We love love, couples, marriage and weddings! Emily Weddings is based in Coastal Virginia. The Emily Weddings Team is professionally trained in wedding planning and has over 25 years of combined planning experience. Whether your wedding is small or large, Emily Weddings would love to assist you. This team has some of the most fun, talented, and experienced wedding planners around! Get in touch with us today…we want to hear your story.
The Emily Weddings Team
What in the world do “Wedding Day-of Services” mean?
We are hoping that this post will be informative an enlightening about the role of a Day-Of Coordinator at your wedding, and clear up any confusion you may have. Many planners offer quite a few wedding packages like Full Service, a Partial Service, or a Day-Of Service, but Day-Of Service is by far the most confusing term…so let’s clear things up.
Full Service Planning is pretty self-explanatory…it is what it says. Most planners will help in every aspect of planning your big day. Big details and small details, they’re involved. For those overwhelmed, ‘Jesus take the wheel’ brides, this path is one that you may want to consider. We will be the hand holding, dress shopping, and mother-in-law interference playing friends that you need.
A Partial Planning Service has agreed upon aspects of the planning process that will help you with your big day. This service is really for the couple that needs help navigating through the timeline of getting to their wedding day, but still wants to be very hands-on with the decision making process. So now that we’ve got the definitions of those services clear, let’s move on to the confusing one.
So some questions that we hear in conversations with an inquiring couple for Day-Of Services include (we will answer these a little bit further into the post):
- But I have done everything so you don’t need to call my vendors because they said they would show up. Just be there to make sure that they do.
- I just want your team to set up and tear down and make sure everything happens on time, I’ve done all the hard work.
- My DJ is going to coordinate so we don’t need you to make an itinerary. Just make sure it all works out.
So let’s get down to it…Day-Of Planning Services… seriously, it is a confusing term…we know! Those of us in the wedding industry have never favored this term because we know that there is no such thing as just showing up on your wedding day. Some planners may call it Month-Of Services for this reason, but we have also found that this term causes confusion. Yikes…we can see it now…having a planner just show up the day of your wedding and trying to run with it – could you imagine??
The reason day-of planners get involved on the wedding day is because they want it to run smoothly. To do this they like to be prepared and at-the-ready (most are Type A individuals). Just showing up on the wedding day would be the exact opposite of what a wedding planner would plan to do for you…it would actually be very stressful for even a professional if you think about…and YOU don’t need that stress either! You have put so much into the planning of your wedding day so in reality you DO NOT want a “Day-Of Planner” (going off of the term) to just show up that morning and try to run with your precious wedding day. So…this means prep and lots of it for your Day-Of Service. Yes, even for the role of Day-Of wedding coordinator, it requires time, thought, and planning that happens before the wedding day.
For Day-Of Services, wedding planners start several weeks out meeting with the couple, getting contracts of secured services and items, touching base with all vendors and getting cell numbers for wedding day communication. There are many hours spent developing a detailed timeline and sometimes back-up timelines in case mother nature wants to change her mind. We have seen it first-hand…those darn nor’easters and hurricanes. Hours get poured into this Day-Of Service…for you, for your big day, and you should want it that way. Planners are here to serve you!
Here is how we respond to those statements above that confused couples say to us:
- You really do need us to call your vendors. We are all human and can easily make mistakes. Having a day-of planner follow up with a wedding vendor to confirm delivery time of items or services is like having extra insurance for your wedding day. We could bend your ear on how many times there has been a small discrepancy in what the couple “thought” and what the vendor was going to do (wrong dates, wrong colors, wrong location, wrong time etc.). Getting everyone on the same page makes your day simply flawless and perfect. If we don’t call to confirm and there is a mix-up with the couple’s agreement with the vendor, we would be the ones trying to fix it at the last minute (that can cause heart palpitations…trust us) and it would ultimately be on us. So as to cover our bases and stand by our professional reputation, we must connect with your wedding vendors.
- Yes, planning your wedding is hard work and we applaud you for the time and dedication you have put into the planning process. That is all the more reason why you want us to execute your day flawlessly. Creating the timeline and connecting with vendors, setting up (sometimes in under two hours around the same time you are getting ready for your ceremony at possibly another location), making sure events happen on time and making the evening flow perfectly without any lows, packing up and cleaning up, all take time. In fact, it’s a minimum of about 20 hours of work for us. Work we pour into your wedding because of your hard hours of planning. We promise you, you wouldn’t want less than that kind of dedication for your day-of service. We care about your day as much as you do, and want to be aware of every last planning detail – the hours you spent on that Pinterest board finding the perfect shade of coastal blue, the lengthy cake tasting until you decided on the buttercream frosting, the e-mails back and forth with the florist until your centerpieces were just right – we want to make sure that these months, perhaps even years of planning will all come together for you on one day.
