Wedding Coordinators | What They Do and Why They’re Worth it!

A Sad Story | The Couple that’s too Busy (or Stressed) to Enjoy their Wedding

Did you know that the average couple will devote 200-300 hours to planning their wedding?  That’s at least FIVE WEEKS if you were to work on it 40 hours a week like your full time job!  Did you also know that the average cost for an American wedding ceremony and reception is over $29,000 according to Beau-Coup.com AND that the average couple underestimates the cost of their wedding by over 40%! After photographing 100+ weddings, if I had a penny for every bride that shared how stressful planning their wedding is, I’d be a rich girl!  There are SO many moving pieces!… colors, decorations, dresses, food, music, suits, entertainment, and vendors to coordinate with not to mention trying to handle family dynamics and drama!  And that all happens BEFORE the wedding day!  On the actual wedding day itself I have seen more couples trying to set up, decorate and coordinate the day of that they end up being so busy, they are unable to be fully present on the biggest day of their lives that will be over in just a few short hours. That’s why I wanted to write a blog post on wedding coordinators | what they do and why they’re worth it!

Collage of cupcakes at wedding reception

I’ve seen this happen SO often that I knew I needed to chat with one of my wedding coordinator friends and get the low down on what she does and how it changes her couple’s WHOLE wedding experience when they book her!  I sat down with Courtney of Crown Coordination last week and had an amazing conversation with her about wedding planning.  But before I introduce her, let me share the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Day Of coordinator (because honestly, I wasn’t exactly sure the difference either! 😊)

Wedding Planner vs Day of Coordinator | What’s the Difference?

A Wedding Planner

Anyone else still love the movie The Wedding Planner with J Lo in it?  (Fun fact, that movie was my first epiphany that I wanted to work in the wedding business.)  Anyways… if you have seen the movie, the role and job that J Lo’s character had is essentially what a wedding planner does.  A wedding planner will be the first professional you’ll hire to handle everything from start to finish.  This includes (but by no means is limited to!) helping you create a vision for your wedding, finding a venue that fulfills that vision, provides vendor referrals, creates detailed timelines and floor plans, keeps you on budget, attends meetings/tastings, etc., looks over contracts, coordinates hotel room blocks and transportation for guests, manages the rehearsal and finally executes your plan for the day!  According to Brides.com, a wedding planner can put in between 80 and 250 hours of work on your event!  Whew, I’m tired just looking at that list!  And it should be said that many can be taught the ropes of coordinating an event but it takes experience and talent to really be able to pull everything together flawlessly.  Now as a side note, there may be some wedding planners out there that will offer design and styling advice while others just deal with the logistics of planning an event so it’s important when interviewing a wedding planner to find out whether they will do this or not.  If they don’t offer styling advice, you may also want to hire a Wedding Designer who will deal with color schemes, up lighting, design, furniture, linens, attire, etc.  You may want to consider hiring a wedding planner if you work a demanding job, don’t have time to adequately plan the wedding you envision, feel overwhelmed and may not know where to begin, struggle with creativity, don’t have any idea of how you might want your wedding styled OR have a million different ideas but don’t know how to bring them all together.

Collage of reception details including table settings, centerpieces, candles and table numbers
Want to see more photos of this gorgeous wedding at Belhurst Castle? Check it out here!

A Day Of Coordinator

A Day Of Coordinator will step in a couple of weeks to a few months before the wedding to become well acquainted with all the details of the day so they are able to coordinate well on the day of your wedding.  They will often review the contracts for you and check in with all your vendors to confirm logistics, create detailed timelines and floor plans, address any overlooked details, manage the rehearsal, and coordinate everything on the wedding day.  Having your coordinator step in a few months before the wedding will allow them some time to adjust anything before it’s too late!  And again, according to Brides.com, a Day of Coordinator may put in approximately 25 hours.  You may consider hiring only a Day Of Coordinator if you are really detailed and organized, if you want to play an active role in the wedding planning but would like someone else there to take care of any last minute details and catch anything you’ve missed and be in charge of executing your vision the day of the wedding.  Honestly, my wish is that every one of my brides would be able to work with at least a Day Of Coordinator (if not a Wedding Planner) so that their wedding experience would be a positive one… an experience to look back on with warm and dreamy memories instead of memories full of stress and tears.  And again!… that’s why I wanted to write about wedding coordinators | what they do and why they’re worth it! So this is the part where I introduce my friend Courtney of Crown Coordination (cue the confetti!)

