Wedding Planner vs Wedding Coordinator
Guest Article by San Diego Wedding Planner Brenda Swann of Swann Soirées.
Wedding Coordinators, we are a dime a dozen in San Diego! What isn’t a dime is the difference in our pricing. Sorting through all the service inclusions can be a task all of it’s own, confusing and overwhelming, especially when it comes to the fine print… if it is even there.
Because my friend Ed is so rad, he gave me the honor of authoring this short guide to help you understand the ins & outs of not just hiring a Wedding Coordinator, but also understanding what your investment means.
Wedding Planner vs Wedding Coordinator
The first thing that needs to be understood is that a Wedding Planner and a Wedding Coordinator is not the same thing, however, one must be BOTH in order to be truly efficient. Anyone that has ever planned anything knows that you need to coordinate plans and plans have to coordinate. As a matter of fact, I’ll be the first to admit that when I was merely moonlighting as a Wedding Coordinator, I made sure clients hiring me knew I was not a planner, for I was only working for them ON the day of their wedding… not before in any sense. Which meant I didn’t answer panic phone calls in the middle of the night, I didn’t dole out advice on etiquette or detail styling, I didn’t call your vendors the week of the wedding, write your timeline, or even have an emergency kit. My job as a Day of Coordinator was to show up and put out fires during the day of your wedding. My fees for such heroic feat were based on how many hours you’d need me on the day of your wedding. Because I had no overhead, preparations to make, or need to be educated on anything more than what you wanted for your wedding, it was cheap, like craigslist cheap. Occasionally I’d charge more if I wanted a new pair of shoes or a bag that month. Seriously. There was an undetermined value for what I did from the start, so the pricing was always flexible and based on your preparations, my efforts needed, and my consumer whims. I didn’t have any sense of ownership or pride of your event, I was merely the ox doing the work you didn’t want anyone else to do…that day.
An El Cortez Wedding by Swann Soirées.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I didn’t enjoy not having answers or being yelled at by everyone who accused me of “not knowing” what I was doing. But who could blame them? My standard response to a problem at a wedding was “the bride planned it this way!” This was an intolerable excuse as I began to work at the same venues & with the same vendors repeatedly. Everything I did relied on having the parents or bridal party members help me throughout the wedding day, they were after all the ones that were there for the planning and knew everything the bride wanted. They were often the ones who came up with solutions to problems that arose on the wedding day, I mean, I barely knew the couple, so I wasn’t going to be the one making “best judgment” decisions for them! Not to mention that vendors didn’t listen to me anyway because they had no idea who the heck I was and they didn’t want to get in trouble from the bride by listening to some five and dime help for the day.
Trish and Chris celebrated their wedding at the El Cortez. Brenda worked tirelessly behind the scenes and ensured every thing ran smoothly.
The realization that this “Day of Coordinator” thing didn’t really work was hard to accept for it required a lot more effort than anticipated and more knowledge than I had. I also had the misconception that Wedding Planners charged thousands of dollars and only celebrities hired them, so who would hire me if the clients had already done “everything” themselves. Despite my own reservations, I knew I had to do more to provide peace of mind (the whole reason I was being hired for anyway)- which meant I had to dedicate more than just an hour interview/consultation at the Starbucks parking lot (because all the tables were taken inside) and a weekend day to you. It also meant I had to educate myself on ALL things weddings… etiquette, design, trends, religions, laws, dress designers, venues, establish relationships with vendors, etc, etc, etc (and oh boy there’s a lot to be included in the “etcetera”). Additionally, I had to make sure I at least met you somewhere where you could sit down comfortably and talk with me! There was going to be much more time & effort for you before the wedding day, and yes, it meant that I was going to charge accordingly… after all, all jobs are compensated based on experience, education, and performance right? I mean, I am not actually an ox working your wedding.
Swann Soiree team made sure everything was immaculate for the reception.
What more do you need though? Especially if you’ve done “everything” yourself already…
For starters, besides meeting your potential coordinator/planner to see if what he/she offers fits your needs, their portfolio and experience is sufficient, your personalities click, etc, you will need:
As you see, even when you’ve done “everything” and only have a need for the elusive creature mistakenly classified as a “Day of Coordinator,” in order for them to be a sound investment for your wedding, at minimum, they need to provide the above key services. Come wedding day, you, your parents, nor bridal party should be doing a single thing or worrying about the “what ifs” -when your planner/coordinator is well prepared to execute the event and KNOWS you as a couple. Fires wont need to be put out because they will never start, and the start to your happily ever after will start off flawlessly!
– San Diego Wedding Planner, Brenda Swann is the owner of Swann Soirees, a full service wedding and event planning boutique.
Contact Ed Atrero if you have questions.