Q: Can I ask a friend to help things run smoothly on the wedding day, or is it better to hire a coordinator?

A: Before making this decision, you need to ask yourself what kinds of tasks you want this person to do. If you're looking for someone to reconfirm with all the vendors the morning of the wedding, let you know when the ministers ready to start the ceremony, help send bridesmaids down the aisle and tap you when it's time to toss your bouquet, an organized pal should be able to handle these kinds of jobs. However, keep in mind that by asking your friend to stay on top of these things, you could be keeping her from the party. At some point, she might not want to have anything on her to-do list besides hitting the bar and the dance floor.

If you want someone to truly manage every aspect of the day, you should consider hiring a planner or coordinator. Sasha Souza, a Napa, CA-based event planner, explains that "a professional will know about timing issues that may arise, which affect things like catering and service, and can also help you make decisions on when the toasts, first dance, cake cutting and other big moments should happen." Also, an expert has the knowledge and ability to double-check contracts to make sure you're getting exactly what youve bargained for. According to Souza, a day-of coordinator fee can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on your locale: "This expenditure can give you the peace of mind that a professional has a vested interest in making sure your entire day goes well."

See all questions about family, friends, and guests etiquette

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