A Day of Coordinator, because you don’t know what you don’t know!
Before we dive in, let’s distinguish the difference between a day of coordinator and a wedding planner. I would describe a wedding planner as a person who will help make all your Pinterest dreams come true (assuming you can afford them!) They will help you plan your event from start to finish, and will often accompany you to all your vendor meetings. Some planners even have discounts with certain vendors.
Day of Coordinators on the other hand are the glue that help put everything together on the … wait for it … “Day Of”! Many of our couples who have used day of coordinators want to do the vendor research themselves, but once they have their wedding super team assembled, they want a coach. A day of coordinator has that veteran presence that can make sure all the vendors work together in harmony.
To give us more insight on day of coordination, we brought in Bre from Breisfun.com to educate us!
During the wedding of our clients Sara and Joel, we had the pleasure to meet Bre. She was their day of coordinator and the hero that made everything happen!
“That’s me – Bre! I’m a Minneapolis-based wedding and event planner, specializing in day of wedding coordination. I delight in curating fun and memorable experiences, and I believe there’s always a way to bring a great idea to life. Let’s get this party started!”
“I had an interest in planning events since I was a young kid. I would start planning my childhood birthday parties months in advance, writing out the guest list, brainstorming games we would play and deciding what snacks we would have. These were not elaborate celebrations by any means — just your standard birthday slumber party — but the act of putting it all together in advance was so fulfilling to me as a kiddo.
I got my first real taste of event planning when I was in college and began working for the Student Activities Center, managing a late night campus events program. We hosted events 2-3 nights per week, including concerts, game shows, craft nights and tournaments. It was SO exciting to come up with a new idea, bring it to life and then see people attend and have a great time at the event.
Post-college, the jobs I held often had an event aspect to them and I gained even more great experience with event decor, collegiate ceremonies, meeting planning, entertainment management and more — but nothing ever came close to how much fun that first job I had in college was so I kept searching.
Eventually, I came upon a summer in my mid-twenties (you know the one), where I was invited to 13 weddings. Many of those friends said to me, “Hey Bre – you know events, and a wedding is an event, so you can help me!” and that’s where I got started as a day-of wedding coordinator. Through those volunteer experiences, I learned that I really loved helping out on a wedding day and providing everyone in the wedding the freedom to relax and enjoy the day, worry-free. From there, I started working to move into wedding coordination, full-time and haven’t looked back since.”
Q1: Why choose a day of coordinator?
“A day-of coordinator is the key to being fully present on your wedding day and being able to truly enjoy every moment. You and all of your favorite people get to experience the fun, the emotion and the joy — without having to work for it.”
They help you see the singular vision that is the entirety of your wedding. They make sure you get the day you wanted and planned for.
“A day-of coordinator is so much more than just day-of. From the date a couple books with me, they can reach out with questions throughout their planning process. We dive into planning together at two months out from the wedding date and start building a robust timeline. It’s like taking all of the puzzle pieces of what a couple has planned and the experiences they want to have and making it all fit together. In doing so, we identify the decisions that are yet to be made and ensure that no detail is missed. The biggest fear I hear from all of the couples I get to work with is, “What if we forgot something??” I’m here to help!
On the wedding day, I am there for 12 hours to manage the timing and flow. This is a big, dang deal. There are so many details, decisions, judgment calls and direction involved in facilitating an amazing, fun, and enjoyable wedding day. It is invaluable to have someone with experience and enthusiasm to care for this for you. This includes vendor management, decor setup, facilitating the wedding ceremony, managing the flow of guests, coordinating with entertainment, and assisting the couple, their wedding party and their family throughout the day to ensure everyone is having a blast. The goal is that everyone feels worry-free and can enjoy the day to its fullest, without having to step away from important moments to provide direction or delegate.”
It shouldn’t be your mom/friend/an A type uncle that has to pay attention to all the details of your day, and it should definitely not be you! You’ve done the work, made the plans – the day of the wedding should be all about enjoying your wedding. A day of coordinator thinks of things ahead of time, that way on the day of, you don’t have to negotiate timing.
Q2: What does a quality coordinator look like?
If a day of coordinator is doing their job well, you get to stay in the moment, in your wedding with no worry over the details. Coordinators are able to have a contingency plan. They make sure all the vendors work together as a team!
