A Lesson in Coordination: The Low Down on Day-of Coordinators vs. On-site Coordinators

Photography by Kait Winston Photography


Well Hello Friends!  It’s time for our bi-weekly knowledge nuggets!  This week we are tackling something that seems like an insignificant title difference that can make ALL the difference on your wedding day.  We’re talking about day-of wedding coordinators vs. on-site coordinators/event managers. They’re pretty much the same thing, right? Sorry to have to break the news to you, but even though they sound the same, their responsibilities come your wedding day are quite different. I often hear of couples who think that they don’t need a day-of coordinator because their venue provides an on-site coordinator for their wedding day.  Why spend the extra cash when everything is included? Oh… I thought you would never ask! Here are some things to consider before pulling the plug on hiring a professional day-of coordinator.


It’s All About Taking Responsibility 


So what does a day-of wedding coordinator do exactly?  To put it simply… EVERYTHING! I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but day-of coordinators facilitate a successful wedding day in ways that you couldn’t imagine.  I like to think of us as wedding ninjas. Dad forgot his bow tie?…We have an extra. Officiant forget to print his notes?… We have an extra copy. DJ broken down on the side of the road on the way to the ceremony?… we find wireless speakers and download your music (Yes, that’s really happened!).  While on-site staff that are assigned to your day typically handle matters that involve the venue (i.e. making sure that all of the toilets in the bathroom aren’t clogged, making sure that the venue doesn’t burn down, etc.), day-of coordinators are there to cater to you and your guest throughout the day.  Although they are a crucial part of the day, it is crucial to understand what their responsibilities are on your wedding day. More often than not, they are there to make sure that things run smoothly from the venue’s perspective, but dress fluffing and vendor management will cost you.


Let’s Get Involved 


Another angle to investigate when you are considering if a day-of coordinator is worth the investment is the level of support you need in the time leading up to the wedding and how involved you would like the person managing your wedding to be.  I must admit that I personally despise the term day-of coordinator, simply because we don’t just show up on you wedding day and create magic. We get involved long before your walk down the aisle (about 4-6 weeks before the big day to be exact) to provide support and direction to you and everyone on your vendor dream team. We don’t just show up and execute the plan, we most often create, facilitate, and then execute the plan.  We confirm vendors, make sure that your rental order is good to go (because you wouldn’t want to throw the biggest dinner of your life and not have fork show up!), and tend to the details that can easily be overlooked long before we walk into your venue. If your on-site venue coordinators role begins at noon the day of your wedding, you run the risk of being unprepared.


Let’s Keep It Professional 


Segwaying into this point… but an important piece nonetheless, is perhaps the most important advice that I could give any couple in the time leading up to their wedding.  Whether or not you choose to splurge for upgraded planning services, please be sure to set aside a small piece of your wedding budget for professional coordination services. This may be an option to add on through your venue, caterer, or independent company.  I know that from the outside looking in, you may feel like you’ve planned everything to a tee and simply need “set up help”, but the truth is, there is so much more that happens behind the scenes that can turn into a huge problem on your wedding day if not handled by a professional.  I know that Aunt May would love to help, but leave the heavy lifting to the professionals so that your Aunt, and your nerves, can rest on your wedding day!


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