Why should you hire a Professional Wedding Coordinator for your wedding? Or maybe a better sentence is; Why you should hire a Professional Wedding Coordinator for your wedding day.
I always recommend a Professional Wedding Coordinator for a ceremony, unless it’s super small but even then it still might be a good idea. With it being just these two in the photo with me, no Professional Wedding Coordinator was needed. But I’ve had many ceremonies with just the couple and they had a Professional Wedding Coordinator.
Imagine you have to leave your work for a day and a temporary worker shows up to do your job. More than likely they won’t know the ins and outs of your job. The question is when you go back to work will you still have a job? 😉
Let’s say your parent or sibling or best friend or matron/maid of honor wants to do it or you ask them to do it. What happens if they don’t do a good job? Or shows up late? Or doesn’t see your vision? Maybe that person is intimidated by a person’s title such as grandmother or aunt. How well will they do? For some it will be okay, for others it might be a disaster.
To have a family member or friend do some of those duties would be to have them double dip, if you will. I once had a father of the bride, who was a photographer be the photographer at his daughters wedding. The problem was he couldn’t enjoy being the Father of the Bride because he had two duties. He couldn’t walk her down the aisle and take photos. So he set up an automatic camera – but he still was worried about that when he walked her down the aisle (he told me that after the wedding.) He couldn’t do both things 100%.
I would say, regardless of the venue, that a separate professional wedding coordinator be hired. I suggested that to couples at any venue. I’m sure the event coordinator can do the job but they also have two jobs: getting you down the aisle and making sure the venue is set up right, making sure the food is right, etc. Another way to look at it is the Professional Wedding Coordinator will have your sole interest at heart, they could/would be your personal assistant.
When my son gets married (or if he does) I wouldn’t want two jobs: father of the groom and officiant or to be the father of the groom and coordinator.
Who wouldn’t want to get married in Savannah? It’s got charm, character, and characters too. It has beauty, history, historic buildings, massive live oak trees which produce beautiful canopies in our parks and squares. Not many cities in the world have as many trees as we do. Sure many have more history, but not the majestic trees and homes!
Recently I did a wedding about 90 minutes from Savannah. Here’s a photo using my iPhone in the panoramic view.
It’s in the middle of a field, in the middle part of Georgia and it’s beautiful!
Yet, as beautiful as it is, in my opinion it doesn’t compare to the following photo.
I’ve had couples in the past ask if they could have a ceremony start at the 1/4 hour or 3/4 hour rather than the hour or 1/2 hour. And some have asked if they could start at the 5 minutes past the hour time because they wanted a few more minutes to makes sure everything ran smoothly.
Why does 15 minutes makes a difference in the start time? Start time in the contract is defined as follows:
“Start Time of Wedding” is defined as the time the minister and wedding party are all “in place and up front” including the couple.
There’s already a 12 minute built in window of time in the contract to make sure everyone is down the aisle.
If the wedding and/or rehearsal hasn’t started 12 minutes after the contractual start time, the wedding officiant reserves the right to cancel this agreement, without any recourse. It is very unfortunate that I have to have this section added, yet some recent weddings/rehearsals have started nearly an hour late.
Couples who don’t have ceremonies start on the hour or half hour take up two wedding time slots.
For example: If you put down 6:15pm on the contract, you contractually have till 6:27 to have me start the “dearly beloved, etc.) portion. Worse case scenario is that it ends 15-20 minutes later, say at 6:45pm. That will make me late to a 7pm wedding. Therefore your ceremony could potentially take up two wedding times, hence the additional fee. That is the reason for the time having to start on the hour or half-hour. I have to do worse case scenarios 😦
Unfortunately, as much as I love doing weddings, I still have to support my family and with this economy every dollar counts. I’ve struggled with this over the years and still do struggle with it. My contract has evolved over the years. At first, I never addressed people starting late. Then it used to say that for every minute the ceremony starts late there is a $25 fee which had to be paid prior to me signing the license. However, I could never get anyone to pay that. So instead, I replaced that with the 12 minute window of start time.