Crown Coordination by Courtney smashes a pineapple pinata with confetti coming out
Image by Megan Pamela Photos, Hair and Makeup by Thee Beauty Lounge

Introducing Courtney of Crown Coordination

Courtney of Crown Coordination wedding planner sips a cup of coffee as she laughs and smiles
Photo:  Enfoque Images
Hair/Makeup:  Enfoque Intimates
Venue:  HipStir Cafe

Meet Courtney! She officially started coordinating events all the way back in high school.  If there was an event happening, everyone knew that Courtney was the one behind it and they all knew that’s what she’d end up doing in the long run! Wanting to have a good grasp on all the mechanics of the field, she got her business degree in college and then spent a good part of a decade working in the hotel business.  This allowed her to make tons of connections with people and venues in and between Syracuse and Utica.  Courtney also worked in sales for different event venues and THAT’S when she fell in love with weddings.  After observing a handful of wedding planners work, she knew that she had found her calling and passion!  Courtney will tell you, “I’m happy to plan any type of event… but I was literally born to get married for a living!”

Wedding planner Courtney of Crown Coordination sets head table during wedding styled shoot
Photo:  Kate Elaine Photos
Style/Coordination:  Crown Coordination
Venue:  Upstate Greenery
Florals:  North Street Nursery
Charcuterie Boards:  Bethel Boards
Wine:  Wine on Main
Tableware:  Exclusively Yours by Wendy

Reading, Researching and Coordinating Styled Shoots

Since jumping into the wedding world, Courtney not only pours over books on event planning but travels often visiting wedding venues and vendors!   One really hands on way that she increases her connections with other vendors and knowledge is by coordinating styled shoots all over New England.  This allows her to interface with florists, bakers, wedding rental companies, photographers, videographers and so many more to create a “faux wedding”.  This allows each of those vendors an opportunity to pool their creative juices to create a vision and to receive photos of their work to use for marketing.  And with Courtney at the head of it all, she literally gets to know everyone involved!

Crown Coordination by Courtney logo with gold and green

Crown Coordination by Courtney

Now that we’ve defined what a Wedding Planner does vs. a Day Of Coordinator, I can tell you that Courtney does it all!  (And as a side note, she IS one of those planners that will offer design and styling advice, so never fear there!)  As you can see from her logo, Courtney is CRAZY about everything pineapple and her packages follow in that same theme.

 She offers everything from what she calls The Roots package to The Crown Package (get it? from the bottom of the pineapple to the tip?) The Roots package is there to help you get the ball rolling, assist in determining your theme, venue, color scheme, décor inspiration, shopping support, etc.  She’ll refer you to vendors that fit within your vision, attend a venue tour, help you stay on budget and more! 

Courtney of Crown Coordination meets with bride to me as they plan her wedding
Photo:  Enfoque Images
Hair/Makeup:  Enfoque Intimates
Venue:  HipStir Cafe (Oneida, NY)
Joined by Amanda Burton of Aligning with Love

She also offers The Axis, a day of coordinator package and it’s significant to note that Courtney will help you right from the start on this one!  She mentioned to me that she’ll check in with you frequently (up to every one to two weeks!) to see if there’s anything she can help with.  She’ll help you maintain your budget, which in her words, is like a giant game of Tetris!  She’ll reach out to your vendors and help you coordinate with them making sure all deposits are paid, they show up on time, etc.  The weekend of the wedding she’ll coordinate set up, manage everything the day of and take charge of things you may not have thought about like checking the buffet line to make sure that the salmon you ordered is there as well as retrieving your gifts and cards at the end of the night!

The Crown Package is her full wedding planner service and you’ll literally get her for everything you need like unlimited meetings and venue site visits, invitation and RSVP tracking assistance, favor and welcome bag assembly, event week setup coordination, farewell breakfast/brunch coordination and post-reception cleanup and maintenance.  I mean do you really want to ask your mom and aunt to go back to the venue the next morning to make sure that all the rentals and linens are being picked up?   

Courtney of Crown Coordination smiles as she stands at a coffee bar holding a mug
Photo:  Enfoque Images
Hair/Makeup:  Enfoque Intimates
Venue:  HipStir Cafe

Conclusion

One couple said, “Courtney was truly an amazing coordinator. We hired her with only a few weeks to put our dream wedding together. She went above and beyond. I highly recommend Courtney to anyone looking to plan an event. She thought of every little detail and made the day run smoothly and beautiful.”  If you are newly engaged or in the throes of planning your wedding, don’t wait until the stress and details are too overwhelming.  Give yourself a gift, hire a Wedding Planner or at least a Day of Coordinator. Courtney isn’t the only wedding planner in the area but she is totally committed to bringing your ultimate vision to fruition and making your dreams a reality! And I’ll even tell you personally, I wish I had hired a coordinator for MY wedding and after seeing so many couples and weddings happen, I believe that every penny spent toward a coordinator will be something you receive back in the way that you’ll more fully experience and enjoy your wedding! And so that my friends is the lowdown on wedding coordinators | what they do and why they’re worth it!

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