Stephanie coordinates with officiant Magical Weddings by Carly, videographer Bovara Studios, and associate shooter Elope with Emily. Photo credit: Kivus & Camera

Wedding coordination. Day-of coordination. Month-of coordination. Wedding management. On paper, these look like they would describe different services, but they’re really all variations on the same – coordinating and managing a wedding day. But what does that really mean? And is a wedding coordinator actually worth it?

Basic Areas of Service

So, what does a wedding coordinator actually do? First, we’d like to note that since most wedding planners and coordinators independently own their businesses, their list of services may vary, so be sure to ask those you are considering hiring. However, we find that most wedding coordinators perform the following services:

  • Available to talk for the final month before wedding, possibly longer, about wedding details and logistics
  • Assists with floor plan layouts, timeline creation and management of wedding day
  • Confirms all vendors, shares the final timeline with vendors, essentially acts like the project manager
  • Runs the rehearsal
  • Assists with set up and tear down in some capacity
  • Is on site throughout the wedding day

Stephanie sets a place setting on the sweetheart table at Written in the Stars Styled Shoot in Durham. Photo by MKM Photography

To better share what those services actually look like for our clients, Taylor & Chris, said the following about our Coordination package:

“Our outdoor wedding quickly was put on the line as the forecast predicted an unseasonably cold and wet day – and it was – but Stephanie put our plans in place, was incredibly cool and collected, and helped to orchestrate a day we could be proud of, despite the weather. Her attention to detail, ability to create, organization and her cool temperament make her a rockstar. She coordinated all vendors, provided us with timelines and helpful worksheets, offered advice, was super thorough with logistics planning, helped set up and even bussed the tables! I could go on and on about how much she helped make our day special. We had full trust in Stephanie, and she did not disappoint. Thank you so much for everything, Stephanie!”

Stephanie pins the groom's boutonniere at Laura & Ken's Intimate Evening Wedding in Downtown Raleigh. Photo credit: Tom Waldenberg Photography

Stephanie pins the groom’s boutonniere at Laura & Ken’s Intimate Evening Wedding in Downtown Raleigh. Photo credit: Tom Waldenberg Photography

Why You Need a Coordinator

A wedding coordinator is perfect for couples who plan to be very hands-on during the planning process and can handle the vendor contracts, organization, and decor planning, but want someone to take care of all the final logistics and run the wedding day. (If you feel like you want more help with the planning details, we recommend hiring a wedding planner.)

Essentially, the main goal of a wedding coordinator is to remove the stress so that you can fully enjoy your wedding day. Some key parts of your wedding weekend when you’ll be reallllly glad you hired a coordinator include:

  • During the rehearsal, when the coordinator is able to make sure that you and all your wedding party members know how to walk in, where to stand, and how to recess beautifully.

  • While you’re in the dressing room, getting pampered with hair and makeup, drinking a mimosa with your best friends and mom, while you’re coordinator ensures that everything is set up the way you wanted.

  • Before the ceremony, when your coordinator makes sure the bride is tucked away when the groom arrives and makes sure they don’t see each other until the first look or ceremony.

  • During the ceremony processional, when the coordinator keeps the bride hidden, cues the DJ or ceremony musician, and sends the family members, groom and wedding party down the aisle, timed perfectly. And when the coordinator gives the bride a big smile and reminds her to breathe before walking down the aisle.

  • Throughout the wedding, when the DJ needs to be cued or vendors need to be updated on anything, including if the couple wants to make a change to the order of events.

  • When you’re on the dance floor having so much fun you forgot that you wanted to do a bouquet and garter toss, and your coordinator reminds you.

  • When you’re out celebrating after the wedding, and your coordinator is facilitating clean up so that your momma doesn’t have to pick everything up.

Stephanie guides the couple through the cake cutting at Andrea & Rachael Edgar Allan Poe Halloween Vow Renewal in Durham. Photo credit: Kivus & Camera

Stephanie guides the couple through the cake cutting at Andrea & Rachael Edgar Allan Poe Halloween Vow Renewal in Durham. Photo credit: Kivus & Camera

The “Day-of” Myth

Day-of coordination is the most commonly used phrase for coordinators, but it’s actually the least accurate representation of the service. It gives the impression that the coordinator works with the clients for a single day, showing up on wedding day to make sure things go according to plan. But before your coordinator can successfully run your wedding, she is going to need to learn about all the important people, timeline events, and decor elements that are involved in your wedding.

In many cases, your coordinator will start working with you at least a month before the wedding. This might include a meeting to sit down and talk about your wedding logistics, a venue walk-through, and forms to collect information. As you’re considering who to hire as your coordinator, we recommend starting the search earlier in the planning process, as some coordinators will provide additional information that will help you ensure you’ve considered every details of your day.

For example, when our coordination clients book us early, we meet with them 4-6 months before their wedding. Then, with all clients, we start working through their intake forms to build their day-of timeline 2 months out, and attend a venue walk-through a month before the wedding to discuss final logistics and decor.

Stephanie decorates a cupcake display at Holly & Lucas's Boho Mountaintop Wedding. Photo credit: Cirque91 Photography

Stephanie decorates a cupcake display at Holly & Lucas’s Boho Mountaintop Wedding. Photo credit: Cirque91 Photography

Stephanie & Matt set up a sweetheart table at Paula & Sebastian's Eclectic Tea Party Wedding in Raleigh. Photo credit: Brian Anthony Photography

Stephanie & Matt set up a sweetheart table at Paula & Sebastian’s Eclectic Tea Party Wedding in Raleigh. Photo credit: Brian Anthony Photography

Can Aunt Sally be my Coordinator?

We often hear couples ask what the big deal is about hiring a coordinator instead of asking a family member or friend. And technically, sure, you totally could ask someone to help you out with the areas where you’re otherwise preoccupied and unable to take care of it yourself, but should you?

To be totally frank, at every wedding we’ve worked, at least one bridal party member has told us how everything ran so much more smoothly then the last wedding they went to, because there wasn’t a professional coordinator. And plenty of those weddings had a friend coordinating.

When you’re hiring a professional coordinator, you’re not just hiring them to help with your wedding. You’re hiring them to help remove your stress so you can fully enjoy your day, and the reason we’re so confident that we can remove your wed stress is because we have experience, and we’ve done it for other couples before! Your wedding isn’t the first wedding we coordinated, and we continue to learn new tricks to improve our skills and customer experience with every singe wedding we complete. We’re not just girls who like weddings and are kind of organized and have a decent eye for details. This is what we do for a living, and we’re passionate about creating amazing wedding days.