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What does an On-the-Day Wedding Coordinator actually DO?

If you've stumbled upon this little corner of the internet, you're probably in the throes of wedding planning and, importantly, beginning to wonder if you might just need a helping hand on your big day. Well, I'm here to say you (probably) do and to give you a run-down of exactly what a wedding day coordinator gets up to behind the scenes whilst you are relaxing, celebrating and enjoying that glorious wedding of yours.

So, what exactly does an 'on the day' wedding coordinator do? And why should you be factoring one into your budget from day dot?

Wedding Planner Foil Events LTD
A planner, with a plan. Having a coordinator means having an expert from start to finish.

First up, 'On-the-Day' shouldn't be taken too literally, and if you ever do stumble upon a wedding planner claiming they can just 'turn up': run. Instead it's an easy way to say that you'll have a wedding expert on hand for anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months in the lead up to your celebration; during that time it'll give them a chance to get to know your suppliers, give you some essential guidance on timeline snags (see my post here on that can of worms!) as well as beginning to compile some form of working document which can include vendor details, timings, access information and beyond.

Basically, it's the sweet spot between having a wedding planner involved full-time, from much further out (useful if you have zero time and lots more to spend) or deciding you and/or an enthusiastic wedding party member will manage running the day yourselves (useful if you want to give yourself/ said enthusiastic helper an aneurysm).

Leave the logistics to someone else, so you can enjoy getting gorgeous.

Once they've helped you navigate the build-up, an on-the-day wedding Coordinator is then there for the most important part: The day itself! Services can be flexible, with some wedding planners offering set-up right on through to take down whilst others offer their time for set 'chunks' of time during the day; below I've outlined a couple of the main offerings you'll come across:

Set-up/ Venue Dressing: Pretty much does what it says on the tin, some coordinators will offer this as a single service, being on-hand for morning deliveries, rigging, table laying and general decor. This is normally really handy if you have a big space to decorate and the venue will only let you in on the day itself to do everything! This is also good if your day is otherwise very low-key and your venue can handle running it (more on this later). Having a planner on-site for set up is one of the most overlooked elements by couples; often there are lots of people offering their services to lend a hand (which is great) but at every wedding I've set up so far, the helpers are always relieved to have someone with a strategy, realistic expectations on timings and a kit full of handy tools to get everything up and out on time.

Marquee wedding with flowers
Knock-out Set-up guaranteed. A wedding coordinator will get your venue looking perfect.

Management/ Coordination of the day: The main event, from ceremony to first dance (some go longer if you need them) your wedding planner should be there to keep things ticking over; one of the main questions I get asked is how I keep things running on time.

Honestly? I don't.

Weddings NEVER run perfectly to an up-to-the-minute schedule, but a solid gold wedding coordinator *ahem* will know where and how to make up time if things run over, smooth over any changes and keep all of your suppliers in the loop so neither you, nor your guests, will even notice. On the subject of guests, another key role for a wedding coordinator is to be a helpful point of contact for anyone in need on the day, from microphones for speeches right on through to safety pins for broken bra straps (true story), they'll be the eyes and ears of the day to help out whenever needed.

Wedding canapés
Your coordinator and caterer can work in harmony to keep the food flowing on time.

Take Down: The benefits are much the same as the set-up services, except now all of your willing helpers have drunk their fill of wine and tequila shots and so are doubly as enthusiastic (unless already in a taxi) but sadly, to put it bluntly, half as capable. Enter: The Wedding Coordinator, who should be able to work alongside your caterer/ any other suppliers still on-site to get everything cleared away, thrown out or boxed up ready for collection the next day. Again, this is incredibly helpful if you have a short turn-around time with your venue but also means you don't have to traipse around with a litter picker the day after, when you should be recovering from all the fun!

'But our wedding venue has a venue manager!' I hear you cry... Well, this is where couples can often come unstuck and is exactly why it's good to know what a wedding coordinator can bring to the party vs. a wedding venue manager.

Venue managers are, more often than not, your point of contact in the lead-up to your day, dealing with show-rounds, asking venue-related questions and possibly even advising you on timings. The key thing to establish with your venue, however, is what their role will be on the wedding day itself. Typically, a venue manager will be onsite for emergencies, unlocking / locking up and general queries but they will not step in and run your wedding day! Make sure you triple-check roles and get in touch if your expectations aren't quite being met.

Bride wedding ceremony wedding planner
Keeping timings on-track means keeping you and your guests happy!

Last, but definitely not least, is something I always tell my couples and something they'll always attest to afterwards: An OTD Coordinator should be your very own 'Stress Sponge', there to soak up any worries and ensure you can relax. One of the things I love the most about my job is knowing that I can deflect a huge amount of pressure and unnecessary hassle away from my clients; small issues that may arise during the day can be dealt with discreetly, all of the suppliers on-site have someone to give them a hand (and make sure they get fed - another essential!) plus there's a constant from start to finish, someone who's friendly, quick-thinking and 100% on it.

Don't just take my word for it!

"While Kate was our day-of coordinator, she supported us from the first time we spoke to her... We were both quite surprised with how much value she added to our wedding well in advance. My husband was skeptical about the need for a wedding coordinator. His view now is that Kate was the best money we spent on the wedding." - Christina, Marquee Wedding.

Want to find out why couples have been trusting us with their weddings for over 7 years? Click here to see how I run our OTD Coordination service at Foil! You can also sign up to my quarterly newsletter for lots of wedding planning advice and exclusive wedding planning tools!

Love, Kate x


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