Planning your wedding can be…well, a little bit of everything. It’s incredibly exciting, but can also be stressful! One of the questions you’ll find yourself asking is “Can I DIY this, or should I hire a wedding Planner? Maybe just a Coordinator?” Please hear me when I tell you that it is so worth your money to at least hire a Day-of Coordinator! Despite how much you might be loving planning your own wedding (I totally get it, I was that bride too), you do not want to be responsible for all of the logistics on your wedding day! And if you want your friends and family to be able to be present and enjoy the day with you – you don’t want them to have that responsibility either! An experienced Coordinator will manage all the logistics of the day so that you and your loved ones can have an amazing, stress-free wedding day!
As a wedding photographer in the Ann Arbor area, I have had the pleasure of working with multiple Planners and Coordinators, and I have had first-hand experience of how they can make all the difference on your big day. I got the inside scoop on what every bride should know about hiring a Planner or “Day-of Coordinator” from two of my all-time favorite Ann Arbor area Wedding Planners, Ana from TwoFoot Creative and Alissa from Vows & Veils!
1. “Day-of Coordinators” are not the same as “Venue Coordinators” Alissa brought something to my attention that I never even thought of before, but it makes complete sense! “Day-of Coordinators are often confused with Venue Coordinators. Venue Coordinators are a fabulous thing. They are typically responsible for being your advocate and representative among the venue staff. It is their job to make sure the venue delivers everything they promised you. I often work side by side with Venue Coordinators and I could not do my job properly without them! In contrast, a Day-of Coordinator works with you for weeks, and sometimes months, ahead of time to discuss all aspects of your wedding.“
2. “Day-of Coordinators” are so much more than just “day-of”! Ana believes “DOC” is actually a bit of a misnomer…and I completely agree with her! “Day-of coordination doesn’t truly exist. I can NOT show up that day and work my magic. It takes prep work! So, Event Management is a much more accurate term. You plan it, I manage it (and then take over day-of with all logistics).”
3. “Day of Coordinators” can help bring your vision to life! I loved the way Alissa described the value of a DOC, “If you close your eyes, chances are you can picture what you want your wedding to look like. Does anyone else know that vision on a detailed level? A key part of what a Day-of Coordinator does is bring your vision to life.” Some specific examples of how they can make that happen:
– ensuring all of your vendors are arriving on time and delivering what they are contracted to do
– setting up all personal items from place cards to DIY centerpieces
– maintaining the timeline for the day to make sure everything is staying on schedule
If this is all sounding pretty amazing to you…you might want to even consider going the full service Wedding Planner route! As much as a Day-of Coordinator can make your wedding day amazing, hiring a Planner can do so much more.
4. A full service Wedding Planner will save you time and money! Ana broke it all down for me, and it is eye opening! “Time is money, and planning a wedding takes a lot of time! Average is 400 hours if you DIY the planning. That’s 10 solid weeks of full time work. If you have the time and want to do it – good for you! So many people don’t though, and hiring a professional will take that stress off and make it much more enjoyable!”
5. A full service Wedding Planner will help you put together your Wedding Day Dream Team of Vendors! There are SO MANY wedding professionals out there, it can be really difficult , and time consuming, to reach out to them all and choose the best fit for you. “A professional planner will be able to select the right people for you based off of surveys, meeting you, getting in deep with your budget and will also check for availability before you spend dozens of hours researching and requesting proposals…” and sometimes they can even get you discounts through their network of preferred vendors!
So, the question now is…how do you find the right Planner / Day-of Coordinator for you?! Well, first of all, get in touch with Ana and/or Alissa – because they are hands down amazing and will make your dreams come true! But, here are a few more tips from Ana on finding your perfect match:
1. Read reviews! What other people say might reflect exactly what you are looking for, but in other cases it might reflect something you are not. Some initial research will help narrow down to 2-3 that you actually want to chat or meet with.
2. In meetings, be honest and communicate. If your budget is 50k, don’t say it’s 30k because that is just a completely different wedding. If you desperately NEED someone who will create design boards, let that be known! We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and you need to find the right match to be 100% satisfied in the end.
3. Don’t work with someone who is over promising. If 4/5 planners tell you that you need more money, or a smaller guest list, to get what you want – believe them! The one person who strings you along is either misleading you or too inexperienced to know that it’s not going to work.
Venue: Camp Woodbury (perfect for the intimate, rustic wedding of your dreams in Dexter, Michigan!)