- We love working with deejays and bands. They are truly artists that ensure folks at your wedding reception have the time of their life celebrating y’all! Can a deejay or band put together an order of events for the reception (first dance, toasts, bouquet/garter toss)? Sure. (We will just say, as a small precaution, that it is VERY obvious when it is a seasoned professional verses a newby in the industry who, if they have to, develop the order of events. So please, please choose wisely and go with a seasoned professional because it makes a HUGE difference in the flow of your reception…but we digress). We are confident in saying that you can ask professional wedding bands and professional deejays if they would prefer having a, at a minimum, day-of coordinator present at your wedding, and they would say emphatically, yes! They need to focus on their music, and you want them to. Coordinators can walk around the reception room, they can know when a special family member (mom, dad, grandma etc.) has stepped out, and quickly get them back in the room for your cake cutting. Coordinators can know if something has happened with the bride’s dress and she needs to excuse herself from the reception for a bit which may delay the next event on a music professional’s timeline. The day-of coordinator is the go-between for communicating with the band or deejay if something needs to get pushed up or pushed back. This keeps your music professional entertaining your guests without having to focus on outside details that could distract. We know they would tell you that they would prefer having those extra eyes, ears, and assistance so they can do what you paid them to do without skipping a beat (no pun intended…okay maybe..ha!).
So to wrap this up, a day-of coordinator takes care of most every aspect of your wedding day so it runs smoothly (they don’t just set up decor and leave). This requires prior planning and coordinating with all of your vendors. It requires hours of time and energy for your big day. It takes a seasoned professional to be both type A on the timeline, and then to roll with the punches and be flexible on your wedding day. If you choose not to have a Full Service Planner or even a Partial Planner, please do not leave your wedding day to chance and mishap by not securing a professional Day-Of Coordinator. A coordinator wants to see all your hard hours of planning brought to full expectation on your wedding day!
Do all of my out-of-town guests come to my rehearsal dinner? Well, this is a question we frequently answer so we thought we would share with all of our readers what we share with our couples. The number of out-of-town guests can vary at each wedding so our response is usually tailored to each couple, but we will give you our general rule of thumb to help navigate this area of planning.
First, let’s talk about the rehearsal dinner and why couples have them. Rehearsal dinners (by the way, they can be brunches or even breakfasts. There is no hard-and-fast rule that says it has to be dinner, but for all intensive purposes, let’s call it a rehearsal dinner for this post) are usually held after the wedding rehearsal and before the wedding day. It is a great way for the families of the couple to get to spend some time together in a relaxed atmosphere before the big festivities begin. It’s a way to say thank you to those who are taking part in your wedding ceremony. The rehearsal dinner is a time where you have those closest to you together in one place to express your gratitude for their influence in your life, and for their support on this next journey in your life as a married couple. Emily Post explains the details well here on her site.
Typically, those invited to the rehearsal dinner are your immediate family members, the folks that are participating in the wedding ceremony, spouses or dates of those participating in your wedding ceremony, and the officiant and officiant’s spouse. So this is where it can get tricky…
The average cost for a rehearsal dinner is $30-$70 per person. That can get pricey if you are inviting many out-of-town guests. All of your out-of-town friends and family do not need to be invited to the rehearsal dinner. We agree that you should take time to greet them and show your gratitude to them for making the long distance trip, but it does not need to be the rehearsal dinner. So how do you do that, you ask?? Here are a few thoughts…
2 Options to Greet Out-Of-Town Guests
We encourage our couples to list out local activities, attractions, restaurants etc. on their wedding website as well as on the note added in the welcome bag left at the hotel desk for your arriving guests. This way guests can find places to eat that are special to the area where the wedding is taking place.
Ok, Option 1- Reserve a small room (like a boardroom or small meeting room) at the hotel where most guests are staying for a small welcome gathering after the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner (you could choose to have this at a house, but let’s face it, not all of our friends and family are respectful of time and may make it hard for you to leave and get your beauty rest. A hotel makes this departure easier because you have no choice but to leave the room after a certain block of time). The bride and groom can add this welcome gathering information to their wedding website as well as in a little note that is in the welcome bag for guests at the hotel. The bride and groom can specifically designate one hour to meet their out-of-town family and friends for a hug and a drink before they call it a night. This way those guests feel like they have had some quality time with you before your big day.
Option 2- If you aren’t leaving for a honeymoon right away, have a breakfast or brunch the morning after the wedding at the hotel where most of your out-of-town guests are staying. You can simply have muffins and coffee, but the guests will just love the extra quality time they have with you.
Now if you just have one or two couples coming in from out of town, by all means, invite them to the rehearsal dinner. If your extended family would be extremely hurt (and never speak to you again) by not being invited, then make sure you have clear cut guidelines on who gets invited e.g., out-of-town family, but not out-of-town friends etc. This will keep it from getting too messy.
