Why "Day-of Coordination" shouldn't exist
Hi friends! I'm here to break down all of the reasons why "Day-of Coordination" is an inaccurate term for a majority of wedding coordinators/planners and why you should actually run if you encounter anyone truly does offer "Day-of" wedding planning services.
But why does everyone call it this? It's a term that's been around for decades and has just become a habit for people to describe a service where someone comes in to execute a wedding day plan. However, any good planner will start planning long before the wedding day, which is why this term is completely inaccurate.
Imagine this scenario: You've just hired a "Day-of" Wedding Coordinator. You hand them your timeline, a list of vendors and tell them your layout/set-up plan. The Day-of Coordinator shows up to the venue with their team (hopefully they have one), and now has a million questions (which they keep bugging you about as you're trying to enjoy getting ready with your bridesmaids): Where do we park? Where do guests park? Where's the ceremony? Where do vendors set up? Does the venue have water for the caterer and bar tenders? Where can we store ice? Where are the outlets for the DJ? How many does the DJ need access to? How will guests be directed to the ceremony and reception? Where does this (decor item) go? How do they want this arranged on the table? Are vendor meals included? What time should we set-up the cake? What time should we start lining up for the bridal party entrance? Does the DJ have the list of names and knows how to pronounce them? How would you like to be introduced? The list goes on.
Then they're handed a box of 200 plastic champagne flutes that need to be assembled, and fall behind on their timeline for set-up almost immediately.
I've sadly witnessed this happen before at a wedding. The "Day-of" Wedding Coordinator showed up, by herself (a red flag), to set everything up. She immediately fell behind because she did not realize how much decor there was and how spaced out each area was at the venue. Since she did not attend the rehearsal, she struggled trying to find people to line up for ceremony. Everyone was asking her a million questions that she had no idea the answer to. I witnessed her leave the bathroom with tears in her eyes about halfway through the wedding. I felt really bad for her.
Day-of Wedding Coordination is not impossible, but it is certainly not ideal because there is simply not enough time to prepare for your wedding day. At the very least, hiring a Month-of Coordinator will ensure your plans can be properly executed. This gives your coordinator the opportunity to tie up any loose ends, make timeline suggestions/add to the existing timeline (for reference, our timelines are typically 5-10 pages long), do a venue visit (one at the very least), find out what time all of your vendors will be showing up, introduce themselves to your vendors, attend the rehearsal, understand where each decor item goes, create a teardown plan, and most importantly get to know you and your fiance so if any issues arise on the wedding day, they understand how you'd like it to be handled. They also have the opportunity to ask you questions ahead of time instead of on your wedding day.
We get this question all the time: "We see that you offer Month-of Coordination, is there any way you can offer Day-of only?" Month-of Coordination encompasses Day-of, it just gives us both more time to plan without stressing that any details have been missed.
It can be very confusing to couples because there are Wedding Planners out there who still use the term "Day-of Coordination," even though their services begin weeks before your wedding. There are also Planners who offer "Day-of Coordination" where they show up the day of the wedding having done no prep work at all. It's important to be aware of these differences and ask questions when you're reaching out to Planners.
"But my venue said I only need a Day-of Wedding Planner, not Month-of": Your venue most certainly meant someone who comes in further than the day-of your wedding, it's an old term that is still being used to describe Month-of/30 day/60 day planning services.
"But my venue includes a Day-of Wedding Coordinator": That's great! We're always relieved to hear that your venue includes a Day-of Wedding Coordinator. When a venue includes this service, it means that they are in charge of making sure everything is planned out on the venue side. Some of there duties might include: Making sure sprinklers are off during your ceremony, making sure the bridal suite is unlocked, setting up tables and chairs (they don't typically set-up decor for liability purposes), making sure outlets work, fountains are on, pathways have been swept, bathrooms stocked throughout your event, etc. Sometimes they will assist with creating a timeline (which begins when you enter the property, so does not include pre-ceremony or post-wedding activities). Sometimes they assist with making sure the activities on the timeline are executed. I've seen Day-of Venue Coordinators begin services between 1 week - 2 months prior to the wedding date. They are wonderful assets to the planning process because we don't have to worry about those above tasks and they can answer any questions we may have.
There are many benefits for both you and your planner to begin services at least 1 month prior to your wedding day. It is extremely important to ask your planner exactly what services they offer and when so you can ensure you have plenty of time to knock out the details.
Photo: Madison Fernandez Photography