Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day-Of Coordinator Experience

Now, more than ever, brides are realizing that having a professional “Day-Of” Coordinator really helps them to enjoy their wedding day with their friends and family without worrying about vendors arriving on time and knowing where to go, having everything being set-up correctly and how the guests will know where to be, and when as well as keeping the bridal party on time throughout the day.

It is ironic that is called “Day Of” Coordinator because the work actually starts a month before the wedding day. As a professional planner, Hawaii Weddings and Events knows from many years of experience that you just can’t show up on the wedding day and follow a to-do list or a timeline that hasn’t been meticulously reviewed in advance.

So why do we start a month before? Today’s very busy brides are not only planning their wedding, but the majority are going to school, working, relocating or some are mothers. Time goes by VERY quickly especially during the last month so we like get our clients’ finalized contracts, preliminary timeline as well as answers to our own bridal questionnaire form at the one month marker so within a few days we can get back to them with questions, concerns and recommendations and wrap up all details with the exception of final counts by 2 weeks before the wedding day.

Having done over 950 weddings throughout my career, as of today’s date, there has never been a timeline that didn’t need to have some “tweaking” done to it or some “logistic” that wasn’t considered (ie: a charger reduces the number of seats that can fit on your guest table) so you may need to change your seating assignment, go with larger table (if possible) or sometimes eliminate the charger.
How long it takes to do things and how to handle “different” situations is what can only come with hands-on experience and is what I teach to everyone that I’ve trained throughout the years.

Knowing that the hair and make-up stylist is going to want to have your hair flowers there at 1pm when you have your florist scheduled at 2pm is another very common occurrence. It sounds like a quick fix, just have the florist come at 1pm, but it doesn’t always work out that way, either the florist isn’t available earlier, or would charge an additional fee, so hair flowers may need to be picked up in advance which takes advance planning.

Knowing how long it takes to serve a 4 course plated menu and merging your program into the timeline so that your food is at the best quality and you also accomplish your goals only comes with experience.

Another great example of what comes with experience and education is that I once had a client that at the last minute decided to make favors for their guests. They gave me their favors (which were macadamia nuts in organza bags) on their wedding day and said two of their guests were highly allergic to macadamia nuts so they should get the two different ones. With that being said, and the fact they had open seating, I communicated that in this particular case the favors would be distributed once guests were seated as I didn’t want to risk the macadamia nut oil seeping through the organza bag which was fine with the couple.

Knowing to set the favors later was the easy part, knowing from experience and continued education in food handling, I know how critical it is to deal with any allergies and the potential for cross contamination, so I immediately contacted the banquet captain as they had forgotten that the first course of their menu was a tossed green salad that was sprinkled with macadamia nuts.

We had a different salad prepared (it’s not just a matter of taking the nuts off) for their guests and I mentioned it to the couple later in the evening and they said “thank you so much, we completely forgot about that, we could have killed them!”

I told this story to a groom’s mother who was inquiring about my experience she said “oh my God, did anyone ever tell you the groom is highly allergic to shellfish and peanuts?” I told her no, but I will note it in my file and make sure it is communicated to the caterer and again to the banquet staff on the wedding day and it was.

So, the moral of the story is that when you are considering hiring a “Day Of” coordinator look at the value, experience level and caliber of service you are going to receive, aren’t you worth it?

1 comment:

Marino - Ninja Entertainment said...

I totally agree. Planning a wedding is stressful in itself, but having a professional coordinator there to guide a bride through the preparation and run-up to the big day is always good. After all, a professional coordinator can certainly catch the small details that may go overlooked, allowing the bride to simply enjoy her wedding day without the fear and stress.

One thing that you briefly touched on and I would like to expand on is how you help make it easier for the other wedding vendors! By being the "producer" of the event, you ensure that the florist, photographer, videographer, music, and Certified Professional Master of Ceremonies are all on the same page and following the same "script," allowing everyone to focus on their roles and give the bride a more stress-free presentation. Having worked with Dianna on several events last year, it was easier to perform at those events compared to others that didn't have a professional coordinator because Dianna had organized all of the elements of the production beforehand, allowing me to focus on my performance and give the newlyweds a celebration to remember!