I can count on all my fingers and all of my toes the number of times a bride has told me that a family member will be handling her wedding. When a bride selects a family member to coordinate the wedding event, it is done with the utmost trust and confidence that the family member would never let the wedding day end in disarray. What most brides and grooms tend to forget is that later they will be sending that same family member an invite to attend as a guest. As a result, that family member will want to be part of the wedding as a guest, and not as a coordinator. Not to say all family members are not qualified but being the coordinator takes away from the experience of the special day.
An interesting fact is that the engaging of the family member as wedding planner/coordinator usually happens only after the bride has seen her estimated out-of-pocket quote for the organization of the wedding. So what is the difference and is it worth a bride spending the money for a wedding planner if she can get it for less or free? On the surface of things, the difference appears obvious.
Unfortunately, the quote that is sent to the bride is masked by a dollar figure and does not show its value until the day of the wedding. Wedding planners/coordinators give the bride and groom, their undivided attention, their personal resources, their knowledge and take care of all those personal and intimate items that cause couples’ to lose sleep and peace of mind. Unlike the family member who is limited in their service, the planner has already thought through the numberless eventualities that may emerge. They are professional – it is what they do every day.
Couples have options. They can secure a wedding planner, who usually has a flat service fee for an ultimate wedding experience package over an extended period of planning. They can choose a wedding coordinator shortly before the big day that coordinates all the vendors creates a timeline and is on site conducting the chaos in a seamlessly ordered manner. The family member will personal obligations to take care of first and, as a result, the chaos may get to the point of the much regretted remark, “You are not paying me for this,” as some wedding expectations fail to materialize.
Wedding planners/coordinators are advocates; they are the last line of defense to ensure the day is as close to flawless as possible. They are not distracted by family politics or differences of opinion; they are dedicated to making the wedding day happen. A perfect example is a destination wedding that may reach beyond the expertise of the family member. Such an event would require a planner expert in the knowledge and relationships with local vendors. Flowers show up wilted. The wedding planner/coordinator has a second florist on speed dial ready to replace a bouquet. This is what the wedding planners/coordinators pride themselves on. They want to be the end all and be all, to ensure the couple and all guests enjoy the evening.
Not having a destination wedding, staying local, but having a separate ceremony site from the reception venue is another example that would leave the private family member challenged. The professionals will hire a second assistant to handle the second site and be in contact with them throughout the day. Wedding planners and coordinators are masters of multitasking it is a skill that makes them successful.
Your special day being a success is what you as the bride is paying for. It is much easier to raise your expectations when you know that the wedding planner / coordinator is a professional. It is not an easy business which rises and falls without apparent warning. It is a question of the planner being as good as the last successful event. It is not the services quote that is important here, it is your peace of mind.