THE BLOG
02/15/2013 11:34 am ET | Updated Apr 17, 2013

No, I Will Not Be Your Day-Of Coordinator

No, I will not be your "day of" wedding coordinator. Don't even ask. I'm not sure what braintrust came up with the idea that it's even possible for anybody to step in, sight-unseen, on your wedding day and be expected to A) have the slightest clue what's going on, or B) command any respect whatsoever from any of the vendors working the event. But also don't fall prey to less scrupulous wedding planners out there who will happily take your money to do nothing to reduce your wedding day stress. You're better off with no wedding planner at all than one who will promise to arrive with a pumpkin coach and glass slippers at the very last second.

The wedding planner is like a brain surgeon to a wedding (go ahead and laugh) -- if the neuro guy doesn't show up in the operating room, you don't cut open the patient's head. Right? If you have a GOOD wedding planner, he or she knows everything about every little detail of your wedding and has reconfirmed it all four times ahead of your big day. There is no such thing as a day-of wedding coordination expert. You're either a planner who PLANS ahead, or you're not.

Yes, this is a rant. But it's because I've gotten a lot of "day of" requests lately because that's something other wedding experts have been pushing as an alternative to paying for full planning fees in this difficult economy. The problem is that you can't do it. I cannot walk into a venue on the day of your wedding without having any ahead-of-time knowledge and execute your wedding in the flawless manner you want it to be done. In order for me to do that, we have to have lots of meetings or calls, and I have to point out your scheduling issues and give you all sorts of advice in order for me to be able to make the day run smoothly.

Let me explain a little further to those of you who might not know what a good planner should be doing behind the scenes for your wedding. The first thing I do with a new client is go through a million questions so I get a very clear understanding of what my clients want from beginning to end. And then, armed with that information, I'm able to show my clients a variety of appropriate wedding venues (villas, historic locations, boutique hotels, beaches, etc.) based on their likes and dislikes, and the budget we're working with. Once the venue is selected, contracts can be written for all of the vendors you've selected -- and I make sure that I scan a copy of EVERY deposit check into my system before I turn it over to the vendor. You have no idea how many times a year I'm thankful that I'm such a scanning fanatic. I have some vendors who never seem to know whether or how much deposit they received -- part of making the wedding day run smoothly is making sure that everybody gets paid in a timely manner.

When your wedding month arrives, we nail down all the final details ahead of time. My schedule for a wedding, to quote my husband Bill, rivals that of the U.S. Secret Service on inauguration day. I put EVERYTHING into the master schedule, and then I break out a vendor schedule (vendors don't need to know when clients are coming and going from accommodations), and that goes out to the vendors one week prior to the actual wedding date asking for confirmation and giving them an opportunity to make any changes. We hunt down the ones who don't respond. We put trick questions into the schedule emails to see if they're actually reading them. And then the day before the wedding, we call all your service staff (bartenders and servers) and setup and teardown guys and rentals companies and everybody else and confirm ONE MORE TIME that they're going to be where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be there.

And then -- ONLY THEN -- do we show up on your wedding day knowing that we can execute a perfect event for you. And if something goes wrong, we're prepared because we're on top of every little detail. We can rob Peter to pay Paul, if we have to. Believe me, we have all pulled off events on a wing and a prayer -- but doing it on an island where everything you need has to take two boats or two planes to get here adds a level of stressful challenge that is absolutely no fun for a bride without a wedding planner. It also means that as the wedding planner, there's no way in the world I'm going to agree to walk in on the wedding day and coordinate people I've never met that you randomly selected from their websites and put my name on an event that's a guaranteed disaster. I'm not the one paying them; they're not going to listen to me.

Now, keeping all of that in mind, what exactly is a "day of" wedding coordination package supposed to do for you? Does it give you a person who will hold a list (that you've written) of who goes down the aisle in what order? Is it a person who is going to check on the flower order when it arrives and make sure there are enough bouquets? Don't forget to give the "day of" coordinator the list, though. Remember, it's like hiring a stranger to come into the middle of the biggest day of your life and take charge. For real? Would you seriously consider doing that? I wouldn't.

So please think twice about what you're doing before you hire some random person to "day of" coordinate your wedding. It's just a bad idea. If all you need is somebody to push folks down the aisle on time and make sure that things run smoothly, choose your bossiest cousin or sister. But don't give away good money to somebody who promises you they can come in on your wedding day and make all your dreams come true. There really is no such thing as a fairy godmother.

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques or Weddings in Culebra!

Sandy