When You'd Rather Not… Hire a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator

If you're not familiar with my "When You'd Rather Not…" series, I encourage you to read the backstory and see which other wedding resources I've covered.

A friend tricked me into becoming a day-of wedding coordinator. She, kindly, asked if I would be willing to help with her wedding. I, naively, agreed.

It was during the reception — after setting up folding chairs in my rented designer dress, bursting into the kitchen to correct the menu, and getting hit on by a limo driver — that people started asking if I was getting paid.

"Are you a professional day-of coordinator?" the florist asked. "A what?" I replied, sweat staining my Rent the Runway ensemble. "A day-of coordinator," the photographer chimed in. "You're really good at this. People would hire you."

Dazed by my first wedding, I didn't register that last part. It took a couple months. "People would hire you," they'd said. OK, let's see.

That's the not exactly romantic origin story of my business. It's also what I tell any new client. I then add this caveat: "It's really weird people hire me to do this."

Not every wedding needs a day-of coordinator. Below are the resources that I share with those who aren't interested in hiring one.

Try TaskRabbit

I recently had a woman contact me about a 25-person wedding. She needed someone to pick up cake and a rented guitar, oversee room setup, herd guests, and manage music from a Bluetooth speaker.

It sounded awesome but, unfortunately, I wasn't free. So I told her to try TaskRabbit.

For those unfamiliar with the service, you hire a "Tasker" for a specific errand or chore. (A Tasker is a person who's willing to do said task for money.) Full disclosure: I've never tried it myself but have read plenty of success stories; TaskRabbit even promotes their service as the ultimate alternative to hiring a coordinator. 

There's risk here, of course. The TaskRabbit app is riddled with bad reviews written by people who didn't like their Tasker. But for those who did, the experience sounds like a good one. "I love this app and I tell everyone about it!" wrote one user. "Avoid by all means," said another.

Regardless, using TaskRabbit can save you a ton of money so it may be worth the risk if the functions you need done on your wedding day are more "busy weekend" than "biggest party of my life."

Pick a friend

This is the most common alternative to hiring a day-of coordinator. You're looking for that friend who's organized, quick on the uptake, and guaranteed to reply first on a text thread.

Often, asking said person to be your day-of coordinator works. (And you're welcome to give them a running start with these free wedding planning templates.) There are, however, two downsides.

First, "hiring" a friend can make your relationship weird. Your dynamic goes from peers to "I may need to boss you around sometimes for your own good." That works for some people. For others, it can add tension to what should be a fun occasion.

Second, day-of coordinators are not looking to have a good time at your wedding; we're there to work. Meanwhile, a friend may want to actually enjoy your wedding and perhaps even talk to the guests (who are probably also their friends). One benefit of a day-of coordinator: You're paying me to stay sober.

Still, asking a friend is guaranteed to be more affordable. Plus, it can bring you closer together. The woman who asked me to help with her wedding is one of my closest friends, much in part because of the memories only she and I share about what it took to pull the whole thing off.

Have a smaller wedding

The average wedding I work has between eight and 10 vendors. Add in the wedding party and the family — often between 10 to 20 people — and you're looking at a group of nearly 30.

That's where a day-of coordinator comes in. They act as the point person for all involved. The quickest way to not need a day-of coordinator? Invite fewer people.

Easier said than done, I know. But consider this: The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $35,329. An estimated 80 percent of that is spent on venue and food. The size of both depends on how many people you invite. Ask fewer people to attend and you can book a smaller place and order less food.

You'll also have fewer people to coordinate, which makes it far less likely you'll need to pay someone to do it for you.

Am I talking myself out of a job?

Maybe. The weddings I work are weddings, but they're also Events. They've got 130+ guests, a dozen or so vendors, and a variety of quirks. They need someone who's not the main attraction to manage everything. 

This isn't everyone's situation. It shouldn't be everyone's situation. People should have the weddings they want. If those weddings need a person like me, great. If they don't, still great. Either way, you're doing the thing that matters: celebrating love.

Have something to share? Email me at elisabeth@elisabethkramer.com