“Hot diggity—this planner is only $800, and she just shows up the day of our wedding and will make sure everything goes as planned!”
You hire someone to coordinate your wedding day, and they simply show up that day and handle everything with ease. You and your new spouse ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. We know it sounds awesome but, do you remember what your grandma taught you about something sounding too good to be true?
Now, we know some planners/coordinators out there offer this service, but for the planners that don’t, it really bums us out. I mean, heck, you’ll have had a more meaningful relationship with your wedding cake baker than with your coordinator. (Side note: If you’re a bride, you should be aware that your coordinator might end up helping you go to the ladies’ room, so believe me, you are going to want to feel more comfortable with your coordinator than you do with your baker.)
Below are 11 reasons most Chicago wedding planners & coordinators choose not to offer a truly “day-of” or “week of” service and why our minimum packages are more full-service where we step in 4-8 weeks out from your wedding and help you in those very important, final few weeks of planning.
1. You’re Just Not Getting the Service You Deserve
First, and probably most importantly, you’re just not getting the service you deserve for easily one of the most important (and expensive) days in your lives. This is not the day to decide to skimp and go with the cheapest route, especially when talking about wedding coordination. It’s your wedding day, and you should be working with a coordinator who fully understands all the elements and moving parts of your day. Plus, you need time to build trust with this person so that you can rest assured your day will be in the very best hands.
2. We Believe One Size Doesn’t Fit All
By hiring someone to just show up on your day, you’re assuming your wedding is exactly the same as everyone else’s. We’ve been a part of a TON of weddings, and though many follow a similar structure, no two weddings have ever been the same. Not once. You and your partner have spent a very long time planning an event that truly reflects you, so don’t discredit that by thinking it’s the same as any ol’ wedding.
3. We Want to Get an A+ On Your Wedding Day
As a coordinator, if we just showed up to your wedding it would be the same as us just showing up to a final exam … to a class we’re not registered for, at a school we don’t go to. We simply won’t be prepared. Of course, we can have you fill out a mega long form and ask you to send us the floor plan and timelines, but, as Loreen Hospodar of Clementine Custom Events, always says: “It’s like reading the Cliffs Notes version of your wedding.” Ain’t nobody want a Cliffs Notes wedding. We need to know all the ins and outs of your day and have the time to study up so that we can do our job to the best of our ability and ace the exam.
4. Our Timelines Are Really Good. Yours … Well …
Oh man, we can’t even tell you how many times a couple has sent a preliminary timeline our way that needed to be adjusted. As Caitlin from Blush & Luxe Events notes the wedding day timeline is “possibly one of the most crucial pieces of a wedding day and the one most easily overlooked without a planner. It takes longer than Google Maps’ estimated 15 minutes to load a 56 passenger charter bus and travel from Lincoln Park to The Loop on a Friday during rush hour!” Look, unless one of you works in the event world, it’s unlikely you have planned an event like this and have a full understanding of how to properly time your day so that it flows seamlessly.
5. You’re Going to Need A Pro’s P.O.V.
On average, in those final four to eight weeks of planning, we’ll exchange anywhere from 60-90+ emails with each couple. That’s because we make ourselves completely available to you in those last few weeks — here to answer any questions, big or small. You’re not bothering us, we promise. In fact, if you don’t email us, we’re going to get worried and email YOU. We want you to feel comfortable reaching out to us, no matter what. You shouldn’t feel limited by a coordinator who only shows up on the wedding day.
6. We Need Time to Detect Any Errors—Big or Small
One time I stepped into a wedding to coordinate and when reviewing the venue contract, found that the couple had booked the venue from 12 p.m.–5 p.m. That rental time needed to include setup (two hours) and teardown (one hour). Sooooo, with the contract as is, the reception would have been from 2 p.m.–4 p.m. I have a few stories like this. The point is, the earlier a planner gets involved in helping in all that i-dotting and t-crossing, the better. Let’s catch these things eight weeks out and not the week of the wedding so that you aren’t stressed out during a time you should be savoring.
7. We Need to Rally the Vendor Team
You’ve spent a lot of time researching, meeting with and hiring your wedding professionals. Now, these individual pros need to work as a team for your day. Having a coordinator come on board at least four to eight weeks out from the wedding allows us to make sure your vendors have all the info they need, are aware of who they will be working with, and can stay in touch with us leading up to and throughout the big day to ensure everything runs smoothly.
8. Call Us Crazy But We Want to Know What You Look Like
Sorry, but this one kills me to think about. Unless we stalk you on Facebook, how are we going to know what you even look like? We do not want to walk into the hotel suite with all the guys getting ready and be like, “Hey, which one of you is Tom?” Uh, no thank you. We want to meet with you and your partner well in advance of the big day so that, one, we could pick you out of a lineup, and two, we can get to know you as a couple. This is essential so we know how to navigate your day to the best of our ability.
9. We Need to Be Able to Make Game-Time Decisions
Stepping into the wedding-planning process when we do allows us to know what your priorities are so that we’re able to make the best decisions for you on the wedding day. For example, if we know that opening the dance floor is more important than cake getting to all of your guests’ tables, we’re going to make that call. Otherwise, if I’m just going off the timeline you made, I’m going to just do what is says and assume you’ve put a great deal of thought and consideration into it. If we get to know you and your priorities a little better, we’re able to make accurate game-time calls that will make your event better.
10. We Believe You Get What You Pay For
Just be aware that, if you’re paying someone $500 to show up on your wedding day, it’s super risky. It might work out, it might not. Do you really want to gamble on your wedding day? You get out what you put in, so if you want to ensure that your wedding is in the very best hands, I urge you to consider hiring a seasoned event pro who will give you and your families the full-service you all deserve.
11. We Become So Much More Than Just Your Coordinator
Going off #8 and #9, we want to get to know you, and we want you to get to know us. Why? Because, in addition to taking a lot of the wedding to-dos off your plate leading up to the wedding and handling everything on the day of, it isn’t uncommon for us to become a source of calm and reassurance for our couples. This is HUGE (not to mention, priceless) and the exact reason we all do what we do. This would not be as effective if we just arrived on the day of, now would it?
Look, you gotta do what you gotta do, but my hope is that you’ve learned a little bit more about why hiring a full-service wedding coordinator is worth every penny. Having a planner step in the day or the week of the wedding never made sense to me. It’s your wedding—this isn’t just any party we’re throwing here—and you should have someone with you who values you as a couple, sees and appreciates how much work you’ve put into planning your day, and will guide you through the final stages of planning so that you get to enjoy every once-in-a-lifetime minute of a day that really does go by way too quickly.
Big thanks to my planner friends at Haviland Events, Clover Events, Clementine Custom Events, Naturally Yours Events, Blush and Luxe & It’s All Happening Events that allowed me to share some sneak peeks of them in action, doing what they do best!