Friday, November 1, 2013

Wedding Coordinator: PRICELESS.

If MasterCard were to ever make a commercial about the average wedding, it would probably look something like this:

Wedding Dress......$1,200
Wedding Venue.....$12,000
Wedding Coordinator.....PRICELESS

I have exactly 2 regrets about my wedding day:
1.  I should've worn higher heels because I stepped all over the bottom of the dress and it's basically shredded and looks like I've participated in a "Trash the Dress" session.  :(
2.  I should've sucked it up, swallowed my pride, and hired a day-of wedding coordinator.

My sister's good friend Karina graciously offered to help me out with the set up on the day of my wedding so I could do the things brides are supposed to do that day - get my hair and make-up done, drink mimosas, and pose for a trillion "getting ready" photos.  Since the ceremony and reception were at my parents' house, I left Karina detailed notes on how I wanted everything to look.  I even drew pictures.  She came over the morning of my wedding and did a flawless job getting everything ready for the guests' arrival.  I even found out later that our burlap table runners had creases so she ironed them.  This girl was good.

Since Karina refused to accept any kind of payment and she was really just doing this out of the goodness of her heart, I didn't think it was right to ask her to commit her whole entire day to making sure my wedding went smoothly.  I insisted she leave before the ceremony.  I was convinced that once the set-up was taken care of, everything would fall into place and the wedding would sort of just run itself.  As an event planner, I should have known better.

If I can make you one promise as a bride-to-be, it is this:
I'm not saying that to scare you.  I'm saying that because it's true.  You can go over your final to-do list a dozen times.  You can call your vendors until they consider blocking your number.  You can make spreadsheets.  You can make a spreadsheet for all your spreadsheets (I did). 

Once Karina left, unbeknownst to me, tiny disasters ensued at my wedding.  Our alcohol was supposed to be delivered at 1 pm.  At 2:30 pm there was still no sign of it and the guy wouldn't pick up his phone.  The caterers couldn't find the wine glasses anywhere.  My four-year-old nephew insisted on wearing his Giants uniform instead of the ring bearer outfit I meticulously picked out for him.  All the while I was blissfully unaware of any of this because Brian and I were doing our "first look."

My brother's girlfriend, Carrie, stepped in and Got. Shit. Done.  She (literally) ran around, finding things, making calls, fixing things.  When the mailman attempted to deliver the mail in the middle of our vows, she shoo'ed him away.  When the servers forgot to fill the champagne flutes with champagne before the speeches, she rounded them up and even helped pour.  When the DJ had the background music for Sara Bereilles' "Love Song" instead of Taylor Swift's "Love Song," Carrie pulled it up on her iPad and saved my sister's M-O-H speech/song.

Carrie inadvertently became our wedding coordinator when she should've been a wedding guest.  No one asked her to do these things.  She did them because she wanted to me to be able to enjoy my day and she's just an all-around wonderful person.  But still...

I wish I hadn't been such a martyr.  And I wish I hadn't been so cheap.  If I'm going to be honest, I didn't hire a day-of wedding coordinator because I was tapped out and simply didn't want to spend the money on yet another wedding cost.  I viewed having a wedding coordinator as a luxury, not a necessity. 

Now that I'm "on the other side" and I'm a wedding planner, I find myself telling brides all the time, "I know you think you can't afford a wedding coordinator, but you can't afford to not have a wedding coordinator."  If you work the cost of a coordinator into your budget from the start, you'll realize it's marginal but well worth it. 

I coordinated a wedding just a few weeks ago for a bride who was on the fence about hiring me since her venue provided her with a maître de.  I explained to her that he was most likely not communicating with any of her vendors who didn't work directly with his venue.  I was right.  When her photo booth was M.I.A., I asked the maître de if he had spoken to the company.  I didn't want to overstep my boundaries and call them if the maître de had already reached out. 

He smiled at me and said, "That's really not my problem, sweetheart.  I'm concerned with feeding 250 hungry guests." 

I got in touch with the photo booth people and there had been a simple miscommunication.  They were at the right venue but they were setting up in the wrong room.  Problem solved.  Wedding coordinator to the rescue.  The bride never found out and that's the point.  The bride should never have to know about all the little things that go wrong.  And neither should the guests.

The whole reason I got into this business is because I know firsthand how stressful it can be to be a bride.  Peace of mind on your wedding day is absolutely priceless and the only person who can provide that for you is a day-of wedding coordinator. 

I hope my brother marries Carrie one day not only because she'd make a fabulous sister-in-law but also so I can act as her wedding coordinator.  For free.  I really owe her one!

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