11 Sep Why Every Wedding Needs A Coordinator
One of my most recent weddings was a phenomenal example of why it is imperative that every wedding have a coordinator. It doesn’t matter if it’s a professional like myself or just a dedicated friend who wants to help make your Big Day wonderful and doesn’t mind putting in some time and thinking quick on their feet. You need this person in action on your wedding day because the only certain thing about any large event, even an extremely organized & well planned one, is that something – or several somethings – will go wrong. The job of the coordinator is to make sure that the event presents itself and runs as it was intended to. It needs to look flawless – even if the hours leading up to it were filled with flaws and the unexpected.
The following are a small sampling of what went on behind the scenes of the most recent wedding I coordinated. This wedding was planned by a lovely bride who was meticulous in detail, super organized, & efficient …and still Murphy’s Law stepped in to cause a little potential chaos.
- The Almost Flower Disaster – This bride was fabulously budget savvy & decided to use a local upscale grocery store to provide both the florals & the food for her wedding. She was smart & careful having the flowers delivered early in the day with plenty of time to spare before the ceremony or reception. However, once the flowers arrived, we discovered that the florist had used older blooms in the bouquets. Many of the flowers had brown edges & most were so advanced in bloom that by the end of the reception they would have looked wilted if not dead. The bride, rightfully, sent the sub-standard bouquets back to be re-worked. Enter the coordinator – At 11am, one hour before photos were supposed to start, the flowers still hadn’t been re-delivered. I called the florist every 15 minutes for an update until the truck delivered. Sound excessive? – Just wait for it…Because I did this, the bouquets got to the church in time for photos. If I had not followed up aggressively, the florist planned to re-deliver at the same time the food was set to arrive at the reception venue at 1:45pm, because it would have saved the company van an extra trip. The ceremony started at the church at 12:30pm. The bride & the bridal party were involved in getting themselves ready for the wedding itself & assumed that the florist would re-deliver in time for the ceremony. Without follow up & prompting from a coordinator the bouquets wouldn’t have arrived in time for the ceremony or even been delivered to the correct place.
- 8 To A Table – The bride purchased beautiful chargers to be used in her place settings from a vendor who had an account with a national wholesaler. Her confirmed headcount was 102 with 7 additionals possible who had not RSVPed. Since the chargers came in boxes of 4 she ordered 27 boxes. She had discussed setting fourteen tables to seat eight guests each and her venue had executed that flawlessly. See a problem yet? When the time came to decorate the tables we were 4 chargers short! Enter the coordinator – Working quickly with the amazing Heather Nichols of H&H Liquid Catering I confirmed the number of expected guests with the bride, did the math & Heather started pulling chairs from two of the outer tables leaving the correct amount of seating for the expected guests with a charger at each place setting. Ta Da – Crisis averted!
- One Wedding Two Plans – Often brides and their mothers work together closely to plan some, or all, of the aspects of a wedding. In this case, the bride had done the wedding planning, bringing me on for event day coordination only, and she had done a really thorough and amazing job! However, the bride’s mother had a few decorative touches that were not put in place during the venue set up & either the bride wasn’t aware of or forgot to communicate with me about. Once guests began arriving for the reception Mom came striding confidently in with an undiscussed memorial & a monogrammed table runner that needed to be set up. Minutes later a great aunt from Illinois arrived with a family heirloom tablecloth that had been created in 1978 complete with a special protective cover – that no one had mentioned. The tablecloth had been used in every family wedding since 1978 – with the names and dates of each couple embroidered into it afterward & needed to be displayed in a prominent but very safe place in the reception. Enter the coordinator- I directed the Mother of the Bride to a nearby decorative hall table just outside the ballroom doorway to use for the memorial. I chose this area because it was near the table with the guest book and guests would pass by the memorial both on the way to and from the buffet assuring that the display would be highly visible. Then, I assisted the great aunt into the front entry and went to work transforming the gift table into a home for the heirloom tablecloth. Since we needed a large table but also one where no one would be tempted to place food or drink the gift table was the ideal location for this special but highly delicate family treasure.
There were other little hiccups that day – nothing major, but each one had the potential to change the day from a dream into a mini nightmare for the bride. The best part was when I had a conversation with her and realized she was super relaxed, enjoying her day, & that each problem had been addressed so competently that she hadn’t even been aware that there had been problems in the first place. That, to me, is the definition of success when I run coordination for a client. If the person who has spent hours planning the event and agonizing over each and every choice can’t tell that anything hasn’t gone 100% to plan when you’ve spent the day trouble shooting right & left then I feel like I’ve done my job well!