Having an amazing team of professionals to help your wedding run smoothly is incredibly important. The very best pros will not only get the job done well, but work together with the other vendors to create your perfect day. Even if unexpected hurdles come up, they will have the experience and knowledge to work around any situation and still create magic.
We absolutely adore the wedding vendors we work with, and after years of photographing weddings of all sizes and styles one thing has become very clear – your day will run more smoothly if all of your vendors have a great plan to work with!
There has been a fairly recent trend circulating around that encourages couples to skip hiring a wedding planner or to just have a family friend (or bridesmaid, mom, 3rd cousin twice removed, etc) handle all of the coordination the day of the wedding, but from experience I can confidently tell you that there is just no substitute for working with someone who knows how to get things done right from the start!
I asked Krystal Wigfield of KMW Events to give us some insight into how she helps couples create their best day ever:
1. How did you become interested in wedding coordination?
By complete accident! I had a friend in the catering world who had been telling me for years that I would be a good planner so one day I decided to tag along with her to a wedding. The rest is history!
2. What is your favorite part of your job?
The connections I make with my couples. I love the fact that I still have several previous clients in my life as friends now. I taught myself how to be a planner by asking “What would my bride/groom want me to do?”. It’s only natural that I develop relationships with them during the planning process. It’s soooo important to me that my clients know I represent them and their best interests. In order to do so, I have to get to know them as people, not just clients.
3. Is there anything in the industry that you would like to see change?
More transparency. I have a couple different package options when working with me so depending on which package the couple chooses to hire me with, I could be stepping in to help 2 to 3 months prior to the wedding day. At this point, most vendors have already been hired and the couple is close to maxing out the budget; then I come on board and sometimes find that they didn’t hire the correct service from these vendors. Or that they need more time, or more equipment, you name it. This costs the couple more money and stress and I get to be the one that delivers the bad news. It would be awesome if we all took a little more time in the consultation process to really understand what the couples need before handing them a list of services. To be fair, couples don’t always know what they need when they start the hiring process so this doesn’t all hang on the vendors. We are the professionals and education is key! They’ve never done this before and don’t know what they don’t know.
4. Is there a difference between a wedding planner, coordinator, and day-of coordinator? If so, what?
YES, absolutely! Here’s how I break it down:
Planner– helps you plan your wedding (when to hire your vendors, who to hire, key things to look for during the interview process, education of priorities and traditions, logistical planner, etc.)
Designer- helps you design your aesthetic vision of the wedding (color scheme, wedding party attire, table scapes, signage, linens, etc.)
Coordinator- helps to coordinate the plans and designs you’ve already taken care of
Day-of Coordinator- someone who comes in the day of or the week of your wedding and you hand over the plans. I don’t personally know anyone who does this service as a strict “only working for you on the day of” package. Most of the time, it’s still a “coordination” service that is just labeled “Day-of”.
5. What is one thing that you wish couples knew about hiring a wedding planner or coordinator?
Hiring a coordinator is always a good idea. Really take some time to think about who will be doing what on the wedding day.. How many times did you say “Mom” in your head? Or Aunt? Or So and So? These people are likely the first ones to pop in your head because you know they LOVE you and will do anything to make sure your day is perfect. In return, these are also the people you likely want to be by your side the entire day. They won’t be in the bridal suite getting their hair and makeup done with you if they have to be setting up your decorations and greeting your vendors. Hire someone to take care of those tasks so YOU can celebrate with those you love the most.
When it comes to a wedding planner, there are different levels of service. Everyone has “package options” that you can choose from and most will create customized packages for you of the items you want help with. You don’t have to go with a Full Service + Design Package, you can just get planning assistance throughout your process. I feel that a lot of people shy away from hiring planners from the beginning because they don’t think they need that level of service or don’t know that they can afford it. As mentioned before, if you don’t have someone to coach you along the way, you could find yourself in a real pickle when you get to two months before the wedding and almost over budget.
6. How do you keep everyone on task throughout the wedding day?
Constant communication. If I don’t feel like I’ve ran a marathon after a wedding day, I wonder if I gave my full effort in keeping everyone in the loop. Each vendor needs to know what the next step is and if that will be taken on time according to the timeline we developed. I’d love to say that all of my weddings run perfectly according to timeline but that would be a lie. It’s still a day and things don’t always go just right. You really have to pay attention to how your guests are reacting to their experience, how your couple is handling the timing of everything and how your vendors are doing as well. Catering may need a few more minutes to make sure the food is perfect, the photographer may look at the lighting and want 5 more minutes because they can’t pass up a good shot, the guests may be getting antsy and need to move on more quickly. You never know what the day could bring, but stellar communication with everyone involved is key.
