A wedding director may be just what the bride needs
By Deirdre O'Shea, Copley News Service
It's the day of your wedding and the reception is flowing
smoothly. Dinner is almost over and plenty of people are dancing.
Suddenly you hear the first notes of -- it can't be -- "Macarena."
You look over to see your new husband's mouth forming a perfect
O. This man is your soul mate -- he knows how you feel about
the "Macarena." But then, out of the corner of your
eye, you see a pink suit gliding toward the band. The song
fades out and the Stones come on. You start breathing again.
The pink-suited angel was a wedding coordinator, not to be
confused with a wedding planner. The terms are sometimes interchanged,
as the duties of these professionals are at times performed
by the same person. Wedding planners, or consultants, provide
a service that is familiar to most people. They choose the
vendors, the reception site, the flowers and sometimes even
the dresses. The couple decides on the level of involvement.
Some of the many services wedding consultants offer include
budget preparation, knowledge of and possible discounts with
the best caterers, florists, bakeries, and other area wedding
vendors, selecting the invitations, buying the favors and
bridal gifts, and creating a wedding-day timeline.
Wedding coordinators (also known as wedding directors, especially
in the Southeast) attend the wedding activities. It's becoming
commonplace to see coordinators at the rehearsal and the wedding
ceremony. However, increasing numbers of couples opt to use
the services of a wedding coordinator only at the wedding
itself. They act as advocates and producers, taking care of
all details and making sure everyone is happy, most of all
"A wedding coordinator is a wonderful help for the day
of services, including the reception -- especially for larger
weddings," says Patty Hansen, owner of A Marry Angel
(http://www.amarryangel.com/) in Raleigh, N.C., which does
both planning and coordination. "At the church, I'm there
to pass out flowers, pin them on, get the bride ready for
pictures, keep the bride and groom apart if they wish, make
sure the ushers are ready when the guests start arriving,
pass out programs, get the parents seated to end the chatting,
light candles, and handle the timing of the music and the
procession, for example."
From sessions with the couple, this type of professional knows
exactly what their wishes are. At the reception, the coordinator
sees that all vendors -- from the parking attendants to wait
staff -- play their part correctly.
"There's a nice way to tell people what to do,"
Hansen says. The coordinator is a neutral party with experience
and a cool head, someone who isn't distracted by social obligations.
If a problem arises, the idea is that the coordinator will
intervene and prevent the bride and groom from even realizing
something was amiss.
"A good coordinator will be prepared for any emergency,"
Hansen says. "I once had a grandmother's shoe heel come
off. But, of course, I had glue in my kit."
The fees for planners and coordinators are surprisingly affordable.
A free consultation is the best way to learn if these services
are right for you. Given the expense of a wedding, even a
modest one, hiring a coordinator to be there on the big day
is a small price to pay for ensuring a happy and stress-free
event. The less work the couple and their family members have
to do, the better.
After all, the bride and groom have so many people to visit
with and the time flies by. There will be only a few precious
hours to enjoy the results of months of planning, so why not
stack the deck in your favor? Let a wedding coordinator glue
on grandma's heel and just keep dancing.
© Copley News Service
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