Many years ago there was two little movies that kicked off wedding coordinators trend.
The first was "Father of the Bride" with Steve Martin and the delightful "Franc".
The second was the JLO classic, "The Wedding Planner" which glamorized a big business wedding planner and all of the fabulous ways she makes the stress of a wedding easy. Mainly on the day of the wedding it showed how a wedding day of coordinator was the "crisis firehose" by evading bad pics by moving a guest with a terrible outfit out of a shot for photos. Sobering up a Father of Bride that had a few too many that day. Reassuring a bride that has cold feet that her marriage is the right one seconds before walking down the aisle, and feeding the best man his toast.
It took some time for the trend to move to Middle America. I recall being in my senior year of high school thinking of careers and remembering only being able to find true wedding coordinator businesses on the West and East coast. At that time many people scoffed at the idea of even trying to make it a career. So naturally I chose Wardrobe Styling & Makeup artistry for film at the time. You know... the more realistic choice. (laughing)
Some years later after living in Los Angeles and making dreams come true in both careers I had a created a wedding planning and coordination business but was moving back to my home state of Minnesota. The land of the DIY bride. I would have to say that at that time the thought of hiring a wedding coordinator for many of the Midwestern brides was looked at socially as "ridiculous" and some may even say they'd "get laughed at by friends and family" if they weren't able to handle the stress, set up, planning and direction of their own wedding. Over 13 years that has evolved and changed. With women getting married later in life ( average age being 33 yrs old now for women) They became established career women that no longer see themselves wrangling people, centerpieces, details, and look much more forward to going to the big party and being a "star" on their day but still wanted to pretty much plan everything on their own. I think we can applaud reality television for that one since so much of how women form their idea of what they can strive to be lies very much in the hands of networks like "Bravo Television" and the Real Housewives franchise with lavish dinner parties and styled parties & weddings on the regular.
Those styled weddings however are a culmination of months of behind the scenes planning done by wedding and event professionals that have the resources to produce lavish parties on a whim or in advance with very well thought out planning based on experience. Wedding planners know how many people will fit into a room by looking at it in 10 seconds. They know how long it will truly take to serve salads and clear them. We know when you need to a time buffer and all the many scenarios in getting things set up in time as well as broken down. We know that when your bridesmaids commit to doing your flowers for you, often on the wedding day they all look at it as their time to "chill" and get their hair done. The flowers you thought would get done do not or they do and water doesn't make it to the vases. So we know how to advise to better plan for those situations.
All of these things are reasons to have a planner... yes. But not all can make that happen in a budget where the cost of everything from labor to catering has gone up up up. A person to make it all come together on your wedding day has become the must so you can throw back the "champs" and get your hair did without fielding calls on your wedding day. One tiny glitch in the system has finally been rectified. The label and idea of a "Day Of Coordinator". Coordinators for years have been labeling their job as "DAY OF" when all along it's really been a whole lot more starting from the first consultation.
Even if you have planned everything out for an event you still have to convey your vision to a stranger ( the wedding planner/coordinator) in order for them to execute it in the way you imagine it to be. To do that takes you someone else’s valuable time. We know time is the most precious and expensive commodity and therefore not considering that would be the same as walking down the street and telling a complete stranger about your wedding and expecting them to stop their life to stand there and listen. Or like going to work and not getting paid to be told about what you need to do just for the actual act of doing the job.
Over time with communication being riddled down to text messaging and comments or even just dancing on Tik Tok , we can see how general public may think there’s nothing more involved than coordination of their wedding other than handing over a 10- 100 page binder of instructions and a Pinterest board the week before. However, there is a whole lot more involved in coordinating a day, an event. As described above, there's a lot of scenarios many don't even consider or lose track of on the day. Sure things do happen and having coordinator does not guarantee nothing will occur that could be deemed as embarrassing. But what planners have tried to educate clients on in previous years, once hired, is the day actually requires several hours of work leading up to the wedding day. This is precisely why the phrase "Wedding Management" has begun replacing the silly phrase of "Day of Coordinator". To begin educating clients that time management for everyone involved in their event is just as important as day of management.
If you think of a restaurant there's a hostess, a manager, servers, and bussers. Each have a job. Your wedding planner when working on the plan for your day of event is actually A MANAGER. We check in and instruct all of the "staff"/ moving parts that you so carefully planned out
( photographer, florist, baker, caterer, dj, venue manager, etc) to make sure everyone is on the same page about positioning, we field the questions and answers that happen to because everyone is nervous to make it right for you. Your schedule. Then on the day we direct them on set up and consult with them. We have to. Otherwise your perfectly pre determined schedule will be shot on the wedding day because of a rigamarole of questions from vendors and family about what they should be doing.
A manger fills in the areas of everyone's job when someone falls short. That's why a planner is there. What happens when the caterer's kitchen is in the basement and the food you are paying $100 a plate for is getting cold because there isn't enough servers and it takes the servers too long to get from the dining room to the kitchen and back? A Wedding Manager is there to help address traffic and sometimes help bring the food up to the ballroom so no guest says the wedding was pretty but their food was cold.
What happens when your venue tells you you don't need a sub floor for your outdoor tent in May and it's the rainiest month on record? Your wedding manager consults with you pre wedding to help you reconsider and go through the scenarios or even quickly think of a new plan on wedding day when it's torrential downpour and flooding the tent.
Calling wedding planners that offer a service in the final stages of your wedding is not a "Day of Coordinator". The work happens 2 weeks to 90 days prior to your event and it always has been that way which is why "Wedding Management" is a more aptly named adn new title for the service that gives you peace of mind on the day and the many days in front of it.
Kat Minks CEO of Adore Productions LLC.