7. What do you feel is the most important thing to consider when putting together an event timeline?
The experience… both your experience as the couple getting married AND the experience of your guests. Do you want to make sure all big events such as dinner, cake cutting, specialty dances are completed before opening the dance floor or do you want to slow it down a little? If you want to have an hour and a half for pictures, what does that mean for your guests, what do they do during that time? Is changing your dress half way through the dance party important enough to miss 30 minutes of dancing when you only have an hour and half? Do you actually have time to eat and will you eat enough to maintain your energy through the dance party? There are no wrong answers to these questions (well, maybe to the eating one, you have to eat!) BUT it’s important that they are discussed and decided on. I’ve seen so many different situations that I like to over communicate so that there aren’t any big surprises on the day.
8. Who are some of your favorite vendors to work with?
Nicole Woods Photography! 🙂 There are so many incredible vendors in our industry that it’s hard to name just a few. I refer clients to vendors that work well within their style and budget so it’s very customized. I will say that I select vendors based on their professionalism, demeanor, and execution. When it comes to other planners out there, I look up to companies such as 36th Street Events, Pearl Events, Highland Avenue, In Her Shoes Coordination and Heavenly Day Events. There are a TON more that are wonderful but those are who I want to be when I grow up.
9. What characteristics do you look for when recommending a vendor to clients?
I’ll elaborate on the above.
Professionalism- good communication skills, quick response times, clear and accurate documents, and easy to navigate invoicing.
Demeanor- respectful, courteous, and above all else, kind. Kindness and generosity of time is a big thing for me. I don’t expect every vendor to spend hours on the phone or in meetings but I do want the vendors that I refer to have a desire to build a relationship with my clients as I do. These vendors are with the clients all day on the biggest day of their lives; I’d rather my couples not spend that time with complete strangers.
Execution- You gotta be able to execute. If you can’t show up on the wedding day and bring an amazing work ethic, positive attitude and an impeccable service, then I can’t refer you. You must be TEAM WEDDING, not Team DJ or Team Catering. It takes a village to execute incredible weddings and no one vendor can do it alone.
10. What trends have you noticed lately, and/or what trends should we be looking for in the upcoming seasons?
THIS IS A FUN ONE!
Here’s what I’m thinking:
Bright colors – Colors are coming back! For a long time, we saw a heavy emphasis on neutrals with greenery. Lots of blushes, whites, tans, etc. I think we will start to see a rise of color, specifically in the coral family and blue hues. I’m hoping/really thinking jewel tones will start to take over come fall!
Plants and grasses for decor- Pampas grass is trending heavy right now in the floral world. Pampas grass was previously treating as bohemian vibe; however, we are starting to see it incorporated in more lux weddings. As our world becomes inundated with eco-friendly/conscious (yay!) we will start to see more potted plants coming into the scene. Not only do they create an awesome ambiance, they are less wasteful!
Coordinating wedding party attire, not identical– I’m seeing less and less identical wedding party attire out there. Instead, couples are opting to choose a color scheme and letting the members run with it. This has been happening for a little while now and I’m loving it! One of my brides and I just selected 4 different shades of blue for her 13 bridesmaids. The colors coordinate beautifully and will add so much dimension to the formal photos! This allows the ones purchasing the attire to really select something they like and will wear again in the future. It’s always fun to add in prints/texture to the mix as well.
11. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Don’t expect wedding planning to be all puppy dogs and rainbows because it’s not. BUT it shouldn’t be something you loathe doing. If you’re really dreading the process, ask someone for help; even if that means just having a consultation with a planner. You will find that there are some things you just really do not want to do or don’t know how to do and that’s where a professional can step in. Getting professionals involved will help you actually like your wedding. I absolutely HATED planning my own wedding… yep, I said it. I love planning for everyone else but did not enjoy my experience at all. It’s a long story (hurricanes were involved) but ultimately, I should have hired a planner. Being engaged is an incredible time in your life.. Seriously, someone just asked YOU to spend the rest of their lives with you.. That’s huge and should be celebrated! Don’t let the stress of planning a wedding diminish your joy. A wedding planner cannot take all your stress away due to emotions, families, and what have you. What we can do, is help you navigate all of that and get you to a wedding day that is a representation of love and happiness, not anxiety and “let’s just get this over with”-ness.
Krystal Wigfield – KMW Events