In this blog I’ll give you a 5 step process to have a friend successfully coordinate your wedding. The best-case scenario is that you hire a coordinator, but if you cannot do that because of availability or budget, you CAN have a friend coordinate your wedding. But you, the couple, must do the groundwork beforehand to set your friend up for success.
Step 1: Pick the RIGHT friend.
The coordinator friend CANNOT also be a guest at the wedding. If they are, they won’t be able to successfully do this job. So choose someone who would not expect to be invited to your wedding, but cares about you and would enjoy lending a hand. Maybe your best friend’s sister, your mom’s friend from work, or some other friend of a friend that would not be offended that you are not asking them to be a guest at the wedding. Before you ask them, watch this video till the end so that you know exactly what you are asking them to do! Because you want to be very clear about the job. Try to really narrow your focus with this. A coordinator is different from a wedding decorator, a style consultant, a planner, or any other type of vendor. Her job is not to cut the cake, but make sure it gets cut, not to set up the decorations, but to know where they go, not to hire the vendors, but to know who they are, when they are supposed to show up and what they are supposed to do. Asking a friend to do more than one of these roles is too much to ask, but having them take on the role of coordinator only can work.
Step 2: Organization is the ONLY way.
Step 2 is to stay organized as you plan. Keep an electronic or hard copy file with all the details for every vendor. Contracts, pictures of the cake, floor plans, style ideas, any specifics about timeframes, setup and delivery information, all of that.. organize all those for yourself. Then, about a month before the wedding, sort through that and pull just the most current contracts and details. Use tabs to organize by vendor type and be ready to hand that off to the coordinator-friend.
Step 3: Have a GREAT timeline.
Step 3 Is to create a robust and accurate timeline with specific duties for the coordinator. If you hire a coordinator, they’ll handle this. If you are having a friend coordinate, you the couple must create the timeline. Include everything that the vendors are doing so she can keep track of the flow of the day and help get things back on track if they get behind. Also, include a list of all the vendors with the contact person and phone number for the wedding day. Make sure you have the day of contact number. Many companies give you the business hours phone number, but that won’t work if something goes wrong on wedding day. We offer a timeline creation service for clients that are not using our coordination or planning services. We provide a detailed form with all the questions needed to create a thorough timeline and vendor list. From there we’ll create the timeline for you in a Google Sheets format that you can edit yourself as needed. Remember when you create the timeline, you’ll need to consult with each vendor to make sure load in, delivery, and all the special moments work for their needs. Don’t wait till the wedding day to find out that your timeline doesn’t work for one of the vendors. For tips on creating your own timeline, check out this video. Remember to take the time to introduce your coordinator to your vendor team over email and let them know she’ll be the contact on the wedding day. Give them her cell phone number.
Step 4: Final walk through.
Step 4 is to schedule a final walk-through at the venue, and make sure your coordinator friend can attend. There you’ll give her a copy of your detailed layouts and review any setup plans, but remember she is your coordinator not your decorator. If you need someone to set up decorations, ask a different person so that the coordinator can focus on her jobs. This meeting should happen in the week or two before the wedding. After you review how everything should be set up, also discuss the flow of the event. Show her how you want to walk down the aisle, where you want to take pictures, where you want to do your first dance, show her where all the special events should happen. Then once you have finished reviewing layout and flow, take some time to review the timeline in detail and share exactly what you need your coordinator friend to do.
Step 5: Prepare your coordinator for the REHEARSAL.
Step 5 prepare your friend for the rehearsal. If you are having your ceremony at a church you may be able to have the church handle this. Some venues assist with it too. But usually it’s up to the couple to have an officiant or coordinator run the rehearsal. Send your friend this video on exactly how to run a rehearsal.
It really comes down to choosing the right person, giving them the right information, creating a robust and accurate timeline, communicating your wishes in person, and making sure you have a solid plan for the rehearsal. If you can get those things together, it is possible to have a successful experience with a non professional wedding coordinator.
Thank you for reading, and happy wedding planning!