It’s hard trying to include everyone and you never want hurt feelings. By having a special time to greet your out-of-town guests, you help them know how appreciative you are that they took the time to be there for your special day while at the same time saving the rehearsal dinner for the intimate time it is meant to be with those you have specifically chosen to take part on your wedding day.
We LOVE Pinterest. We can start pinning and before we know it, hours have passed by. From yummy food and cocktails, gorgeous home design ideas, to DIY projects, what’s not to love?
Pinterest also helps out in the wedding planning world. When you allow us to see your wedding boards, we have constant access to what is inspiring you. It helps us move in the right direction for your wedding day. Some brides may not fully understand what they like or be able to put into words want they want. When your wedding professional’s eye views the boards you have pinned for your wedding, we can understand what it is you have fallen in love with (we can see the common design element in each picture). This gives us great insight into our your dream wedding, as well a great direction to head in the planning process. With all of that said, we have to also warn y’all of the cons that can come along with pinning on Pinterest for wedding inspiration.
First, let us clearly state the Pros of Pinterest in Wedding Planning from a planner’s perspective (because there are many):
- Gives us insight into what a you love and what inspires you.
- Helps us with out-of-town brides because most of the planning is done at long distance.
- Helps inspire a vision (especially if you have not been one to always dream of your day, and if you don’t have any ideas coming into the planning process).
- Helps you locate wonderful sites that make or sell fun detailed items that you would like to incorporate into your wedding day.
- Inspires you with creative ideas and DIY things for your event.
- We really could go on because we adore Pinterest and find that it has tons of Pros!
Ok, So let’s move on to the Cons of Pinterest in Wedding Planning from a planner’s perspective:
- You can start to overpin ending up with so many ideas all pointing in a different design direction that you can become overwhelmed with inspiration.
- You can become so inspired by such luxury weddings that you become depressed about your own wedding because you feel it may not measure up to the pictures you have pinned.
- You can find something you completely love and try to copy it, and it ends up looking like an elementary school project (you know what we are talking about…it has happened at least once to all of us).
- You can start moving in a design direction for many months, all of a sudden get inspired by a new favorite picture, and feel you have to completely start over in order to get the wedding day you REALLY want now (this has happened to one of our couples). It sure is a lot of work to start over!
- Here is the big one, y’all…ready for it?? Sticker shock from your favorite Pinterest picture inspiration!
So let’s talk about number 5 on the Cons of Pinterest…
We desire that you know about this so that you can prevent the problems that come along with your favorite all time inspiration picture and the my-wedding-has-to-be-this-exact-picture feeling. We have all seen that one wedding picture on Pinterest where you think “OH MY GOODNESS….THAT’S IT!!” So you head to the florist (you can actually put any wedding vendor in this spot and the story will come out the same) and you show them your inspiration and say please draw up a proposal around this picture. You don’t really give the vendor a budget because you think you can wiggle around that bottom line once you get the proposal (cut here, pull from there in other wedding categories to make it all work) because you just have to have this particular look at your wedding. You leave the floral meeting and start dreaming about how it’s going to look…you can barely sleep at night out of sheer excitement and wish your wedding day would be tomorrow so that you could see it all! (That’s excitement, y’all) A few days later the florist gets back to you with a proposal and has done everything you asked. Drumroll, please….HOLY MOLASSES that one centerpiece inspiration from the picture is $1000 and you were thinking that would be the cost of the flowers for your entire wedding! You are left depressed. UGH! We hurt for you…that is an awful feeling, and it can be prevented.
Below you will find a few ways to protect yourself from the cons of Pinterest pinning for your wedding day. These tips also help the wedding professional better serve you. It will save the vendor’s time and energy preparing a proposal that will never work, as well as save disappointing you on the vision you have for your wedding day. All wedding professionals want to see a smile on your face. They never, ever want to see you disappointed because you can’t get what you want…it really does break our heart…so we are going to say it…ready?…help us, help you…yep, we said it!
Here is how:
- Go into planning your wedding knowing a firm budget. It will also help knowing that the average wedding in Virginia Beach is about $30,000.
- Here is a great website with a wedding calculator to help guide your budget. This site helps with any location by using the zip code for your wedding destination.
- We recommend hiring an wedding planner (of course we would!) because they can send you to the most reputable, creative wedding professionals that will work hard for you. This way you don’t have to fear if all of your money is well spent by that particular vendor.
- Be open with your wedding professional on the budget you would like to stay in. This gives them a jumping off point for your vision and cost. They can be open with you right away if it will even come close to your inspiration picture because of your where you would like to stay monetarily.
- Be flexible to other options when showing your wedding professional your wedding inspiration Pinterest picture. Hold loosely to the pictures you find. Be open to trying different ideas they may offer. They really do want to help.
Pinterest is AWESOME! Use it wisely in planning for your wedding. Let it guide, but not define. Let it inspire you, not lock you in. Let it be a creative outlet, not a rule book. Happy planning and happy pinning.