7 Things you can expect your Wedding Coordinator will do
What services should you expect to receive as part of your planning or coordination package? And possibly more importantly, what shouldn't you be expecting them to do on your wedding day?
If you've ever seen Father of the Bride, The Wedding Planner, or Bridal Wars, it's fairly likely you imagine that you have some idea of what a wedding planner/coordinator does for their clients on their wedding day. But chances are, you, like many other couples out there, are a bit fuzzy on the other smaller details
To cut through some common nuptial confusion, here are seven of the most common assumptions about a coordinator's role on the wedding day as well as our actual roles in each activity.
1. Your wedding coordinator will not decorate your reception unless they offer design and production (set up) services
On the day of a wedding a coordinator is pulled in a dozen different directions at the same time. Almost every professional participating in set up will run into a logistical issue or have a question about where or how their job is to be performed, no matter how clearly they have been communicated with. Friends and family members will be approaching throughout the day with various issues that need immediate attention or questions that need answers, and heaven forbid disaster strike on some level. Even a well-organized coordinator is guaranteed to have their hands full. There simply isn't enough time for them to be responsible for setting all of your reception décor simultaneously and executing all of their other responsibilities. With that said, a reputable and experienced planning firm will also offer options for design & production services
You CAN expect your coordinator and their team to be responsible for the placement of simple items
Provided that they are organized and prepared ahead of time...items like setting out your guest book, favors, unity ceremony elements and programs are all items that your coordinator can easily manage to get into place while orchestrating the rest of your event, answering questions, and putting on their super capes to avert crisis if needed. These are all things that can be accomplished without pulling their primary focus from the execution of the event itself. If they are too busy decorating your altar, putting together your DIY (that you DI-didn't finish) centerpieces, or putting together florals for your head table because you wanted to save a buck on your florist...they are too busy to notice that your wedding is in 30 minutes and important vendors like your caterer or your DJ haven't shown up!
2. Your wedding coordinator will not run errands for you or retrieve forgotten items
This one is pretty simple. If you are expecting your coordinator to run out out to replace your Spanx or get extra decorations that you forgot (or forgot to buy), they are no longer doing their primary job -- overseeing your event. Your whole purpose in hiring a coordinator was to be certain that someone professional and experienced was leading the team of pros you picked to work on your day. So why would it make any sense to send them to another location where they cannot effectively do the job they were actually hired to do? They can't manage your event, advise on last minute etiquette questions, and combat any potential disasters ready to strike effectively long distance from the craft store...or anywhere else for that matter.
What you CAN expect from you planner/coordinator is a fully stocked emergency kit
We travel with Tylenol, lint rollers, Tide stain pens, spray on deodorant, safety pins, and about a million other useful items that can solve a variety of common wedding problems. Chances are, if you need something small-ish we have it on us. Although wedding planners/coordinators pride themselves on going "above and beyond" for their clients, don't be the bride that takes advantage of that just to save a buck. It's better to send a friend or family member to grab what you need instead of the person holding the event together and captaining the ship.
3. Your wedding coordinator will not transport, cut and/or serve your wedding cake.
It make seem like a small and silly detail to take a firm stance on but--there is an excellent and important reason no coordinator in their right mind will do this for you. They don't have catering licenses or insurance that covers them if someone gets ill from consuming wedding cake that your coordinator has cut. This all boils down to legalities. A coordinator who cuts your cake for you can get sued if someone gets sick from eating it. It doesn't matter that they didn't prepare and create the cake, if you are certain none of your guests would sue or that the only reason they were cutting it for you was to be kind and try to save you a cake cutting fee somewhere--they can still be held responsible and they can lose their business over it.
Great planners and coordinators always look for simple ways to can save their couples money and strive to be as helpful as possible in both the planning and execution of their dreams but this is one thing your planner/coordinator can't afford take responsibility for...it's too risky.
You CAN expect your coordinator to recommend you contract your baker or caterer to do the cake cutting & service and has stocked the cake table with serving supplies before the cutting begins
If your top tier is to be saved, we will make sure the caterer or baker has it boxed and set aside after your cake cutting so that it can be transported home along with your gifts at the end of the evening. If you have a really excellent coordinator they'll even make sure slices from tiers with you and your fiance's favorite flavors in them are put into a to-go box that makes its way into your getaway car along with a box of food from dinner so that you two newlyweds can eat something (couples are always so excited to greet their guests and get their evening underway that they rarely sit and really eat well at their receptions no matter how much they're looking forward to the food).
