A few weeks ago a study on the most stressful jobs in America was released and, surprise surprise, one of the jobs topping the list — filled with positions such as EMT and fireman — was “Event Coordinator”. As the co-owner of not one, but two, wedding-related businesses in New York City, I can attest to the truth of this statement.
You see, a wedding planner or designer works with couples for months in advance, pre-planning each detail, while the event coordinator is actually the person there on the day itself, wrangling people, organizing seating cards and generally being asked to do some outrageous and ridiculous things. I can only assume that it’s the pressure of the wedding day that leads couples to think it’s ok to make some of these requests. I KNOW, from personal experience, that it’s often the shock of hearing the request that has led to us, and our staff, to saying yes to these things.
While these requests make for entertaining conversation at dinner parties, they actually aren’t really appropriate. If you are considering hiring a day-of coordinator, here in no particular order are 10 things you shouldn’t ask him or her to do. And I promise you, these are actual things that us/our team have been asked to do and have actually done.
1. Carrying You. While no bride wants to muss up her dress before her big “reveal” down the aisle, asking your wedding coordinator to carry you from place to place so that your dress won’t touch the ground and get dirty is a bit much. While having the “Material Girl” video moment might be priceless for you, the bride, it’s likely a personal low for the poor coordinator actually carrying you.
2. Lighting Your Smoke. Smoking is gross, asking a relative stranger to light your cig for you so that you don’t muss your make-up is grosser. Especially if that person is a non-smoker.
3. Feeding your Baby, or any of your children for that matter. Of COURSE your wedding planner/coordinator wants your day to be perfect, and YES, we acknowledge that your child’s crying or a hunger tantrum might detract from the perfection of the day. That said, it is uncomfortable for the planner to be handed a baby and a bottle and asked to “take care of feeding her, OK?” It’s equally uncomfortable to be handed a toddler demanding a Happy Meal.
4. Walking your dog or caring for your pet. Each of our weddings is staffed with a team of three: a junior bridal attendant, a ceremony coordinator and a lead planner who oversees the day. Mid-way through one reception, a new bridal attendant told the lead planner that she needed to go to the bride’s apartment. The lead coordinator asked her why. She explained that earlier that day the bride asked her to walk their pet mastiff and made her promise to go back later that evening and “take him for a run.” Right. Not Ok. A wedding coordinator is not a dog walker.
5. Dance with groomsmen, or friends, or Dads. We enjoy our jobs, and it is FUN to be at a party all the time. And, granted, we usually do look nice at the weddings, because we take pride in our appearance. All that said, we aren’t there to dance with the lonely groomsman, or your Dad or to get on the floor to “liven things up”. I’m sure that there are people who can be hired for those services, but it isn’t included in the “coordination” role.
6. Breaking awkward news to family members. Weddings can bring up family strains that you might not anticipate. A parent may assume they are going to speak, or a sibling may assume that he or she is walking down the aisle or standing under the Chuppah. Correcting these assumptions can be difficult and awkward. But, you know what? You’re an adult, you are getting married and it’s important that you NOT ask your wedding coordinator to explain to your estranged Dad that he isn’t walking you down the aisle. That’s something you should do yourself. You hired a day-of coordinator to run your wedding, not to manage your family squabbles.
7. Attire shopping. Actually, I’m on the fence with this one. I think it’s a bit MUCH to ask, and it’s strange to have to do, but I understand how this sometimes feels necessary. Case in point, the bride’s brother split his pants en route from the ceremony to the reception. Could he have gone himself to buy new pants and missed some of the party? Yes. Could he have just looked at us, handed us a credit card and his pants size and not missed a thing? Yes.
8. Not let you see anything “ugly” all day. This sounds crazy, but we’ve had more than one bride ask us, or our team, to please “keep ugly things out of sight”. The issue with this is that “ugly” is so subjective. For one bride the tray with water pitchers on it seemed simply unsightly, for another the paper the bandleader wrote his notes on didn’t match her color scheme. It’s a tough request to stay ahead of.
9. Tell you you’re pretty every 15 minutes. All brides are beautiful; there really is something to be said for that wedding glow. However, asking your wedding planner every 10-15 minutes “Do I look beautiful? Do I look beautiful?” can get a bit exhausting. Not to mention distracting from actually taking care of running the wedding.
10. Stand in for someone who is late. I like symmetry as much as the next person, but even if someone is terribly late, it’s NOT ok to ask the wedding coordinator to sub in for a missing bridesmaid or groomsman. This also holds true for a wedding officiant. It’s a bummer if the officiant is late or doesn’t show up, but if your wedding coordinator isn’t licensed to perform ceremonies, they can’t fill in for someone who is.
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