Why I hired a wedding coordinator, even on a tight budget

My job used to be being a project manager and engineer for Procter and Gamble…One year ago, when I got engaged, I thought to myself, “Planning a wedding is going to be easy as pie…I mange scope, cost, and schedule every day at work for multi-million dollar projects! A wedding for 100 people is nbd compared to that.”

BOY, WAS I WRONG.

Ya’ll, I promise, even if you are super Type-A, you color code all of your notes, and you have spreadsheets for everything, planning a wedding is simply too much for the average person to handle! That is why I got a month of coordinator, and it was the single best investment I made in my wedding. Still not convinced you need one? Let me list the top three reasons to get a wedding coordinator:

  1. You just don’t have the knowledge. – Most people plan on getting married just once. And that means that you have never planned a wedding before (neither have I, btw)…And trust me, no matter how many times you read The Knot or write up to-do lists, you honestly have no idea what you’re doing. A wedding coordinator knows what are the small things that typically get missed, like…Who is going to set up your place cards? And when do you want your first dance to be, before or after dinner? Are you renting your cake cutting silverware or bringing your own? Who should they give the cake topper to when the wedding is over?
  2. If you don’t have a coordinator, who is going to manage the schedule on the day of the wedding? – This was a big one for me. I don’t want to be asked if it’s time to cut the cake or not, and where to put the floral arrangements while they set up the tables…And I don’t want my mom to be the person they’re asking these questions to because I want her to enjoy the day! So that left either finding someone I love, but want to miss parts of the wedding…Or hiring someone to do it for me. Hiring a coordinator took a lot of stress off my shoulders about the day of.
  3. You don’t have to be the bad guy. – When I got engaged, I promised myself I would never turn into a crazy Bridezilla (ya’ll know the ones). But your wedding is so intensely PERSONAL to you, that when people start criticizing or changing things, or it doesn’t come out the way you want it, you will get emotional. You will cry, and you will want to yell at someone. BUT, if you have a wedding coordinator, you can just have them do it! So now if you want to change the flowers from roses to hydrangeas last minute, or you want to make sure the flower girl is wearing the right shade of sage green, you can have your wedding coordinator check on that stuff, not you. This is invaluable, because now you get to be the beautiful blushing, sweet bride, and your wedding coordinator gets to be the hardass that you need.

Now, you’re convinced you need a wedding coordinator, but you’re still on a budget. So am I, and this is my advice to you:

  • Ask your venue or caterers or friends/family if they can recommend a wedding coordinator that will work on a budget. I am getting married in California (land of overpriced weddings) and my month-of wedding coordinator is costing me about $1200. I found my coordinator through my aunt!
  • Find the right type of wedding coordinator that fits your need. Most coordinators offer the following options:
    • Full wedding coordination – This starts basically when you get engaged, and they manage everything for you, from helping you pick out a venue and caterer, to defining the day of timeline. They are on your beck and call 24/7 for about a year, so this can get pricey…Think around the $3,000+ price point, depending on the size of your wedding (normally they change their prices based on your wedding budget, because a bigger wedding takes up more of their time).
    • Month of wedding coordination – This is what I chose. This starts the month before your wedding, and they take your list of vendors that you have already hired, and start to work out the small details….Like, the schedule for the day of, when all of the vendors will arrive, etc. They are there for your rehearsal and your big day, and they make sure your wedding runs smoothly. This should cost around $800-$1,200 and is a good option if you have done a lot of the planning yourself already but you need a little extra help towards the end.
    • Day of wedding coordination – They start working basically the day before or a week before the wedding. They call all of your vendors to confirm when they’re arriving, then they are there for the day of your wedding to manage the schedule (most of the time, you need to put the schedule together yourself). This should cost $400-$800.

Trust me, for peace of mind, this is money well-spent. If you hired a wedding coordinator for your wedding, leave a comment below letting me know if it was worth it! I’d love to hear what you think.

My wedding coordinators, Stephanie and Julia, work out of San Diego and they are awesome! Check them out at Events Inspired.

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