4. Your wedding coordinator will not clean your reception venue.
Clean up after a wedding can be designated to a variety of individuals. The venue themselves will have a fair amount of responsibilities after an event and what they handle internally as well as what they expect clients to have taken care of and will vary by venue but should always spelled out in your venue contract. Major event strike items like breaking down chairs and tables or sweeping/mopping are never a coordinator's responsibility and generally fall under the responsibility of the venue staff. However, some venues, in an effort to be more budget friendly, state in their contract that these tasks are the responsibility of the client - in which case you should consult with your planner on whether or not they offer an option to provide a team to handle clean up. You can expect this service to come with a fee otherwise you should plan to delegate friends or family to take care of clean up.
You CAN expect your coordinator to offer optional cleaning services or work with you to assign different tasks associated with event break down and decor disposal to friends or family
They will help you designate someone (or a couple of someone's) to make sure everything is cleaned up and removed so nothing is left behind. Chances are they will also pitch in with some of the tasks such as removing table cloths, gathering up small decor pieces, emptying vases and generally making sure that event tear down is organized and that nothing is forgotten. Keep in mind that if you do want them to do more than organize and oversee the breakdown and disposal of your decor, talk to your planner about cleaning services.
5. Your wedding coordinator will not bus tables or haul out the trash
Some venues include clean up as part of their rental contract but even that has its limitations. Caterers and bartenders are generally responsible for the busing of tables as part of their contract, as well as removal of the trash created by the event and the cleanliness of the areas that they use. Your coordinator will be in communication with you, the venue staff as well as the catering team and the bartenders on this issue, therefore, there should never be a reason for the coordinator to be left handling trash. There should be a clear outline of responsibilities. But be warned...even though your caterer is contracted to bus tables and remove trash, it is only until after dinner service is over and they have cleaned the areas they used. They are typically under no contractual obligation to stay until the end of your event to bus or take out trash! So, there will be more bussing and trash removal to be done (especially after everyone has hit the bar or cake table a few dozen more times) so you should be prepared with a crew of volunteers to do that at the end of the night.
You CAN expect your coordinator to work with event staff from the caterer to the venue to ensure that tables are bussed in an expedient manner and that trash is cleared from wastebaskets as needed
You can expect your coordinator to prearrange for the catering team to anticipate busing and trash dispose after the event or to coordinate this task with your volunteers.
6. Your wedding coordinator will likely not handle or transport your wedding gifts
This one is an assumption coordinators run into a lot. Although most have no problem with the "idea" of carrying your gifts to load into a friend or family member's car and really want to be helpful...wedding gifts are often expensive, and what happens when you open your brand new beautiful $450 espresso maker from Uncle Dave and realize part of it is damaged? It could have broken in transit...but the natural assumption is that someone dropped it or mishandled it, so if your coordinator was handling gifts and loading the car...guess who gets the blame!
You CAN expect your wedding coordinator to work with you to select a responsible individual in your wedding party, a family member, or a close friend to handle and transport the gifts for you.
Your coordinator will double check under the gift table's skirt and behind things to make sure no stray card or gift is left unaccounted for, hold the doors for your designated gift transporter while they load, and even unlock their car for them while their hands are full.
7. Your wedding coordinator will not return rental items for you
You can't expect your coordinator to save you, your friends or family the hassle of returning rentals? What gives?!? Late fees & damages, that's what.
Most rental companies designate a specific return time for their items and super stiff penalties from the hundreds to even thousands of dollars for late or damaged items. Since you rented the items, you are financially responsible for returning them at the correct time and in the proper condition. Transferring responsibility to your coordinator can lead to problems if anything is in less than pristine condition or if they are unable to get them back to the rental company on time.
You CAN expect your wedding coordinator to ensure that all rental items are accounted for before departing your event and they have been collected by the rental company, you or your designated responsible person
Part of coordinating with your vendors includes ensuring that your rental company has provided the contracted rental items and report to you at the end of the night if any items have been damaged or come up missing during your event. They just can't be responsible for returning something we didn't sign a rental agreement for