Day-Of Coordinators Should Do More Than Just Show Up

Day-Of Coordinators Should Do More Than Just Show Up

“My aunt is going to help us out at our wedding.”

“I just need someone there to help set things up.”

As the manager of a venue that requires a Day-Of Coordinator, I’ve heard it all! And don’t get me wrong—these couples have the best of intentions when they begin planning and coordinating their big days. But it’s not always as easy as it seems. A lot of planning and experience goes into creating and executing stress-free days for a couple. Not only am I a huge advocate for a Day-Of Coordinator (that’s a separate article completely), but I also think it is so important to hire someone who knows every facet of your day before the ball gets rolling.

The term “Day-Of Coordinator” can be a bit confusing. Many people, planners included, think it means showing up on the day of the wedding with no prior planning meetings. There is so much left unmentioned, undecided, and unplanned when you don’t have meetings prior to your day. When you book a Day-Of Coordinator through my company, we ensure that your coordinator will meet with you at least three times prior to the wedding, run the rehearsal, and be onsite through the end of the reception. Obviously, planners who are coming just for the day of the wedding are usually going to have a smaller price tag, but the saying “you get what you pay for” really is true.

If your planner doesn’t meet with you prior to the event, talk with your vendors and ask the important questions. How will they know if you have flowers on your cake? It’s the planner’s responsibility to make sure the florist leaves them for the baker. And don’t forget the conversation that needs to happen between the baker and florist about who is placing the flowers! How will they know if the song the DJ is playing for your introductions isn’t the song you requested? How will they know the family dynamics (we all have them!) that are sure to set someone off during one of the most special days of your life? The list of reasons that a Day-Of Coordinator should develop a relationship with the couple and ask all the right questions is endless.

Having meetings with your coordinator prior to the wedding also gives you the chance to fix issues before they become problems. For instance, at every planning meeting, I ask whether the DJ or band is providing a lapel mic for the officiant. Roughly 90 percent of my couples hadn’t thought about that detail, which prompts me to check in with vendors to ensure it’s taken care of. After the first planning meeting, couples always breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that all their important timeline and vendor information is in one place and that the questions that have been weighing heavily on their minds are now answered.

Another benefit of meeting with your planner prior to the event is the relationship that it builds. Besides the photographer, your planner is by your side for most of the day, cueing you for toasts, making sure you get a chance to eat, and letting you know when it’s time to cut the cake. The relationship between every client and planner is different, but I think that going into the wedding day with a client whom you’ve spent a lot of time getting to know just makes the day even sweeter.

I’m able to better understand the client’s priorities for the day and have a bit of background on family structures and relationships, which always helps make the day smoother. For instance, I once had a couple who wanted primarily EDM music played at their wedding (even during dinner). It was a major priority for them. Toward the end of dinner, some children had made their way to the dance floor, and the DJ started playing music from Frozen, which I knew wasn’t what the couple wanted. Instead of them having to come to me, I was able to ask the DJ to switch the type of music he was playing. Though it was considerate of the DJ to try and cater to the kids, this music did not suit my couple’s style. Because I knew my couple’s priorities, I was able to work with the DJ to ensure there were no hiccups!

You deserve to have someone who knows your wants and needs for your wedding day! Your Day-Of Coordinator will be the best money you spend at your wedding. Take it from someone who is a Day-Of Coordinator and hired someone to take care of their day! Your wedding didn’t take just a few hours to plan—it was lovingly and thoughtfully put together to represent you and your fiancé. Make sure the person coordinating one of the most important days of your life does more than just show up.

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Jessica Tilton

Jessica Tilton is the owner of Southern Oak Events in Raleigh, North Carolina. Southern Oak Events manages Melrose Knitting Mill in Raleigh and the Historic Wakefield Barn in Wake Forest. Jessica has been the lead planner on more than 130 weddings over the last seven years and acted as a venue manager for many more. Her tireless work ethic, dedication to her clients, meticulous preparation, attention to detail, design sense, and thousands of hours of experience have earned her recognition among her peers and gratitude from her clients. Jessica lives in Raleigh with her husband and her son. When she’s not planning weddings, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. @southernoakevents
September 28, 2021

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