This week on our NoVendor series I had the pleasure of interviewing Kirstin Headland from Simply Elegant Affairs, a local wedding coordinator! I know many brides-to-be have this question: Do I need a wedding coordinator? Can I plan my wedding on my own? Well, below Kirsten is helping us to understand the different services a coordinator can provide to engaged couples and she is also giving us several tips to help when booking a wedding coordinator or a day of coordinator.
Here is what she shared…
How far in advance should couples contact a wedding planner?
If a couple wants to hire a full service or partial planner, it should be the first vendor that they book. Hiring a wedding planner first, can help a couple prioritize where they want to spend their money, can help with constructing a budget and finding venues and vendors that fit their budget. Having a coordinator can help couples to save a lot of time researching vendors that don’t fit their needs and price points.
When looking for a day of coordinator they should book at least 4 months out to ensure plenty of time to have meetings and gather needed information. However, for me personally, booking a year out is helpful to ensure your wedding date is available!
What is the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Day of Coordinator?
The simple answer is that a full service planner will be with the couple every step of the way in the planning process and helps them decide each and every detail, whereas a coordinator is mainly with you the day of the wedding to bring your vision to life and to ensure everything runs properly.
What type of packages and services do you offer?
I offer a variety of packages and here they are below:
Full Service Planning: Encompasses all aspects of planning. In this package I can be as hands on as the couple wants me to be. I do anything from helping them find and negotiate with a venue/vendors, tracking the budget, planning and executing the design scheme, giving general advice and etiquette consultation, vendor management, rehearsal coordination, assistance in purchasing stationary, tracking guest RSVPs and so much more!
Partial Planning: An alternative for couples who really want to be involved in the planning but also want someone to exchange ideas and oversee the whole process. In this package I am not as involved as full service, but I oversee more of the logistical details of the process.
Month of Coordination: A great option for couples who want to plan their own wedding but really want someone to oversee the final details prior to the wedding. With this package my work starts about 6 weeks before the wedding day and we will have 2 in person meetings to confirm final details with all vendors, construct a detailed day of timeline, rehearsal attendance and coordination, in addition to 8 hours of wedding coordination.
Day of Coordination: Perfect for a couple who is super organized and planned all of the details on their own but needs help making sure that all of their hard work comes together on their big day! The way I describe my role is that I am the bride and groom’s personal assistant for the day! A few of the tasks that I typically do for a couple are: assist in setup of ceremony/reception space, direct the procession, ensure signage of marriage license, keep the day on schedule/cue couple for upcoming events, be the point of contact for all vendors, distribute any final vendor payments, handle any hiccups that arise and assist the wedding party/guests as needed.
How should a bride determine if she can plan her entire wedding or she should hire a professional to do the planning for her?
When deciding if you should hire a full service planner there are many important factors. In my opinion there are a few big questions to consider and if any of them seem to hit home, then maybe hiring a planner would be beneficial for you!
- What are you and your partners work schedule like? Planning a wedding is like taking on a second job, it requires a lot of time.
- Do you have a tight budget for your wedding? A planner can assist in budget tracking and providing recommendations/negotiations for vendors who are professional but also fit in with your budget.
- Do you have a tight deadline? If you are planning a wedding on a time crunch, hiring a wedding planner could be a great option.
- Does the thought of planning overwhelm you? Planning a wedding can be stressful and a coordinator can take some load off of you and your fiancé.
- You don’t have a clear vision of your theme: Hiring a planner can help you narrow in on the many different ideas you have or can help you brainstorm if you are struggling to come up with them yourself.
All of the aforementioned reasons should be considered when deciding whether to hire a planner.
If the bride is planning the wedding herself, what are the benefits of hiring a day of coordinator?
A day of coordinator will ensure that all of the hard work turns out beautifully on their big day. A coordinator gives the couple piece of mind so they can enjoy their day and be present rather than worrying if the tables are set up properly, the desserts put out or the candles lit… Also, little hiccups do often happen at weddings and having a coordinator means those will be solved without the couple ever knowing about them. All they need to do is focus on saying “I do”!
When couples hire a wedding planner, how much or how little are they involved in the planning process?
As little or as much as they want to be. Each couple is different! Some couples may say “I have a $20,000 budget and I want a rustic wedding” and then let me do everything on my own. Other couples may show me the photography style they like and I will go find 5 photographers that meet their style/budget and they choose from there. It is totally up to the couple and there is no right or wrong way!
What tips could you give to newly engaged couples who are starting to plan their wedding day?
The biggest tip I can give a couple when starting to plan is to first ENJOY the process! Your engagement period is such a special time… remember that all of this planning is leading you to say “I do” , and that is what really matters! I encourage couples to take a few weeks after getting engaged to soak in all the love they are feeling. When the time comes to start planning, begin by figuring out a budget and prioritize what is important to them. Do you want your food to be unique? Do you want amazing décor? Is photography the most important thing to you? Do you want a party atmosphere at the reception? Figuring out these questions, early on, will give the couple some good direction on planning their perfect wedding day!
About Kirsten and Simply Elegant Affairs
“I got my Bachelors in Human Development and Family Science. My degree equipped me with strong interpersonal skills, and strengthened my passion and desire of helping others. I currently live in Elizabethtown, PA with my amazing husband and my four fur babies. I have a natural gift of organization and planning which was a big part of what led me to get into the wedding industry.”
DON’T MISS OUT: Kirsten is offering 10% off to anyone who books by November 30th and mentions the blog!