HOW TO PLAN A PHOTOGENIC WEDDING: Why you need a Wedding Coordinator/Planner
If you’ve followed me for a while you know that I lament the absence of a Wedding coordinator. Today I’d like to dig into the reasons why I think this person is an essential member of your Wedding Team, and how to pick the right one.
Obviously the best thing you can do is have a professional Wedding Planner to help you make your vision a reality, they are experts at what they do and have the experience of many *many* Weddings to draw on. If it is out of your budget or you don’t have access to a great Wedding Planner, I recommend conscripting a day-of Coordinator from among your extended family or a family friend.
While I’ve never encountered an all-out disaster at a Wedding because of a Wedding Planner (or lack thereof), there are moments in every wedding where I have experienced frustration. Myself and my assistants have been routed on several occasions by other vendors who don’t know where to go or who to talk to when they arrive at the venue. This has caused us to be missing when something should be photographed, simply because we are the only people on-site who have been given the big picture by the Bride and Groom. I’ve missed great intimate moments between brides and their parents because I was distributing flowers or briefing the DJ on the order of events. Your photographer should be free to be a fly on the wall all day – there’s no scheduling a special moment between sisters or the ring bearer jumping into the arms of an out-of-state relative. If we miss that moment it’s our fault, but we should at least be free to do our absolute best to catch all of these great little interactions.
If you are hiring, I recommend looking for someone who has worked at your venue before. They already have a relationship with the owner, they have worked in the building and know where things are, and sometimes they will even have a little more freedom with what can be done because they have the trust of the building proprietor. Look for a Planner who is well spoken but not too loud (you don’t need a general running around screaming at people on the day of your wedding!), and someone who can get their point across without a 10 minute lecture. I’ve encountered Wedding Planners who obviously enjoy talking and wind up slowing down the timeline with pointless chatter and repeat instructions.
If you are going the DIY route and asking a friend to help be your day-of coordinator, never fear! I have some great guidelines that will ensure success. First, do not ask a close family member. They are going to want to visit and chat and enjoy the day right along with you. Choose someone who will not be directly involved in the wedding in any other way, but someone you know well. We all have that person who is like a second mother but not actually related – find her and ask her! But, only if she meets the following criteria.
Your Wedding Coordinator should be polite but direct, organized, punctual, and above all a self motivated problem solver. She or he should be calm in a crisis and great at keeping a schedule. Be direct when asking your Coordinator to be involved with your wedding. Setting expectations with your initial request will save you headaches later on. Be sure to be clear about when they will arrive at your venue, and how long they are willing to be on duty.
Some duties of a Wedding Planner that should not be overlooked:
Helping to schedule the order of events
Executing the schedule on the Day of your Wedding
Greeting and directing vendors, and sometimes paying them
Overseeing the distribution of decorations, flowers, and wardrobe accessories
Organizing the Wedding Party for the Ceremony
Keeping the flow of events as seamless as possible by working closely with the DJ, pastor, photographer, and caterers
Contacting late or lost vendors (your Wedding Planner should have contact info for every person involved in the planning and execution of your wedding)
Things I would not expect of a Wedding Planner, but you should ask someone for help with! These are great jobs to delegate to responsible siblings or other close family (cousins, etc.):
Contact info for all members of the Wedding Party – making sure they arrive at the right time and place
Contingency plans for disagreeable children
Emergency kit – (makeup remover, nail polish remover, touch up tools for hair and makeup, safety pins, duct tape, eye drops, tissues, pain meds, allergy meds, chap stick, nail clippers, scissors, crest mini toothbrushes, tweezers, febreeze, stain remover pen, bobby pins, etc.)