We are in the age of DIY - everything we see encourages us to do everything ourselves. We plan our weddings on Pinterest, we become obsessed with Etsy, and we love MAKING THINGS. I was the same way when I got married last October! I wanted to make my own centerpieces, my own program, my own favors, and I did (with lots of help from my mom and friends, of course!) I felt so fulfilled not only saving money, but also working hard at creating a beautiful wedding, many of my elements being handmade or hand-picked for our day. I was a DIY-bride!
The problem with this do-it-yourself age we have found ourselves in is that we try to do too much. I'm not knocking DIY brides specifically, but all brides in general. We pick the 2-3 things that are most important to invest in, and cut back on everything else to make it all fit into the budget. For me, I picked photography as my top priority, and after that was venue, and then food. Those were the three things I cared most about and spent the most money on, which is why I made my own centerpieces and designed my own programs - to save money (and because I WANTED to!)
Many brides stop there, and after picking their top things to invest in, they skimp of everything else... and many times that includes a day-of coordinator. They decide they don't need one, that between themselves, their mom, and their bridesmaids, they can keep the show running. But what I have seen in all of the weddings I have been to is quite the opposite. Weddings without day-of coordinators can quickly turn into a day full of stress, hard work, and a day that is constantly behind schedule. To be specific, I'm not talking about the coordinator you find at the church who facilitates the venue, and I'm not talking about the reception manager or the catering manager who runs that side of things, I'm talking about someone separate, a person who is with you the entire day, who runs the show from start-to-finish.
When things go wrong on a wedding day, a bride will either turn to her mom, or her maid of honor first. They ask them to do favors, go run somewhere to fix this or do that... and off they go. Of course, everyone wants to help the bride! But how amazing would it be to have a delegated person to take care of ALL of that, so that the mother of the bride can RELAX and enjoy every moment with her daughter as she gets dressed, and her maid of honor and bridesmaids can do the same. The wedding day isn't just about the bride being stress-free, it's also about the people she is closest to being available and present to share every moment with her. I have seen mothers of the bride MISS the entire moment she is putting on her wedding dress because she is too busy finalizing the centerpieces at the reception hall. That is a moment you can never get back.
I realize that most brides, especially DIY brides, don't choose to hire a wedding planner, and I totally understand that. I didn't hire one - I enjoyed planning everything with my mom and doing the research and the meetings ourselves. But the decision to have a day-of coordinator at my wedding was one of the BEST decisions I made.
This is Donna - she was our day-of coordinator at our wedding day. I don't even know HALF of the things she did behind the scenes, but that is the point - she got it ALL done.
One of the best things you can do to make your relationship with your day-of coordinator a complete success is to meet sometime before the wedding day and hand over every single detail you have planned. Donna had a huge list of things for me to give her, but once I compiled everything, I had total peace of mind, knowing that she knew exactly how the entire day was supposed to run.
My 7-page document to Donna included:
1. Vendor List, including contact information, arrival time, and whether or not they needed to be paid.
2. Direction for decor, including who was setting up what, pictures and diagrams of what the tables needed to look like, and where all of the elements could be found.
3. A MASTER timeline, including all the vendors arrival time, and who is to be where, when, etc.
4. A detailed ceremony list, including songs to be played, who is walking down the aisle with who, in what order, to what music.
5. Step-by-step guide to the reception, including songs to be used, explainations of each event, how long it should last, and what should be happening.
6. Plan B - in case of rain, what changes and what stays the same.
That list doesn't do it justice, this document I have is EXHAUSTIVE, but it was so worth it to put together because I knew when I handed that over to Donna, she would get it done. I don't remember seeing the flowers delivered, I don't even remember seeing the boutineers before I saw the guys wearing them, but somehow it all got done. Somehow, all five of our grandmas (yes, there are five of them) got their proper corsages on, and somehow all of the decor was set up properly. And somehow, by some amazing stretch of the imagination, the entire day ran ON SCHEDULE, and we exited at promptly 10:00pm. Somehow Donna made it all happen, and the beauty of it is that I was too busy enjoying my day to notice. My mom and sister were too busy enjoying the day and savoring every moment to notice how tirelessly Donna worked behind the scenes. THAT is what a day-of coordinator is supposed to do.
If you are overwhelmed with wedding planning, or wondering how everything is going to come together, the absolute best thing you can do for yourself is to hire a day-of coordinator to make the show run flawlessly from start-to-finish. The last thing I would want for any bride is to look back on her wedding day and to remember moments of stress and panic, frantically trying to delegate last-minute tasks to her loved ones. I can honestly look back on my wedding day and say that I did not feel one ounce of stress, I did not have to make a single decision (and I told Donna I didn't want to make any decisions on the wedding day!) and I experienced pure joy because of people like Donna working hard behind the scenes to insure that the day ran as smoothly as I wanted it to... and it did.
If you are looking for a day-of coordinator for your wedding day, shoot me an email and I'd love to pass along some names of fabulous planners and coordinators who can help!