A weekend in the life of a wedding coordinator

People often tell me how fun my job must be!  It seems that there’s a misconception that day-of coordination is all champagne and dance party time….  I love what I do (or I wouldn’t do it!), but it’s certainly not easy.  There is a lot of hard work that goes into day-of coordination- from the physical work of helping make the space beautiful and the running from space to space for hours to the human element of helping people navigate an emotionally exhausting day.  Not to mention all the work in the weeks leading up to the event, but that’s a whole other post.  In the meantime, I thought it would be nice to give you all a glimpse into what my life is like on a wedding weekend.

Friday
9am – 3pm spend the day at my desk fielding emails and checking in with vendors for tomorrow’s wedding.

3:00-4:30 get ready & drive to the venue for 5:30pm rehearsal.

4:30-5pm quick meeting with venue coordinator to review schedule for tomorrow.

5:00-5:15pm quick run-through of the ceremony with the Officiant.

5:15pm Meet & greet bridal party.  Get on the good side of the flower girl by bribing her with cookies & stickers for a job well done.

5:30pm begin the rehearsal – line up and cue bridal party, instruct parents, VIPs and readers where to sit.  Sound check.  Answer any questions that bridal party/parents have.

6:15pm leave rehearsal

7:00pm arrive home and edit ceremony time line adding slight changes that were made during rehearsal.  Print copies of revised vows & readings.  Email hairstylist, makeup artist and photographer with the hotel room number for tomorrow.

8:00pm check emergency kit, pack my bag and load the car for tomorrow.

9:00pm dinner with my husband followed by some ZZZZZZZs.

Saturday
7:30am – wake up, check email. Answer a last minute question from a groomsman.  Receive email from mother of the bride re: a last minute cancellation – update the seating chart, the place card list & inform the caterer.   Review the Best Man’s speech that he emailed me late last night (make sure the content is appropriate – it is, yay!), print a copy for him.  Shower & get ready.

9:30am Pick up bagels and drive to hotel.  Make sure that the bridal party eats something!   Hair & makeup artists arrive – help them get set-up.

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Photo by Richard B. Flores

10:30am Drive to the venue & unload items that I picked up from my clients two days ago – ceremony artifacts, place cards, menus, etc.  Put hospitality baskets in the restrooms.

11:00am Rentals arrive.  Oversee load-in and inform delivery crew what goes where.  I arrange the first row of ceremony chairs so that the set-up crew can follow my lead.

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Personal photo.

12:00pm Caterer arrives.  Oversee load-in.

12:30pm Check in with florist & make sure personal flowers have been delivered to hotel.  (They have & the florist is on her way, yay!).  Unpack the linens and help the set up crew put them on the tables so the florist can start putting out centerpieces right away. Make sure that the right number of chairs are set at each dinner table.

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Photo by Sandeep Ingale

1:00pm Florist arrives.  Oversee load-in.

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Personal photo.

2:00pm Set up place cards, and call photographer to make sure she got to the hotel OK.

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Photo by Tony Yang

2:30pm Now that the florist is done with the ceremony area, I unpack & set up ceremony items.  Set out programs & guest book.  Give ceremony space the once over – it’s all set.  Hooray!

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Photo by Sandeep Ingale

2:55pm Hear a loud crash.  Uh-oh.  Go investigate.

3:00-3:30pm Find that the crash was caused by one of the catering staff dropping a stack of dinner plates.  Delegate someone to clean up the shards & someone else to head to the back to get another stack of dishes.  Calm down the young staff member who is on the verge of tears, feeling awful for dropping dishes – am thankful we always order extras!  Receive a call from the shuttle driver – he’s at the hotel and waiting for the bridal party.  Call the hotel rooms & let them know.  Start setting out the menus and table numbers.  And then quickly change out of my setup clothes!

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Photo by Visual Appeal Studios

3:45pm Greet bridal party.  Show my couple the ceremony & reception space.  Oversee photo shoot – grabbing bridesmaids & groomsmen as necessary.

4:00pm Ceremony musicians arrive.  Help them get situated & let them warm up.  Check in with the caterer to ensure that everything is on track and that the bar is stocked and the larder set up for cocktail hour.  It is, thankfully!