This is probably way to much information to you, and I apologize. I just wanted you to know the reasons for the $200 fee.
Last week I cut firewood left over from Hurricane Matthew (Oct.2016). This week I’m burning it in the fireplace to help keep my home warm, plus it looks nice!
Sometimes I have to do projects around the house: paint; dig a trench; mow the lawn, paint (intentionally twice cause I seem to paint a lot!); clean; handyman; and typical home owner duties.
I’m an Uber and Lyft driver just for fun. But not sure it’s fun when people leave my car dirty 😦
Three to four times a week (on the average) the local Y sees me working out doing TRX, circuit training, and sometimes yoga.
I do Short Term Vacation Rental out of the carriage house on the back of my property. Its a daily laundry and cleaning duty.
And I’m a pastor of a small Lutheran Church about 10 minutes from downtown Savannah. In 1994 I started there and soon will be celebrating my 25th anniversary. Doesn’t seem possible that I’ve been there that long, until I look at pictures of me from when I first arrived there and see that I have dark hair 😦
Recently a bride was extremely upset with me because five minutes after the ceremony was to start, while the photographer was still taking photos of the couple, and none of the 10 people in the bridal party were lined up, with no professional wedding coordinator, and after finding the couple on the opposite side of the venue, and telling her she looked lovely and that it was nice to finally meet her, I had the audacity to say to her the wedding needed to start.
She didn’t appear to be upset at the time. It was only after I received notice of a review from her that I knew she was upset with me.
Who is accountable for starting the ceremony at the agreed upon start time? That is now a question on my contract which every couple needs to answer with the name and phone number of the person accountable for making sure it starts on time.
My contract is because of bad experiences I’ve had in the past. Everything in my contract is from bad/awkward experiences with couples. I haven’t updated it in a while, in fact the last time was 18 months ago; it states the couple needs to have the ceremony choice, and any changes to it to me at least 7 days prior to the wedding or I get to use the Simple Ceremony from my site.
The reason being is that 10 minutes before the ceremony started in January of 2016 a bride sent me the email with her custom ceremony. It didn’t flow well, I didn’t have time to edit it, or even had time time to properly read it. All because of this one bad experience, I changed my contract again.
Today I’ve changed my contract because of another unpleasant experience. Not only unpleasant, but the couple gave me a 3 out of 5 star review. In her review she even stated I “did a good job on the short ceremony” but that I was rude to her prior to the ceremony. Her review number was based only on my alleged “rudeness” to her.
In the review just prior to this 3 star, the bride raved about my attention to detail and my professionalism.
*Please note what I didn’t add to my response to this bride was the following, because I was limited on character count. But I thought the reader needs to know this:
•The bride was slow to respond to me. She normally took 2-4 days to answer any of my emails, while I responded to her emails the same day;
•Since the couple didn’t hire me for the rehearsal, she wanted to meet me the Monday morning at 9 am prior to her Friday wedding. They lived around the corner from downtown coffee shop. They weren’t there at 9 am. At 9:10ish the groom finally came in. The bride never did show for our meeting. The groom was there for about 15 minutes.
Below was the response to her:
I’m glad that Ms. Chelsee D. wrote this review. It reminds me that what some people call rude other people call it paying attention to details and being professional.
According to the contract Ms. Chelsee D. signed, the ceremony was to start at 5pm using a short ceremony dialogue.
Since the couple chose not to hire a professional wedding coordinator, they had the venue’s Event Planner, whom was also the DJ taking that extra role, so it wasn’t necessarily an issue if the ceremony started on time or not because he was getting paid to be there during the entire event.
At 5:05 pm I asked someone where the bride was and then I walked to the other side of the venue where the photographer was still photographing the couple. A professional photographer should have paid attention to details and made sure that her job didn’t cause the ceremony to start late and for the guests to wait unnecessarily in the heat.
It was a hot and humid day, and the bride needed to touch up her makeup before the ceremony began, which she did after a few more photos by the photographer. The photographer was hired for hours, so it did not matter to her what time the ceremony started.
