A Planner for the Planless: All About Hiring a Wedding Coordinator | Memphis Tennessee Wedding Photographer
Picture this… the DJ announces the cake cutting and your photographer is in the other room because your uncle Bob dragged the photographer in there to get photos of cousin Jane & Jacob. The photographer has no idea this is going on. What do you do?!
This is a perfect scenario where a planner/coordinator comes in handy!
First things first, Let's get one thing straight... Having a wedding planner is not just for the rich and bougie, it can be affordable and at the end of the day, you are able to ENJOY the process of planning your wedding, relief you're not forgetting anything, and knowing someone has your back on that big day!
let's hash out some names and their job details and how they differ.
Venue Coordinator: They handle THE VENUE, not your vendors, not your timeline, not your personal items. They handle their side of the equation and make sure the venue has what you need for your big day. These are crucial, amazing vendors, but they aren't your wedding coordinator. They can set up your tables and chairs, they turn the lights on, they help if anything goes wrong, but their job is to make sure that anything you need dealing with the venue is taken care of for your wedding. * There are some that double as a day of coordinator but not many do.
Day of Coordinator/Month of Coordinator/Wedding Day Manager: They let you plan your wedding (for the most part) and most come in throughout the process to check on you and leave communication lines open so if you have any questions you know who to contact. They do timelines, floor layouts, vendor management, they are the point of contact on the day of, contract negotiation, fluff dresses, carry an emergency bag the Navy Seals would be proud of, and overall just make sure you can enjoy your day!
Partial or Full Wedding Planner: This is more hands-on; not every planner does full planning either. It's a lot of work. But these lovely people do EVERYTHING the coordinator/manager does, plus help with budgets, vendor meetings, hotel blocks, invitation management, guest list count, seating arrangements etc. An especially busy bride may want someone like this-- it can save you so much time and money. "SAVE ME MONEY?!?!" You may ask? YES! They work with vendors all day, everyday that try to give them the best prices to pass onto you! They want your wedding to be as amazing as it can be with the best people possible. Having a planner who knows other vendors and where to get the items you need makes ALL the difference!
Wedding Designer: These planners help you pick out linens, silverware, candles, stationery, cake designs, etc. Many planners say this is their favorite part! Most of these folks have a background in some sort of design or decorating (and not all coordinators/planners offer this). They make sure your wedding is one for the magazines by the end. They want it to flow and have an overall feel that screams YOU.
Wedding Florist/Floral Designer/Floral Curator: This isn't really in the exact same realm but I'm throwing it in because it's more and more common that the two are within one company. This goes along with the wedding designer. They make sure the flowers coordinate well with the stationary, the cake, and the table cloths. They want it all to come together to be one amazing overall design and feel. Many also offer rentals with this so that you don't have to go around individually to pull every single aspect. They try to be a one-stop shop.
NOW THAT WE HAVE THAT STRAIGHT...
There are many wedding planners in Memphis,
and I asked a few to weigh in with their thoughts!
"Why is it important
to hire a wedding planner?"
“You are spending thousands of dollars on a photographer, caterer, cake, DJ, makeup/hair, venue, etc. A planner/coordinator becomes the common thread between them all. We are the team captain, the stage manager, and Operations Officer of your wedding. We create a flow for your day, communicate with every vendor to ensure that we are all on the same page, that the logistics make sense and that you have someone that has your best interest at heart and knows your wants and needs for the day so that you can enjoy it! If you don't appoint someone a close family or friend ends up in this position and it doesn't always end well. This person generally hasn't seen 100 events from start to finish, and doesn't know the million ways something could go wrong and how to tackle it from the get go. Have someone on your team that you vibe with that you know will make sure your day comes to life.” - Kelsey Connor of Connor & Co.
"Just a few of the million things we think about….that a bride probably hasn’t considered: How many breaks will your band require? Does your DJ have a lapel mic for your minister? Who is providing the cake stand? Will the linens be on the tables before the florist arrives with your centerpieces? Who is bringing the ice? Who cleans up at the end of the night? I think many brides today get caught up in wanting to DIY and Pinterest themselves silly that they forget about simple things like having a mic for the minister." - Kathleen Davenport with Pineapple Processions
"Hiring a wedding planner can seem like a crazy idea, especially when you look at the line item cost it can take from your budget. Here at TCB we work hard to recoup couples the entire cost of hiring us, by using our industry knowledge and years of relationships to not only negotiate deals with vendors, but to ensure the quality custom service you deserve on your special day. We don’t want to just plan a party, we want to take care of your spirit and put your mind at ease while you get to enjoy this major life cycle moment. We want you to have the time and space to look around, take deep breaths, and soak in all the love that will surround you on the best day of your life to date!!" - Anna Katherine Colomb with TCBnCo
“The biggest advantage to hiring a planner is that you are able to enjoy the planning process vs. dreading it. So many couples begin the planning process already stressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated because they think they know what they want. Unfortunately, they may not know how to ask for it correctly or may not have a realistic expectation of the fees associated with what they have envisioned. A "perfect" planner may not be able to provide a couple with everything they've "dreamed" of, but a great planner will be able to provide suggestions and alternatives that allow the couple to still have the most important components of their day! The most vitally important aspect that a planner is able to provide, is that he/she, allows you to be fully present on your big day. Instead of having to answer questions for guests & vendors, call an uber for that one bridesmaid who doesn't get out much, or re-frost a melting cake; the couple and their family are able to make memories vs. having to make decisions. Whether you've planned your special day in 2 months or 2 years, you've earned it. You've earned the chance to sit back and take in every second and every detail as you begin your happily ever after.” - Natalie Chrestman from 117 Events
From a bride’s perspective:
Vania + Daniel hired a planner (Connor & Co) for their big day and I asked Vania to share her thoughts on the subject! “I planned to be a DIY bride, but the amount of stress that comes with that title robbed me of the joys that come with wedding planning. This is a day most of us have dreamed of since our childhood, and if there is ever a day for everything to be perfect- this is it. So I broke, and I hired a wedding planner because I decided that I deserved the small and intimate wedding of my dreams. My word of advice, hire the planner. It makes the whole process a lot less stressful, you get to have more fun, and the big day is everything you could have ever wished for. Do yourself the favor of having someone by your side that will listen to you rant, plan the most beautiful decorations, listen to your wants and needs, and hide all the things that will go wrong at your wedding.”
I try to stress to my clients how important it is to hire a coordinator. Just having a day of coordinator can be SUCH a huge help. Sometimes as a photographer, I have to double my job and also act as a coordinator because there isn't one. Yes, photographers decide when what photos will be taken, but that's basically making the timeline and coordinators/planners are a huge help when it comes to timelines! Just like Kathleen said, there are so many things couples don't think about! Asking a friend or family member to help out and 'coordinate' the day really doesn't cut it, unfortunately! Planners do this professionally for a living. It will alleviate SO much stress. I wrote this blog because, real talk, I get spread thin super easily at weddings with no coordinator. Your vendors will thank you ESPECIALLY your photographer!
Can you imagine spending thousands of dollars on your wedding and not having someone to MANAGE these vendors?
Don’t get overwhelmed, save yourself and your sanity!