If you’re in the process of planning your wedding, you might be wondering what services are essential and what you can skip. One of the biggest stressors when it comes to wedding planning is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Questions come up along the way and you may not be sure where to turn because it seems like someone is always trying to sell you on one more must-have wedding essentials.

So, especially if you’re on a tight budget, you might be asking yourself, “Do I really need a ‘day-of’ wedding coordinator?”

A day-of wedding coordinator is essentially a one-day wedding planner who runs the show on your special day so you and your significant other can sit back, relax, and enjoy the event.

For the Virginia brides who book our wedding venue directly without a wedding planner, we always strongly recommend that they hire a day-of wedding coordinator.

How is a day-of wedding coordinator different from a wedding planner?

The difference between a full-service wedding planner and a day-of wedding coordinator is that a full-service wedding planner handles everything from start to finish, including wedding design, hiring vendors, contract negotiation, and fully executing the event on the day of the wedding.

Ideally, every couple would be able to hire a full-service wedding planner. But even though a planner can actually save you money in special vendor pricing and negotiations, sometimes the investment is simply cost prohibitive for those on tighter budgets.

A wedding day coordinator, on the other hand, works with couples who handled most of their own wedding planning, but they need someone to step in, iron out all of the final details, and handle the execution of their plan to make it all happen seamlessly, on time, and without a hitch.

Couples typically begin working with the day-of coordinator about a month in advance. This way, they have a wedding professional on-call to answer last-minute questions, ease worries, and catch details that may have fallen through the cracks before it’s too late.

Is a day-of wedding coordinator really necessary?

Unless you want to be the one handling last-minute details, vendor management, and issues that arise before, during, and after the ceremony and reception, you’ll want to have someone take on the role of wedding coordinator for the day.

Many couples DIY their wedding planning by booking their own venue and vendors and taking care of logistics in advance. However, when it comes to the day of the wedding, you shouldn’t be bogged down in the minutia that goes into hosting a successful event.

If you don’t have the money to hire a professional coordinator, you might have to rely on friends or family members to handle details on the day of your wedding. However, keep in mind they will not have the opportunity to fully enjoy your wedding as a guest. Also, they could have the best intentions, but might not be particularly helpful if they are not organized or experienced. Again, you want to ensure the wedding runs smoothly so your guests have a great time and you have peace of mind.

The responsibilities of a day-of wedding coordinator might include:

● Running the rehearsal
● Preparing a timeline and communicating it with vendors
● Assisting the wedding party in getting ready
● Providing emergency supplies, such as forgotten items
● Double-checking details like head counts for caterers and place settings
● Meeting vendors and ensuring they have what they need
● Guiding the bridal party through the processional and recessional
● Retaining the marriage license for the officiant
● Cueing the bridal party, officiant, DJ, etc. as needed
● Wrangling the bridal party and family for photo sessions
● Taking care of last-minute snafus and issues that come up
● Making sure everything runs smoothly and on time
● Distributing final payments and gratuities to vendors
● Gathering gifts and personal items at the end of the night

Imagine how overwhelmed and frazzled you would likely become if it were up to you to handle all of these details and solve day-of problems as they arise. The day-of wedding coordinator is there to protect your sanity and ensure all the preparation and financial investment that went into planning the event pays off so you’re free to fully appreciate the moment.

After all, your wedding is one of the most special and memorable days of your life. You will want to spend time with your guests as a graceful host, not spend the event hard at work. So, if you can find the budget to hire a day-of wedding coordinator, take a deep breath, step back, and let a professional take the reins.