"Day-of coordination" was a term evolved in the Wedding Industry because it really use to be "Day of", but over the years in the Austin wedding business especially and Wedding Planners internationally realized a wedding planner actually coming in the on the day of your wedding without having all the details does NOT work - and here is why day-of coordination (although the term "day of" stuck) it really is "Month Of" or in our case 6 weeks before your wedding when we begin to pull together all your wedding details so we can be the best day-of coordinators or month-of / 6 weeks-of coordinators for our clients.
When I started in the industry, Day-of Coordination was just beginning to trend. Most of the time having a "day-of" client was really to fill a date or really an extra source of income. For some full time wedding planners, this is still the case. Most wedding planners or planners that design weddings are partial to full time clients because they get to be in control of the entire wedding - design, vendors, contracts, timing (etc), maybe even venue selection and when a day-of couple comes in with all the planning done (or nearly there), the work is not only more time consuming because you have to understand all the ins and outs of the couple's wedding, their vision and their vendors, but you also have to pull together all the work that's been done and fix any problems; the work of the day-of wedding planner or day-of coordinator has to be systematic because they have to truly understand what the client really needs in a very short period of time. This is why day-of coordination was pushed back to what we generally call month of coordination, or where a planner starts at least 1 month prior, so the Wedding Planners in the industry have enough time to organize the couple's wedding and do their job where they are effective and supportive. The terminology changes from here to there, you might hear of this person also called an event manager or wedding day manager or Event Management - it's all the same thing!
"the work of the day of wedding planner or day of coordinator has to be systematic because they have to truly understand what the client really needs in a very short period of time. "
Let me give you several examples of why having a wedding planner come in on the day of the actual wedding without any prep work before hand vs. a day of coordinator or planner that comes in 4-6 weeks before the big day to start organizing is a substantially more effective way to have a wedding...
1. The wedding florist shows up with flowers to the wedding venue and they are purple, the client isn't having a purple wedding, the flowers were meant to be all white (the floral delivery is wrong), but a planner that ONLY comes in on the actual wedding day wouldn't know that because there isn't enough time to look at a floral contract on the day of and make sure that the flowers are what the client wanted - the florist only realizes this after they give the bouquet to the Bride because the Bride knows and now the Bride is having to troubleshoot her own wedding because the planner doesn't know any of the appropriate wedding info - a wedding planner who ONLY comes in on the day of the actual wedding is NOT prepared to do their job.
A wedding coordinator that starts 4-6 weeks before the wedding, has time not only to review the contract, but connect with the wedding florist and other wedding vendors to make sure your table counts and floral counts are correct and reconfirm the flower choices are correct BEFORE the florist puts in any floral orders or if they show up - the coordinator who knows exactly what is supposed to come to property can troubleshoot this problem without interrupting the Bride getting ready and her wedding experience - in fact, the Bride could possibly never even know that this mishap even occurred - a wedding coordinator who begins at least a month of the wedding is prepared for wedding day.
2. The venue coordinator comes up to the planner and they meet for the first time, because the planner is hired ONLY to come in the day of the wedding, and asks whether the Groom has decided if he prefers to use the ceremony microphones from their property or if the music entertainment is providing a microphone for ceremony... the planner that only comes in that day wouldn't know this, because a wedding planner with no information hasn't talked about this wedding issue with the music entertainment and likely not the couple, so now wedding planner has to spend time figuring out this issue vs. doing things like decor setup, delivery of personal flowers, meeting the photographer to bring to them to the couple's getting ready rooms, or handling table counts. Now that planner has to interrupt the Groom in his getting ready process to determine what he has decided, and likely, he will have to now look up costs because he forgot and both the venue and music entertainment are charging to use their microphone services. This makes him fall behind on time and the wedding ceremony now starts late.
A wedding coordinator that starts 4-6 weeks before the wedding day has already determined all the Audio Visual decisions that were made. In fact, the wedding coordinator has already discussed this with both the music entertainment and the wedding venue, and the final notes are in the couple's wedding day timeline that the wedding planner has created and the client approved weeks before; this information is also in the couple's catering order with the venue. On top of that, the wedding coordinator was able to negotiate the cost down for the client to use the equipment because the couple made this decision 2 weeks before the wedding. The microphone ended up being included in the venue's services and there is no extra charge to the couple.
3. The wedding planner you hired to come in for only on the day of the wedding has never been to the venue, she gets stuck in traffic and the venue coordinator is now looking for her because the vendors have started to arrive. The venue coordinator doesn't know how to contact the wedding planner and the wedding planner doesn't have the venue coordinator's contact info either. They have never discussed anything happening in the wedding - both are not prepared - the wedding is in disarray - everything starts late, everyone is upset.
The wedding coordinator that starts 4-6 weeks out, she has already walked thru the wedding venue, in fact, she has been there a couple of times - she walked the wedding spaces with the venue coordinator, and she was there the day before for the rehearsal. She has been coordinating your wedding with the venue coordinator for 4-6 weeks, so they have a great understanding of what your wants and needs are - in fact they have collaborated as if they were a team coming together with your best interest in mind. The true day-of wedding coordinator doesn't get lost, but maybe she gets stuck in traffic, she is able to call the venue coordinator and she is able to contact the vendors and let them know to contact her with any questions when they arrive so the venue coordinator can focus on making her wedding venue what it needs to be for the couple's wedding without having to scramble.
Moral of the story - a wedding planner that offers a services to be your day-of coordinator, but DOES NOT start 4-6 weeks prior - she will not be able to do the job you need her to do - EVER - not an ounce. She is just a warm body. You may have put together the most organized wedding, but there are still issues that arise no matter what, and the warm body needs to have an understanding of what your wedding is supposed to be like, who the couple is, what they would want, who all the players are suppose to be in your wedding, and what they have committed to contractually - and they too need to know her. A day-of coordinator should BE a month-of coordinator - they are worth every penny and when you hire experience, you are going to get a wedding that you can feel confident going into - a day you can feel assured will not have issues that will interrupt your day.