Q3: What does this mean for your photographer?
As photographers, we like working with coordinators because they help us harmonize with other vendors. What does that mean? It means silly things like making sure we have the chance to grab a bite to eat. Pro-tip: You want to feed your photographer right after the main table. That way they can inhale their food and be ready for the speeches that are coming up soon! Not having to worry about what other vendors are doing (timing things with the DJ, for example) allows us to stay in a creative mindset instead having to manage or coordinate.
Q4: When should you book your day of coordinator?
Some people wait until their primary vendor team is set or maybe they tried to do it all themselves and realized they bit off more than they could chew. Now they want someone to take over.
It can be a huge help to book a day of coordinator in the beginning of the process. They create a close personal relationship with you and can guide you when making decisions. A coordinator typically has a good network of vendors, knows good value, and knows where to find efficiencies.
Q5: How does Bre approach the process of coordination?
- “From the point of booking, a couple can always reach out to me with questions. I’m a full-time wedding coordinator so I am here as a resource for all of my clients.
- We dive into planning at 2 months out from the wedding date. This is where couples fill me in on everything they’ve planned, and I ask a whole bunch of questions to identify what hasn’t been finalized yet. This ensures no detail is forgotten and that every part of the day is well thought out. We do this over 3 planning meetings together.
- In the 2 weeks leading up to the wedding day, I reach out to everyone who is one the wedding day team (including the photographers!) and ensure we are all on the same page about the plan for the day. This ensures that all loose ends are tied up and that there are no surprises on the wedding day!
- On the wedding day, I usually start my day when the venue opens — ready to make magic happen for 12 glorious hours!”
Q6: How can Photographers help coordinators?
Coming up with their own parallel photography timeline can be super helpful. This can help Bre make sure the other vendors fall in line with the creative plan. It’s also helpful when photographers are willing to make things work for the couple, and of course open communication on the wedding day is key! For example, if you plan to sneak off with us to catch some stunning sunset shots, we want to let her know when you’re coming back to the party. Photographers should also stick to the times they gave to Bre as best we can. If she is off setting everything else up and we’re 45 minutes late, it could delay dinner! Imagine 200 hungry people looking at Bre – that’s a tough situation, and one that a little professional respect between all parties can easily prevent.
Q7: What do you love about the work you do?
“My greatest joy comes from curating an experience that allows people the freedom to have fun. On a wedding day, there is so much joy to experience! As a wedding coordinator, I help make that available by taking away the worry during our pre-planning together, doing all the things on the wedding day to facilitate a ceremony and celebration that flows naturally, and tackling any unexpected surprises along the way.
The celebration of a marriage is SO FREAKING COOL — I feel so happy and fulfilled when I can help make that experience extra awesome for everyone involved.”
Q8: What’s your secret for staying calm under pressure, and how do you deal with day-of disasters?
“Good question! Experience has been a building block for maintaining a calm presence and tackling any unexpected surprises. After coordinating 100+ weddings, I can’t say that I’ve seen it all, but I have seen A LOT. I’ve noticed how my own calm presence can help others feel at ease, so I maintain that as a priority throughout the entire day. I also do a lot of pre-planning with my clients to ensure the probability of a “day-of disaster” is extremely low, and that we have a back-up plan for uncertain variables, like the weather.”
You don’t know what you don’t know!
These are a few pieces of coordinator-wisdom Bre bestowed upon us, including some you might not find in the typical wedding checklist:
- Find 10 minutes during the day to just be with each other.
- Stay true to yourself! You’ll receive lots of ideas from friends, family and good ol’ Pinterest, but be sure to do what’s right for you!
- Seating charts and escort cards are often made in the last couple weeks before the wedding. Save some time for yourself to do that.
- Song selection for the important moments throughout the day often take time — especially for parent dances. Start early!
- The ceremony and the dinner are two of the most important moments to have happen right on time during the wedding day. All others can flex slightly based on your needs throughout the day.
- Make sure to plan enough time for clean-up at the end of the day. Many venues have strict end times for your rental period, and it usually takes an hour for full tear-down and clean-up before that time.
- Check out Bre’s ten reason blog for even more reasons to include a day of coordinator!
Special shout out to Sara and Joel for having such a fun wedding!
P.S. Their adventure session was pretty cool too if you want to take a peek!