Wedding Coordinator or Wedding Planner? A Personal Story
Many brides are confused about whether to hire a wedding planner or to use the wedding coordinator at the selected venue. I chatted with Maureen Chandler of Blush Bridal Boutique about her personal experiences with this decision. This is her story.
I was one of those brides that dreamed about my wedding all my life. I knew what kind of dress I wanted, how the cake would look and the perfect decorations for my “perfect day.” I was told for months leading up to our wedding that I needed to hire a planner or a day-of coordinator. Nine years later, I still regret not taking that advice. I had an event coordinator on-site and had done all the planning myself so I thought everything was under control.
Like many couples, when we chose our reception site, we were led to believe that our event coordinator was there to help us plan our wedding, and, he was, but only for the venue itself. We did not take into consideration the other vendors that were booked: photographer, florist, limo service, band, decorator, baker, etc.
By 10:00 the morning of our wedding, I was already in tears. The hotel didn’t have an updated lists of guests who were booked for the weekend, the hair stylist and makeup artists were 1 1/2 hours late, the decorator walked off the job with only a quarter of the work finished and we had no idea where the flowers were. My husband tried to handle the hotel and I spent hours on the phone with the venue trying to figure out the decorations. The flowers were eventually delivered to the church instead of our house which meant no pictures of me or my bridesmaids with bouquets. To top it all off, the cake still wasn’t at the reception venue when I was leaving for the church.
Stressed? You bet!
In the end, we had a great time and it was a lovely event. That said, I can’t help but think about what went wrong: the bridesmaids’ bouquets were rather unattractive and the gardenias in the centerpieces were very brown; the decorations were greatly paired down to make it look acceptable; and, worst of all, we had no portraits taken together.
Most reception venues have an event coordinator or catering manager on staff to help with the wedding. Oftentimes couples are led to believe that a personal wedding planner is not needed if there is an onsite coordinator. Before ruling out the option to hire a wedding planner, you should consider the following:
A wedding planner can help you plan your day from start to finish. She will not only refer you to vendors, but can often negotiate better prices. She will be available the days leading up to your wedding and will be the last to leave the reception once it is over.
An onsite coordinator may give you a list of vendors, but plays no further role in the process. She will be available to see that their part of the event is going well, but will typically leave once dinner is served. She does not stay until the end of the event to ensure it goes according to plan.
A wedding planner will take care of the unexpected things that often happen. For example, the florist does not bring something that had been ordered. Is the venue coordinator going to recognize that something is missing or done incorrectly? No, she does not have copies of all your contracts and is not aware of what you have ordered. Your “personal” planner has all this information and is able to contact that vendor to make things right.
The “personal” planner not only makes sure things run smoothly, but makes sure that everything that is on every contract that the couple or parents have signed is exactly what is delivered that day. A planner is also present until that last gift is in the car, packed up by her staff, not the venue staff, and makes sure that the bride, groom and family is out the door safely on their way.
A good planner saves everyone time, energy and money in the end and allows everyone to be a guest at the wedding.
Looking for a fabulous wedding planner? Contact Myrna Hyman of For All Occasions, Inc. Wedding Planning and More!