Whether you opted to plan your own wedding or hire a professional, the odds are you're going to be overwhelmed when the day arrives. How can you be expected to get married and manage the logistics of your event? Enter: the day-of coordinator. These talented vendors can take away stress and even hide problems that pop up so the couple can focus on enjoying their wedding guests and taking in every moment of their wedding day.
What Is a Day-of Wedding Coordinator?
A day-of wedding coordinator is a person responsible for making sure the wedding day or weekend is executed perfectly. Their roles include overseeing vendors, managing the timeline, and overcoming any last-minute challenges that arise during the festivities.
"The day-of coordinator is responsible for the flawless execution of the already-made plans," says wedding planner Shollah Oshikanlu. They're also the point of contact for vendors, so questions or concerns are diverted away from the happy couple and their families. Unlike the wedding planner, who envisions, curates, and books the wedding, this type of professional makes sure everything is pulled off seamlessly in real time.
Meet the Expert
Shollah Oshikanlu is an Atlanta-based wedding planner and day-of wedding coordinator with over 10 years of experience. She is the founder of Unique Events by Shollah.
Read on to find out what a day-of wedding coordinator does, how much they cost, and whether you need to hire one for your wedding.
Day-of Wedding Coordinator Cost
Costs vary depending on the day-of coordinator’s responsibilities. Someone who just oversees a wedding day will cost less than someone who helps the couple plan last-minute details in the weeks leading up to the big event. “The cost ranges based on the number of locations, the number of hours, and the expected guest count,” says Oshikanlu, who charges anywhere from $800 to $3,000 for weddings she coordinates.
Day-of Wedding Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner
A wedding planner is a person who works with the couple to plan their wedding months or years in advance. They book the caterers and the band, sketch out the vision with florists and the venue, and make sure invitations are sent out on time. Rather than do any original planning, a day-of wedding coordinator is responsible for making sure the vision and scheme are executed properly. They may not make the seating plan, for example, but they make sure place cards are numbered correctly and placed in the proper spot.
While the day-of wedding coordinator works less closely with the couple than the wedding planner, they should still be brought in early to help anticipate and smooth over any problems that might occur. “I recommend hiring one at least six months before the wedding day because it gives the wedding coordinator enough time to identify flaws in the planning and/or design and have it corrected before the wedding day,” said Oshikanlu. They can also be utilized for pre- and post-wedding festivities like rehearsal dinners and brunches.
If you used a wedding planner, you can sometimes avoid hiring someone new by having them also serve as your day-of coordinator. If you opted to plan the wedding yourself, you can hire just a day-of coordinator to take care of everything during the event.
Day-of Wedding Coordinator Responsibilities
The day-of wedding coordinator’s primary job is making sure all the logistics of the wedding are handled. If there are 200 guests, for example, this person makes sure there are 200 chairs at the ceremony and reception.
Creating and Sticking to Timelines
Another one of the day-of wedding coordinator's most important jobs is creating a detailed timeline for the day and making sure everyone, from the couple’s family to the vendors, sticks to it. For example, if hair or makeup is taking longer than expected, this person will step in to hurry up the process. They also make sure guests are seated on time to get the ceremony rolling, and that photographs are taken in a timely manner so the couple can get to the dance floor.
Communicating With Vendors
The day-of wedding coordinator is the primary point of contact for all wedding vendors. They are the manager on duty, overseeing vendors' work and making sure they do their jobs according to what was contracted. All questions the vendors have can be fielded to the coordinator so the couple doesn’t have to deal with them.
One of the most challenging but important jobs of the day-of wedding coordinator is putting out fires and troubleshooting problems the day of or right before the wedding. If the bar runs out of tequila, if someone forgets the rings, if there is a power outage at the venue—this person figures out what to do. Again, the goal is to take away all stress from the couple.
When You Need a Day-of Wedding Coordinator
Many couples hire day-of wedding coordinators if they are planning their wedding themselves and need someone to oversee their work on the big day. This professional can swoop in and make sure all the couple’s hard work comes to life while they enjoy their wedding day. The day-of wedding coordinator can also help the couple make sure they aren’t missing any pieces to their wedding, especially small things non-professionals might overlook. “Sometimes, couples have a lot of missing details, and I end up having to basically plan the wedding for them in a short period of time,” Oshikanlu says.
While staff at traditional wedding venues know how to seamlessly pull off weddings, some couples get married in venues that have never had a wedding ceremony or reception before. This could include someone's home or a national park, for example. A couple getting married at a non-traditional wedding venue should get a day-of wedding coordinator to make sure the venue is set up properly for their festivities.