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You’re preparing for your wedding and need a wedding coordinator. Exciting times ahead! And so many decisions to make. The first one, of course, is the wedding coordinator him or herself.
How do you choose the best person for one of the most important events in your life? While your family will certainly provide support during these happy times, you need a professional to make your fairy-tale dreams come true. You need a coordinator that has the capability and desire to turn your vision into reality.
Wedding coordinators generally perform three functions, and these functions may overlap. A wedding coordinator may be hired only for the wedding day to ensure a smooth flow of events. He or she may be hired from start to finish and participate and oversee all of the pertinent details. Or, thirdly, the wedding coordinator is hired for a list of specific duties – finding and arranging for a venue and caterer, for example.
Here are some issues to consider before deciding on your wedding coordinator. You should probably take the time to interview between four and six coordinators to be able to make the best choice.
Initial meeting. While you should research your candidates online and get referrals, you need to meet face to face to get the complete picture. This first “getting to know you” meeting should be a free consultation. Any wedding coordinator that does not provide such a consultation is either inexperienced, difficult, or not interested. You can dismiss them immediately.
Listen to their feedback and determine if he or she shares your vision
Have a list of ideas and/or challenges to bring to the meeting. Search for pictures that encompass your vision and show these to the wedding coordinator. Listen to their feedback and determine if he or she shares your vision.
Judging someone’s personality can be a bit like judging a piece of art. You may not understand it, but you know what you like. You and your wedding coordinator need to “click” as planning partners. Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful, and you want someone by your side.
One way to judge a professional is by his or her ability to listen. If your candidate espouses his or her ideas without having a good grasp of what you want, this coordinator is working on his or her own vision, not yours. The wedding coordinator basically should not be sharing ideas without having asked you a lot of questions first and having listened to all that you have to say.
Gauge your wedding coordinator candidate’s basic understanding of the challenges you anticipate. Does he or she brush them aside or address them?
Don’t be afraid to question your potential wedding coordinator about his or her experience and background. This is a job interview, and you are the one with the job. Be sure you remain in charge of the conversation at all times.
One of the most difficult decisions you’ll need make is whether to go with a lot of experience (probably higher cost) or less experience (probably less expensive). Don’t think that experience is everything. Remember Avis and its “We’re number 2, so we try harder?”
The advantage of an experienced wedding coordinator is that he or she has undoubtedly seen and heard it all and knows how to handle problematic and unexpected situations as they arise. The advantage of a less experienced coordinator is that you may not be one of many clients. He or she can focus on you and your needs more easily.
If your potential wedding coordinator is a self-employed individual or works for a small company, ask about other weddings that they may be working on. If your coordinator is spread too thin, important facts may become lost because you don’t have his or her full attention.
He or she should excel at the type of wedding you envision
Keep in mind that wedding coordinators frequently have “specialties.” Some may have focused on large, formal weddings vs. small, intimate gatherings. Does your applicant’s background mesh with your needs? Think carefully about what you want from a wedding coordinator. He or she should excel at the type of wedding you envision.
If you intend to let the wedding coordinator do all the work, you may do best with experience. On the other hand, if you will be reasonably involved in the planning process and will be keeping careful track of what the coordinator is doing, enthusiasm may trump experience in many cases.
You should definitely ask for references and call them. However, like most of us during a job interview, he or she will only present good, dependable references and omit any dissatisfied clients. One way to help you select your best wedding coordinator, a bit sneaky but effective, is to ask about the vendors he or she uses regularly. This provides you with an opportunity to check with the vendors and ask them questions about the coordinator. What is the vendor’s experience with working with this particular wedding coordinator? How has the coordinator handled problems in the past? Vendors do rely on wedding coordinators for their business, but a few good questions can provide you with important information.
Like any other professional, wedding coordinators have their own preferred way of working. Some offer all-inclusive wedding packages while others have a menu of a la carte services.
Before you even begin the interview process, you should have an idea of what services you will need. Do you need a person to be there on your wedding day to ensure it runs smoothly, or would you prefer someone at your side every step leading toward the wedding?
Discuss what is included in each service the coordinator is providing. Catering doesn’t necessary include tables and chairs.
Ask your candidate how he or she prefers to communicate – over the phone, in person, or email and text. How quickly can you expect a reply to any question? Remember, an experienced coordinator may be juggling a number of clients, and you may not be top of the list.
When you check with vendors regarding a particular coordinator, don’t forget to ask about response time. This is very important, as many unexpected things can pop up while planning a wedding. Ask the vendors if the coordinator is proactive in anticipating and preventing any problems or waits until a snag occurs before taking action?
You want your wedding coordinator to be honest and on your side, but you may also need a dose of reality during the planning process. If your candidate agrees to all of your ideas, you may have someone over-anxious for your business.
You want a professional, not a “yes” person
Your wedding coordinator needs to be able to tell you if your expectations are unrealistic. You want a professional, not a “yes” person.
You may not give it much thought, but your wedding coordinator should have professional commercial liability insurance. Things happen, and you want a person who is responsible enough to be proactive in his or her business.
After your initial interviews, you should do what any hiring entity does: call back a few finalists, probably your favorite two.
Now is the time for a serious conversation about price. You are in a position of strength to get the best bargain, so make the most of it. Make sure your candidates understand that the final decision may be based on your budget. Then remain silent while they blink and provide you with their best offer. Kind of like Donald Trump in the Art of the Deal.
Then shake hands with the winner. “You’re hired!”