We all know that organising a wedding can be quite a stressful time. Having to find time to view venues, talk to photographers, look at flowers, try on dresses.all while juggling your normal day to day commitments - it can all become a bit much. Add to this the stress that as soon as you mention the word "wedding" the price for everything seems to double right before your eyes and you could soon go over the edge! This is where wedding co-ordinators can come into play.
Wedding co-ordinators are there to make sure that your special day (and the lead up to it) is as stress-free and perfect as possible. They can assist you in any number of ways, from assisting with the planning of the whole event to just helping with the flowers.
Janet Cibilich of Wonderful Weddings explains that their most popular package is the total package, where she organises everything, from choosing the venue (if wished) to the final minutes of the reception. She has however recently introduced a "Support Package" which is for couples who have booked everything but want assistance with finalising the details and making sure that it all runs smoothly on the day. Janet envisages that the Support Package will grow in popularity as couples stress out nearer the time of their wedding wondering how everything is going to tie together and hoping that nothing has been overlooked!
Each couple has their own individual requirements and a good co-ordinator is able to tailor the packages to suit those requirements.
There are a number of reasons why you may want to use a wedding co-ordinator for planning all, or part of, your wedding.
While, for most people, this is the first time that they have planned a wedding, a wedding co-ordinator will usually have helped with hundreds of them. They know all of the little things that are often overlooked, and they have experience to know what can go wrong and how best to avoid any problems.
Wedding co-ordinators also know how much things should cost. This means that you don't have to worry that you are being ripped off. Some co-ordinators have on-going relationships with certain suppliers so may also be able to get more competitive prices.
We all know that planning a wedding is an amazingly time-consuming process. There are so many aspects of a wedding that need to be planned, viewed, booked, and co-ordinated. Whether it be organising the venues, the food and drink, plates, cutlery, invitations, flowers, cake, dresses..it all takes time. And in today's busy lifestyle, time is often something that we don't have!
Wedding co-ordinators on the other hand usually have a number of contacts which make planning much easier. For example, at Wonderful Weddings, they have a database of over 200 venues, most of which they have personally inspected. This means that the co-ordinator can create a shortlist of venues based on the couple's preferences. This saves the couple having to visit venues which will clearly not fit their needs.
As Janet explains, as a result of having assisted with a large number of weddings, they also have a storehouse of ideas which can save couples money, without compromising on quality .
Uninterested Groom and too-interested family members
Time (or lack of it) is not the only factor that creates stress when planning a wedding. Often various family members have their own view on how the wedding should be and this often creates unwanted tension. Having a neutral person can help to ease these situations or avoid them completely.
If the groom isn't particularly interested in helping with the planning, many co-ordinators are able to offer a male perspective. Rory of Wonderful Weddings, for example, is able to lend a helping hand with the men's side of things. He is an experienced toastmaster and can assist in such areas as speeches and toasts, suit hire, limousines, drinks, not to mention moral support for a nervous groom or best man!
Peace of Mind
The last thing that you want to be panicking about on your wedding day is whether the cake is going to be delivered on time or whether there are enough glasses for the tables. Instead, you should be completely free to enjoy what is going to be one of the best days of your life. With a wedding co-ordinator, you can rest easy in the knowledge that everything is being looked after and will be perfect.
Most wedding co-ordinators offer different packages, depending on the level of assistance that you would like with the planning of your day. Prices vary quite a lot so it is worth shopping around.
To give you an idea, Wonderful Weddings offers its total co-ordination package from $1,695, depending upon your requirements. It also offers its Support Package ($895) for couples who have already booked everything but want assistance in confirming all the details and co-ordinating the various aspects of the day.
Most co-ordinators offer a one-off consultation "kick-start". This is great where you just need assistance with getting started. You can discuss things such as themes, types of venues, food etc and you can "pick their brains" on all aspects of the day. Most of these packages also provide for the co-ordinator to source and book some of the venues and suppliers according to your preference. These packages tend to cost approximately $200-300.
In addition to offering packages, most co-ordinators also offer an hourly rate if you would like them to organise only particular aspects of your wedding. These rates can vary from $50 per hour to over $100 per hour.
When choosing a co-ordinator, first and foremost, you need to feel completely comfortable with them and their approach. You can usually ask them for an idea of some of the weddings that they have planned in the past and this will give you an indication of their experience and style.
You will also need to give some thought to to how much you would like the co-ordinator to do. This is something that you should discuss with them at your first meeting (most co-ordinators offer a free first consultation). In this consultation, you can let the co-ordinator know what your budget is (both in terms of the wedding itself and in how much you want to spend on the co-ordinator). If your budget doesn't stretch to having the whole thing planned for you, the co-ordinator will be able to advise you which aspects it would be best to have assistance with.
The bottom line is that your wedding day should be a fantastically special day and, if a wedding co-ordinator can help achieve that and you can afford it, you should go for it - you are unlike to regret it.
Acknowledgement: We would like to thank Janet Cibilich of Wonderful Weddings for her assistance in preparing this article.