An experienced, professional wedding consultant is worth their weight in gold. And then some. Predicting and preventing crises before they happen has always been a part of our “legendary event planning expertise” we offer clients. But perhaps just as important, is our trademark that includes how we make people feel at the end of the event day. This includes our clients, every guest interaction and vendors, too.
We receive inquiries on our services and many are simply looking at price alone. And while we feel we offer significant value for our highly unique professional background and experience, our clients are also paying for our attention to detail in those moments and for those details in which we are not technically contracted. Here are just a few examples of what we (and many professional coordinators) are doing behind the scenes to make your wedding and event a seamless and stress-free affair:
Guest Care and Comfort: I cannot tell you how many times I am asked to get a blanket , shawl or coat for a guest for outdoor weddings. Or to coordinate re-seating them in another area that is warmer or less noise for them. At evening’s end, I make sure any guests who need a taxi have one called; and those guests who have decided to walk back to their nearby hotel? I have personally escorted them out of the event venue onto the correct path and sidewalk to make sure they are started correctly to their accommodations.
Bridal Party Care and Comfort: From last minute stain-removal to sewing tears on seams, sewing on buttons of jackets, polishing shoes with last minute scuffs, using a hair dryer to dry a water mark on a dress, to providing bandaids, First Aid administration and blister aids for tired, hot feet, I have often contemplated getting re-certified in First Aid as well as my current CPR Certification, as this is a skill that is always in need.
Helping Provide a More Gracious Guest Experience and Putting Out Fires Behind The Scenes: Those guests who showed up without an RSVP or those who brought along a few extra friends or family members not on the list? I am working hard with my Assistant and the Caterer to find the most low-key solution to set up a place for them to eat, without bothering the bride and groom or making the unexpected guests feel embarrassed.
Correcting Mistakes Made by the Client: From placecards in the wrong order to mistakes on seating charts,escort cards, the wrong number of favors ordered on planning packages where the client was responsible for these elements, I silently correct the issue as best as I can and find a way to implement a new plan so hardly anyone will notice- all under the tight pressure of other timelined events going on simultaneously that need my attention.
Keeping Vendors on Task: Most of the professionals with whom we work implement exactly what the client has hired them to do; that said, every once in rare while, there is a misunderstanding , error, or more likely, the client has hired an unknown vendor with an unknown reputation and we are forced to deal with mistakes of epic proportion “day of”. In that case, I am almost single-handedly managing this vendor and /or on the phone with their headquarters to get it all right STAT.
Dealing with Challenging Guests & Vendors: Continuing the above point, there is such a thing as the “high maintenance” guest or vendor who either consciously or unconsciously forgets this day is about the client- the bride and groom and their families- and tries to have everyone working for them. For the vendor side, this is generally when a client has hired an unknown or unapproved vendor on their own. Managing them and walking the delicate balance of making sure they have what they need but not allowing them to sabotage the event can be a full time job the day of a wedding.
Playing the Role of The Missing/Non-Responsive Vendor: When a vendor is non-responsive in the pre-event days and I am awaiting a critical answer, I take matters into my own hands to go the extra mile to ensure the event is not left hanging. Example: when a vendor decided last minute he wanted to install his service a full day before the mutually -agreeed-upon schedule put together two weeks before the event date, and I could not reach the Venue Event Manager for approval, I spent half the day chasing the Venue Manager and finally resorted to another manager at the venue not associated with events to coordinate approval with another non-event manager to approve this last minute request. Just the simplest of changes from a vendor caused an extra half day of work and chasing. To not have an immediate answer was not an option. I do whatever it takes to get answers and results.
Personal Safety Risk: All those family frames you wanted displayed on the Family Table? Well, when one (or two or three) break, due to guest negligence, the elements (for outdoor events), and glass shatters everywhere, guess who is picking up the glass shards barehanded , one by one and disposing of them properly until a more appropriate clean up with a broom by catering or venue staff can take place? Did the people you designated to load up your gifts and personal items at evening’s end “no show” for your Coordinator? Chances are he/she singlehandedly lifted heavy boxes and moved items to get the job done him/herself. I have plunged toilets, climbed ladders into unknown dark spaces with spiders, picked up raw garbage and cigarette butts to make the site pristine and much more, all for the sake of getting the job done so my clients don’t have to be bothered with the issue that came up.
Doing a “Favor” For Well-Meaning Family Members or Guests for the Bride and Groom: Guess what? Your bridal party, friends and family adore you (as they should) and everyone wants to make this day as memorable as possible for the bride and groom (including me, as your Coordinator)! But all too often, the special “surprises” that well-intentioned guests want to give the bride and groom often equate to a whole other level of time, service, and labor on my or my staff’s part, pulling us away from our contracted duties (of which we are already doing extras for). If it’s a quick song request or delivery of a special item to the bride and groom at their table, this is simple enough. But asking us if we can decorate an entire vehicle for them, schedule the venue’s staff for a spontaneous (but intense labor-wise) “surprise” , is something that often leaves us in a very awkward position time and labor -wise. If we can do it, we always try and support the mission of well-intentioned guests surprising our clients; however the other issue is if it is dramatically beyond the scope of our duties, do we decline it? Invoice the well-intentioned guest for the extra time beyond our contract (if we have it)? We certainly cannot invoice the client. Nine times out of ten, we do take the time to support any special items asked by guests for the bride and groom and don’t say a word.
Preserving the Integrity of the Event Flow and Food Service & Quality: So your photographer took too long for post-ceremony photographs? Uncle John who is toasting at Cocktail Hour before dinner went on too long? We are behind the scenes plotting with the Catering Manager to try and “recover” dinner timing and find out options for re-doing the rest of your timeline and letting all the other vendors who are affected by this major change know, so they can adjust their services, too.
Etiquette Coaching to the Bridal Party and/or Guests: I am frequently asked by the family or bridal party how to do a toast or speech: what they should say/not say, how long it should be, what is proper protocol for various parts of the wedding, etc.
“Psychiatrist” and “Counselor”: If your Father of the Bride or Bridal Party members are missing or there is a delicate family situation or borderline nervous break-down, I am there to listen, offer suggestions and coach everyone back on track.
Because what a professional wedding coordinator “is” can mean many different types of duties, my contract is very specific and lists every duty I will (and even some I will not) provide to prevent any misunderstanding “day of” and to allow me to deliver the service for which I’m known. That said, even with a contract in place, being in a service industry, I am accustomed to going above and beyond for my clients. And while the above examples are not guarantees of services for future bookings , they are a sampling of the types of service items I (and most wedding coordinators) do and are not paid for, technically, in their contracts. So, if you have hired a professional wedding coordinator, congratulations on a wise choice and make sure you let him/her know how grateful you are for them after your wedding. Chances are they did a few of these (and most likely many more) that you will never know about. It’s all in a day’s work and most of us are proud to have enough integrity and heart to be committed to just getting the job done in a quality way so that our clients don’t have to be bothered and can enjoy the day and celebration of a lifetime.