WHY A WEDDING COORDINATOR?


by Doris Nixon

At every major event in life professionals are present! A doctor delivers a baby, clergy persons baptize and confirm children, city and school officials preside at graduation, directors take charge of movies and stage productions and licensed persons perform marriages and bury the dead. In each of these events rituals are involved. There is a system for each, carried out by someone trained to do so.

With the high cost of weddings and the time involved to pull all the facets together, it is all but impossible for the bride to do this while keeping her daily routine (which is already in overload) intact. Listen to some of the comments made by brides who did not have a wedding coordinator.

A professional coordinator has a checklist, which she uses to be sure everything arrives and is set up. Some even carry an extra Registry Book. By now you get the picture. A coordinator is trained to plan and coordinate every minute detail and oversee all of it!

Are coordinators expensive? Some brides feel a coordinator is too expensive. Compared to what? The gown? The reception? The band? Overall, the money spent for a coordinator is a small percentage of the wedding budget, which is where the coordinator begins before she offers any suggestions. Many times she can actually save you money because she knows the “going” price. Frequently she can negotiate prices. The following is a true story--a telephone conversation I overheard while in the office of a Certified Wedding Specialist.

CWS: “No, my client will not pay $2.50 per head for that hors d’oeuvre.” Hotel:“ That family has ‘old’ money. They can afford it.” CWS: “That’s not the point. The fact is your hors d’oeuvres are not worth $2.50 each.”

The coordinator got the hors d’oeuvres for $1.50 each, saving her client $450.00 on that particular hors d’oeuvres.

.At another wedding, the coordinator was able to negotiate the price of a golf game for the men in the wedding party by pointing out to the reception facility manager that the bride was having the rehearsal, the wedding and the reception at the one facility. When her request for a lower price for golf was denied, she turned to the bride’s mother and said, "Perhaps you should consider having the rehearsal dinner at another site since it’s obvious your business is not appreciated.” A consultation between members of the hotel staff brought the price of the golf game down quite a bit.

Because a wedding coordinator brings repeat business to a facility, she often has negotiating power not available to an individual scheduling a one-time event.

Do wedding coordinators get a “kick-back” from vendors? Although many vendors do offer coordinators a percentage for any wedding they book with them, a professional coordinator will not take it. Instead, she will reply to the vendor, "That is so nice of you but I am paid by my client. Would you agree to offer my bride a discount?” Thus the professional coordinator is working every way she can to save her client money.

As important as it is to save money, the major advantage of hiring a coordinator is the time she saves you. She does the legwork for you, always working within your parameter. She does not dictate to you, but she does offer you options. The pressure of contacting the church, the reception site, the caterer, the florist, the musicians, the photographer, the videographer, the soloist, your attendants, his family, your family, the hair stylist, writing thank-you notes, etc. is overwhelming. Add to that the big day itself, and the thousand and one last minute details that take place then, and you begin to realize what a task it is to plan a wedding.

Now let’s take a look at some actual wedding day scenes:

The mother of the bride forgot to change shoes and just before the coordinator sent her down the aisle the coordinator noticed the bedroom shoes. Quickly she determined that the mother of the bride wore size 8½. Slipping off her own size 8 shoes, the mother entered the church, feet pinched a bit, but the perfect picture of a Mother-of-the-Bride!

The small country church did not have an organ but the bride was determined to enter the church with great fanfare. She secured her own taped music and operator. When the time came for her to walk down the aisle, majestic music filled the air, then stopped, started and stopped again. The tape was defective! There was silence and more silence. Not knowing what to do, the person operating the tape recorder decided not to try again. The quick-thinking wedding coordinator walked about half way down the aisle and began humming the wedding march, encouraging the audience to join her. Soon the sanctuary was filled with music--not what the bride expected, but something entirely different. Misty-eyed, she walked down the aisle and later declared it to be the most romantic moment of the wedding.

The groom had a red bandanna handkerchief in his back pocket. The coordinator spyed it before he walked in. This coordinator now checks the pockets of all the men in the wedding party.

Some other stories and ideas directly from coordinators:

A professional wedding coordinator has been trained to handle the unusual. For example, if a coordinator is directing a wedding in California, she will have a flashlight with her just in case there is an earthquake. She can direct the evacuation! On the East Coast that’s unheard of, but the coordinator may be checking the tide schedule just to make sure the boats can dock at your island.

Brides who use trained professional coordinators (yes, she will have a certificate) find them to be their best friends. Those who don’t are often filled with regret!

Doris Nixon is the President of Weddings Beautiful, an association dedicated to furthering the education of wedding consultants.

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