Always be prepared. Isn’t that the boy scout motto? I’ve never been a boy scout, but still think its a great saying to live by.

Picture this: it’s your wedding day. You are waiting for the ceremony to start. As a groom, you’re preparing to walk to the front of the ceremony site where you will wait for the love of your life. As a bride, you are standing with your father preparing to walk down the aisle. There’s just one problem though. When does the bride walk? Is it after the groom makes his entrance? Is it when the DJ begins playing your song? But who cues the DJ? Then you start to panic because you can’t remember if you gave your rings to your maid of honor. Before this becomes a scroll of anxiety provoking questions, I wanted to reassure you that this can all be remedied.

I’m a Type A who plans every part of my day while consuming enough coffee to keep me awake for a week. I extensively planned our wedding, but as I got down to the logistics, I began asking the questions mentioned above.

I didn’t want to be the coordinator during the rehearsal or the wedding day, and wanted to have a liaison between my vision and the execution of the wedding. Patrick and I decided to have a day-of Coordinator for our wedding and it was a great decision. Not only did I worry about absolutely nothing on the day-of, but I had someone who fielded everyone’s questions and kept the day running smoothly.

My top reasons for having a Day-Of-Coordinator:
Someone to tell my wedding party, and Patrick and I when to walk down the aisle
Someone to cue the DJ
Someone to set up on the morning of
Someone to coordinate as vendors arrived to set up
Someone to guide guests into cocktail hour and into the reception hall
Someone to coordinate the wedding party reception entrances
Someone to pass the mic around for the reception (i.e. prayer, speeches)
Someone to coordinate the sequence of events with the DJ
Someone to stay on the timeline to fit all of our reception activities in (I.e. cake, or in our case, donut eating)
Someone to set up our smores bar outside
Someone to assist with teardown and gather rental items for vendor pick-up

Emily of Stewart Weddings was my girl. She went over and above, attending a site visit as well as coordinated the rehearsal, and wedding day. I had a relaxing, enjoyable wedding day and could not have imagined the day without her.

Maybe you’re still on the fence about having a planner, and I totally get it. Let me give you some ideas of areas that you as a couple will cover as you plan your wedding; see if you’re good with handling these on your own or if you want to hand it over to someone else.

Do you want to:
Create and manage your wedding budget?
Search for and be the primary contact for all vendors?
Attend all vendor meetings and site visits?
Negotiate and manage vendor contracts?
Create, manage, and coordinate the timeline for all vendors?
– This can include delivery and pick-up of all items
Create, manage, and coordinate all timelines for bridal party?
Design your wedding vision and cast it to all vendors?
– This includes room design, seating arrangements, and meal planning
Manage deadline checklists to ensure you are on schedule?
Ensure all vendors are paid on the wedding day?
Set-up and coordination of all décor?
Coordinate the rehearsal?
Coordinate the break-down of the rehearsal and ceremony?
Be the primary contact for all vendor and general wedding questions?

If your answer is “um, no” to any of those, having some form of a wedding coordinator is essential. Whether it’s a relative, day-of coordinator, or full-event coordination service, you can select the service based on the amount of involvement you would like to have. I’m a control freak who wanted to coordinate everything, including decorations and color-coded task assignments (you can judge me slightly). Some people don’t want to have to worry about any of that, and I do not blame you. Know your limits and find someone who meets your requirements.

I always give my couples a timeline of their wedding day. I also talk with the venue, coordinator, or any person who assists with the day of. I want to ensure my couples have a relaxing, documented day with images they’ll love, and a day they can savor; careful preparation will always accomplish this.

If you don’t know where to turn from here, first, look toward your venue. Some venues have on-site coordinators who have a list of preferred vendors and can easily offer recommendations to complete your vision. If not, you can always search for wedding planners in your area and have free consultations to see if they’re a good fit for you. You’ll be working closely with your coordinator, so you’ll want to make sure that you get along, and that they get your vision, easing your mind in this process. The whole point of having a coordinator is to give you less to worry about, so make sure that they’re decreasing, and not increasing, your blood pressure. Best of luck and happy planning!

Photos by the amazing Kelsey Nelson Photography