4:30pm Check in with bus driver – he’s at the hotel and ready to load guests.  Let the bridal party & photographers know that the guests will be arriving shortly.

4:40pm Do a quick walkthrough of the entire space, making sure that everything is set.  Light candles in ceremony space.  Make sure that ushers are in place and remember what to do.

4:45pm Guests begin to arrive.  Greet them, answer questions.  Help a guest in a wheel chair get settled.

5:00pm Give the bridal party a 15-minute warning.  Now’s the time to use the rest room & freshen up – the show’s about to start.  Make sure the Officiant is set & has everything he needs.

5:20pm Line up the bridal party.  Remind flower girl that I have more cookies and stickers for her.  Give everyone a once over and make sure no one is chewing any gum.

5:25pm Give the musicians a 5 minute warning.

5:30pm Cue the musicians, and start the processional.

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Photo by Sandeep Ingale

6:00pm Cry a little as the couple says their vows, and then head to the cocktail hour space to make sure the caterer is ready to go.  Start the iPod.  Head back to ceremony.  Clear the cards out of the card basket & put them in the bridal suite.

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Personal photo.

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Personal photo.

6:15pm It’s official – my couple is married!  Congratulate them & then direct the guests to cocktail hour.

6:20pm DJ arrives.  Show him where to set up.

6:30pm Bustle the bride’s dress

6:45pm Check in on cocktail hour & make sure caterer is running on schedule and that the salads are being plated in time to be preset.

6:55pm Move the card basket, guestbook and ceremony flowers into the reception space.

7:00pm Oversee presetting of salads & make sure all the candles are lit and the DJ is ready to warm up the room.

7:10pm Sew a button back on to a groomsman’s suit.

7:15pm Begin to usher guests into the reception space.  Help guests find their seats.

7:30pm Line up bridal party for introductions and cue the DJ for introductions & first dance.

7:45pm Make sure that all of the champagne is poured, and then cue the DJ for toasts.

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Photo by Richard B. Flores

8:00pm Check in with the kitchen to make sure dinner is on time.

8:15pm Cue parent dances

8:20pm Clear the gifts & put them in the bridal suite.

8:30pm Once dinner is served to guests, I make sure that the vendor meals are ready.  Advise DJ and photographers that they should break for dinner.  I join them for a quick bite to eat.  Mmmm.  Refueling!

9:15pm While guests are dancing, check the restrooms, make sure the hospitality baskets are still well stocked & that toilet paper has been refilled & room is maintained.  Check in with the couple & parents to make sure everything is going well.

9:20pm Call a car service for a couple who needs to leave early.

10:00pm Give the caterer, DJ, the couple, the parents & the bridal party a 15 minute heads up to cake cutting/bride & groom remarks.

10:15pm Cue the cake cutting & couple’s remarks.

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Photo by Kate Triano

10:30pm Start packing up the ceremony items and straightening up the bridal suite.

10:45pm Check in with the bus driver to ensure that he’s on schedule for 11pm pickup.  He is.  Confirm that the DJ will make the announcement in 5 minutes that the first shuttle is leaving at 11pm.

11:00pm  Check in with the driver – give him the green light to take the first group of guests back to the hotel and return for the 11:30pm pickup.

11:05pm Hand out final payments/gratuities to vendors.  Ask the caterer to pack up a few to-go containers of food & dessert for the couple.

11:15pm Give the DJ a 10 minute heads up to the end of the reception.  Let him know to make an announcement about the 11:30pm final bus after the last dance.

11:30pm Make sure that everyone is on the bus and give the driver the all clear to leave.

11:35pm Do a sweep of the reception space for left behind items.  Find a pair of glasses and a tie.  Put them in a bag for the couple to take.  Also package up the remainder of the couple’s items – cake knife, guest book, etc.

11:45pm Say good bye to the couple & remaining bridal party members.  Hugs all around!

12:00pm Oversee florist, caterer & DJ breakdown and load-out.

1:15am All finished!  Time to head home, ice my ankles and get some sleep!

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2 thoughts on “A weekend in the life of a wedding coordinator

  1. Pingback: It's The Bride In Me – A weekend in the life of a wedding coordinator | LVR Events

  2. I don’t see anything about holding up a huppah that decides to fall over 5 minutes before the ceremony! You do an amazing job Meg. Thank you.

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