"Day-of" coordination. What is it? Many brides call or email me, asking for this service. The TRUTH is it doesn't exist.Then why do so many brides want it? Where did this term come from? The term was introduced and perpetuated by wedding publications and blogs.
They've convinced the bride that they can plan their own wedding and simply bring in a coordinator to handle things for them on the wedding day. Jumping on that bandwagon were newer, inexperienced planners who wanted to build up a portfolio. So along came the $500 "day-of" coordinators.
Let's break it down shall we? You can expect your c-oordinator to work, at the very least, 10 hours on the wedding day. Established planners charge anywhere from $50 an hour to $100 an hour.
10 Hours X $50 = $500
That sounds accurate, right?
*We're basing this exercise on $50 an hour. Planners charge different rates based on experience and region.
Now let me explain the difference between the EXPERIENCED PLANNER and the $500 PLANNER.
EXPERIENCED PLANNER: They've been in the business for years, can identify every single problem before the wedding day arrives. Their experience allows them to manage 10 to 15 vendors prior to and on the wedding day. The experienced planner is also calm and resourceful, which allows them to problem-solve when things turn bad.They have an extensive vendor list that they can turn to if one your vendors has to be fired and a replacement needs to be found FAST. They has extensive knowledge in floor plans and timelines. Another advantage the experienced planner carries is insurance, which is required by almost all venues. The experienced planner can charge anywhere from $50 to $100 an hour for their expertise. On your wedding day, you can expect that your planner will work at least 10 hours.
$500 PLANNER: He or she is most likely new to the business. Their list of vendors is minimal, if at all. They have very few weddings under their belt, which means they doesn't have much experience. Because of that inexperience, they may not be able to direct a large number of vendors requiring their leadership. Their knowledge of contracts and timelines is minimal. They may not have the insurance required by your venue. The "Day-of" planner charges $500.
Here is where it gets interesting. In order to be present at your wedding, your coordinator has to do more than just show up on the wedding day. Why? What's so hard about just showing up? Let me pose a few questions for you to consider. Humour me, it's all going to make sense. Here we go:
We've addressed some very important questions and scenarios. I hope it's much clearer for you to understand what tasks your coordinator must perform prior to your wedding day. Still not sure? Let me break down the required tasks and time spent performing those tasks.
25 hours X $50 = $1250.00
That's far more accurate. And we haven't included the costs for our assistant, our insurance and our overhead costs.
I know that every bride expects her "day-of" planner to handle all of the tasks outlined above. When it's broken down, she is charging you $500 for 25 hours of her time. The $500 forgot include the costs of their phone, website, advertising, computer, fuel costs, paper or printer. After the costs of doing business are accounted for, you are paying them $5 an hour. That's just crazy talk! It's less than minimum wage. Employees at McDonald's make more than $5 an hour.
How hard would you work for your boss if he told you he wanted you to perform the tasks of a $25 an hour employee, but he's only going to pay you $5 an hour to do it? Eventually you will be tired and disgruntled. So is the $500 planner.
A word to "day-of" coordinators out there offering this service: If you are reading this, ask yourself, "Aren't I worth more?" Your future is based on the reputation you build with venues and vendors. If you place yourself in a situation ripe for disaster, you place your reputation at risk. Your career will not thrive on bad reviews. For clients and the industry to value you, you must first value yourself. Offering at least "month-of" services, and charging properly for it, allows you to perform a thorough job for your clients and it raises the level of professionalism in the industry.
A word to brides who want a "day-of" coordinator: Be careful, you may get what you pay for. I've actually received calls from brides who thought I was too expensive. They have called me after their wedding to say, "I should have listened." By then, it's too late. You only get one opportunity to get it right. Don't put the success of your wedding day in the hands of the $5-an-hour wedding planner. If you aren't paying them what they are worth, the odds are they don't have your best interests at heart.
The Wedding Industry Professionals Association (WIPA), also published a white paper on the subject. Click here to read more.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and understand the importance of a wedding planner, their value and how it affects you.
Follow Jeannie Ward on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WeddingJeannie