Videographers, photographers, florists, caterers, bands… You have so many vendors to consider when planning a wedding. Decision making can be overwhelming. Our top suggestion is to hire a wedding coordinator. As you start planning, you’ll find it’s nearly impossible to do everything by yourself. You can’t get ready for the day and ensure wedding prep is going smoothly simultaneously. That’s one of many areas where a coordinator comes in handy!
So, how exactly will a coordinator serve you? Is it really necessary to hire a wedding coordinator? And is a coordinator the same thing as a planner? To answer those questions, we talked with Megan Mark (Events by Eva). Megan is a beloved former Howe Farms bride and current wedding planner & coordinator. You will love hearing her perspective as both a coordinator and a bride.
Before wedding planning, Megan worked in the music industry. She focused on planning events such as music festivals and tours. Even before her own marriage, she knew she wanted to tailor her event experience to weddings. During her engagement, Megan began fine-tuning plans for her wedding planning business. Megan and her husband, Zac, were married in our Apple Barn in October 2019. Since then, she has coordinated eight Howe Farms weddings. When couples hire Megan, we know they are in great hands. We are excited to share her valuable insight with you!
From Bride to Coordinator
As a bride, Megan consulted a planner before booking any vendors. However, she realized she wanted to manage most of the planning by herself. So, Megan decided to hire the planner for day-of coordination only. Two elements were key to Megan’s decision: style and trust. She loved her coordinator’s style and trusted her to make strong decisions on the day of the wedding. “I had a great experience with my coordinator,” Megan raved. “Now I strive to treat every couple’s wedding as if it were my own.”
Megan loves the planning process and shares in her couples’ excitement about the wedding day. She values being available to her clients when they need her. Her overall intention is to keep the wedding planning process fun. As a recent bride, Megan has a special connection with couples. She empathizes with them and understands every element of engagement and planning.
The Coordinator’s Role
Every wedding has many moving parts. A coordinator oversees much of that movement so you don’t have to! When you hire a wedding coordinator, you’re hiring someone who knows everything that needs to be accomplished on your special day. Not only that, but a coordinator has the tools and knowledge to make sure everything is accomplished flawlessly.
Basic coordinator responsibilities:
- Finalize seating layout
- Advise on ceremony start time & reception end time
- Create lists for processional, recessional, and grand entrance
- Organize the timeline
- Make sure vendors arrive on time and stay on schedule
- Check in when vendors don’t show up
- Setup and teardown
- Run the rehearsal
- Communicate with the DJ or band
- Solve problems
- Maneuver activities and adjust the schedule as needed on the day
- Stay from the very beginning until the very end of the day
- Develop rain plans
Some of Megan’s memorable moments include hemming dresses, replacing light bulbs, and finding solutions for broken shoes!
Planning vs Coordination
When you search for a coordinator, you’ll see many options. Some vendors offer full planning services, while others offer partial planning. This may lead you to ask whether a planner and a coordinator are the same. Though people often use these terms interchangeably, there is a clear difference between the two. Megan helped us break down the three types of services she offers: coordination, partial planning, and full planning.
Coordination typically starts eight weeks before the wedding. It mostly consists of finalizing little details. We’ve shared most of the things your coordinator will do on the day of your wedding. Apart from those wedding day logistics, a coordinator might help answer questions you have along the way, such as vendor recommendations.
Partial planning involves help with budget management and in-person meetings. Megan starts conversations with up to 4-5 vendors for partial planning clients.
Full planning takes partial planning a step further. A full planner helps you execute your vision and design for your wedding day. He or she will help you with the entire planning process, not just on the big day. Throughout the process, your planner can be as hands-off or hands-on as you want. Many clients hire planners when they need insight into what they are booking.
- The process of booking and planning
- Wisely investing your budget
- Deciding what you want
- Analyzing what you’re booking
If you want a beautiful wedding but don’t know how to execute it, a planner can make it happen. Planners are also helpful for destination weddings. If you won’t be able to do much in-person planning, consider hiring a local planner to help you bring your dream wedding to life.
Key Benefits of Hiring a Coordinator
“Brides sometimes book with me because they start feeling overwhelmed right in the month of their wedding, anticipating what the day will consist of,” Megan mentioned during her interview. A coordinator helps alleviate stress; you no longer have to worry about things going wrong behind the scenes. When you hire a coordinator, you also have help with the labor that goes into your wedding day. Furthermore, a professional wedding coordinator knows exactly what needs to be done to help the day run smoothly. Knowledge stems from experience in planning countless special days.
Megan’s Advice to Brides
“Before you dive in and start booking, take a step back, slow down, and look at everything that needs to be achieved. Next, prioritize and invest in what’s important to you,” Megan advised. When hiring anyone, get a good understanding of what is included and a full description of that vendor’s services. Sometimes you might think a vendor is responsible for something that’s not actually included in their services. For example, some may think a coordinator will arrange flowers on their cake. However, the cake artist places them. Megan also cautioned that some vendors may offer limited hours although you may need them for a longer portion of the day. Make sure you know what a vendor is committed to. If you hire a coordinator, ask their advice, and consult with them if they’re willing. A coordinator is a great resource.
We know wedding planning is full of tough decisions. Our goal is to help make the process easier for you when we can. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the weight of it all, we highly encourage you to hire a wedding coordinator. More than anything, we want you to have the day of your dreams. Remember, you’re marrying the love of your life… and that’s what really matters.
If you would like to learn more about Megan and her services, visit her website.
Megan’s Wedding Vendors
Photos | Savannah Le Photo
Venue | The Apple Barn at Howe Farms
Coordinator | Elizabeth Events
Caterer | Catering Connection
Bartender | Black Tie
Cake | Blue Willow
Florist | Blue Thistle
Decor | The Copper Quail
Videographer | Michale Kessler
DJ | Exemplar Audio
Minister | Chris Rouse
Dress | Our Story Bridal & BHLDN
Bridesmaids Dresses | Etsy
Tux | Tie Bar, Kohls, H&M, Etsy
Hair | Caitlyn Davis
Makeup | Bride
All featured photos on this blog post are courtesy of Savannah Le Photo.