Unfortunately, as much as I would love to be able to delay the start of a ceremony as needed, it does matter to me that the ceremony start on time, which is why I have in my contract where I clearly state that if the ceremony hasn’t started with “Dearly beloved…” or something similar by the time agreed on the contract, that I can cancel the agreement at 12 minutes past the agreed upon start time. Every couple has to agree to that when they sign my contract, and no one has ever crossed it off.
The reason I can’t delay the start of a ceremony is because it would not be fair to the couple and guests of my next wedding that I am late to their wedding because the wedding prior started late; I am sure Ms. Chelsee D wouldn’t have been happy with me if I had showed up late to her wedding.
In the conversation with the bride, after telling her how beautiful she looked and that it was nice to finally meet her, I believe I said, “Unfortunately, I am the only vendor not hired by the hour. So we will need to start the ceremony.” That is the coordinator’s job, not mine to start to get people lined up and start the processional. It’s not my job to even approach the couple about starting. Would you ask the musicians to line people up? How about the photographer?
There were about 10 people in the wedding party. I didn’t notice anyone lined up and ready to walk down the aisle when I spoke to the bride at 5:05pm.
I find it very unfair and in poor taste that Ms. Chelsee D. chose to use pejorative words to describe my professionalism and work ethics, and giving me a 3 star review.
After over 6000 weddings I have successfully performed throughout the years, I have learned that it is of ultimate importance for weddings to start on time, for many reasons, otherwise why have a contract?
I have married over 12,000 people and they have agreed to the 12 minute clause. If a couple cannot agree to it, then it would be best if they have a different officiant as I don’t want the next couple waiting on me and then give me a bad review because I showed up late. I’m sure Ms. Chelsee D. wouldn’t have wanted me to show up late to her ceremony because the previous bride was still taking pictures with her photographer.
I’ve worked with hundreds of photographers over the years and most of them have a timeline to which they stick. Many are down to the minute. However with this photographer I never saw a timeline.
It would be easy to blame the unprofessional photographer for not being a detailed person. But I won’t. I stand by my contract and reasons behind it.
If given me a 3 star review is because of the photographer’s lack of professionalism, I can handle that.
Lastly, the bride is a nurse. I would hope she pays attention to details when given patients medications and treatments.
Why is it when I pay attention to details I’m called rude, but when she pays attention to details she isn’t rude as she is helping keep a patient alive?
Not to be flippant but why hire a professional photographer when a friend has a phone, maybe even a camera?
Why hire a caterer when a friend has a kitchen?
Why hire a florist when you can get flowers at the store?
Why hire a professional when a friend can do it?
Recently a very popular and beautiful wedding venue in Savannah told me about a “horrible” (their words not mine) experience with a guy who went online and “got” ordained just to officiate the ceremony of people he didn’t know but hired him for their ceremony.
At the ceremony he went on and on for 10+ minutes about another couple from another state. He’s a great story teller and the story was interesting but it didn’t fit with this couple’s wedding day! And the ceremony was over 30 minutes in length, nearly a 1/3rd was a story that didn’t even fit the wedding.
Simply because someone goes online and gets ordained for a minimal cost, doesn’t make them qualified to preside at a wedding. It makes them legally able to officiate a ceremony, that’s different!
Here are things which 99% of officiants don’t know and are important for a great ceremony!
Have a good quality handkerchief for either the grooms perspiration or the bride’s tears, or both! I’ve given away hundreds of them over the years, maybe even 500.
I know the best way to have exchange of rings go absolutely smoothly! I should patten it!
Listen for the pauses when the couple repeat their vows. It’s important to listen for their emotions when they speak, listen don’t rush.
How loudly should I speak during the ceremony if they don’t want a microphone for me?
No stories off the cuff! The ceremony dialogue is known ahead of time by the couple.
Who stands first when the bride walks in?
Is an aisle runner a good idea?
What to do during awkward moments?
The wedding ceremony is not from the bible. “Jesus was a guest at a wedding the Cana of Galilee” is about the best one can do other than the readings often read at weddings.
Let me know what questions you have about hiring the right officiant for your ceremony. You don’t even have to hire me to officiate your ceremony. I don’t mind helping!