hand a management job to someone brand new to your line of business and expect everything to work out smoothly. You get one shot at your wedding day, so it is important to hand the responsibility of making it all a reality to someone who will take the time to learn your vision, learn your team, and ensure that all plans are complete.
Wedding Day Coordination is so much more than showing up on the wedding day. We want to get to know you, know your wedding, and make magic happen for you. We hope you find and hire the right fit for your wedding day and that you get to enjoy all your hard planned moments!