WHEN TO USE A WEDDING COORDINATOR
By Myrna E Javier, Regional Manager, Lamar Wedding Center Dallas
So many couples ask the question after getting engaged: “should we plan our own wedding or should we hire a professional wedding planner?” After all, it’s a very important, if not THE most important event of their lives. There are several advantages and disadvantages to hiring a (wedding planner, wedding consultant, event planner or wedding coordinator). They are out there to assist in planning your wedding, whether it’s months away or just around the corner. Okay, so anyone can help you plan your wedding ( a sister, a cousin or a friend). But one advantage to hiring a professional certified wedding planner is the experience they have. A wedding planner with no experience is better off not attending at all. “ In my 22 plus years as a photographer and 5 years as a wedding Officiant, I have worked with many. Some contact me prior to go over logistics while others I have regrettably met the day of… In my opinion, this creates a potential wedding disaster. If the vendors are not contacted to go over the timeline, then chaos occurs and stresses not only the bride but the very people they hired to capture the memories of the most important day of their lives! ” An experienced planner can accomplish all of this while also meeting your budget,” says Rita Lamar, founder of the Wedding Center.
Some will already have connections with caterers, photographers, DJ’s etc. Planners who have not achieved their certification can and will turn a perfectly good day completely upside down, simply by not doing their research. .. The planners that I’ve recommend and work with, actually do most or all of the leg work and allow the bride and groom more time to sit back and relax prior to and during the wedding. The wedding planner does the leg work of ensuring that everything is organized and executed the way the bride and groom want and at the same time, works with vendors to make sure all their special requests are met. This includes requested images, music, video interviews and more. Timing is key. A wedding can easily go into overtime if it is not planned out properly. We suggest an hour prior to ceremony for photos of the bride preparing, and we try and catch the family portraits right after the ceremony. I have a word or two for coordinators that allow the receiving line to last 40 minutes.. (GRRR)
Someone who has a handle on things can troubleshoot emergencies and unexpected events during the entire wedding process. This in itself can really take a lot of stress out of planning every aspect of the wedding.
Since hiring a professional wedding planner can be expensive, some companies actually have modest fees. Lamar Wedding Center for example charges 250.00 and includes reading over contracts and obtaining necessary insurances. Some charge by the hour, others by packaged fees and yet others charge by percentages of every service or vendor. This can run to over $1K. And why shouldn’t it.. after all, don’t most coordinators collect some sort of commission? Most do have free consultations however. Trust me, the cost of a wedding itself is worth the time and effort to check on reviews from past clients or business referrals before hiring an uncoordinated coordinator.
When all is said and done, the only thing that matters (besides a fantastic party) is not going over budget. The discounts and great wedding deals gained from having a certified professional planner will even out the cost in the end. But it is a decision a bride and groom have to make. Congratulations to all engaged to be married!!