Venue Coordinator versus Day-of Coordinator

Since we started requiring a day-of coordinator for all of our weddings, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about the difference between a venue coordinator and a day-of coordinator.

Venue Coordinator

A venue coordinator’s first priority is the venue. His or her first job is to make sure everything is ready for your arrival: tables & chairs set, getting ready rooms stocked, lights on, bathrooms stocked, parking signs out, etc. The venue coordinator is on-call, but not always onsite. Generally, a venue coordinator does not get involved with executing the timeline, getting your bridal party ready to start the ceremony, and so on.

Here at the Mill, we cannot guarantee that your venue contact on your wedding day will be Shalese or Robert or even someone you’ve met before. It could be anyone that WE trust to serve the venue & make sure that everything about our space is ready to serve you.

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Day-of Coordinator

The title “day-of” coordinator is a BIT misleading! A day-of coordinator is more like a month-of coordinator. This person will help you create a detailed timeline for the big day and share that timeline with your other vendors. He or she will work with your other vendors to make sure the schedule for the day suits their needs as well as your own. You might meet with your “day-of” coordinator a few times before your wedding day to discuss details and make sure everyone is on the same page.

On your wedding day, your day-of coordinator is an extension of yourself. He or she is there to execute your vision and make sure the day runs as smoothly as possible. Here are some of the duties that your coordinator will perform before and during the wedding:

  • Coordinating rehearsal

  • Placing event decor (centerpieces, escort cards, signs, etc.)

  • Providing full day wedding day itinerary & timeline

  • Coordinating with other vendors (florist, caterer, lighting, photographer, etc.)

  • Gathering family for special photos, dances, toasts, etc.

  • Introducing wedding party, call tables, make announcements (as needed)

  • Distributing final vendor payments & tips

  • Getting gifts into the right car

  • Packing up event decor

  • 1 -2 in person meetings 1 - 2 months prior to wedding date to finalize details 

We truly believe that having a coordinator is KEY to having a stress-free, smooth, enjoyable wedding day! It’s also so important to have a PLAN so that your guests FEEL the organization and always know that everything is under control.

At Madison at the Mill, we do offer an in-house coordinator (Shalese) for an additional fee. You’re also welcome to hire ANY experienced wedding planner/coordinator to be a part of your day! We list some great options here. Happy planning!

Why We Started Requiring a Day-of Coordinator

Madison at the Mill has been hosting industrial weddings for really cool couples since late 2015. In those (almost) four years, we have learned a LOT. We often joke with other wedding vendors that our contract got a little longer after every wedding. That’s just the way it goes!

The BIGGEST change we made in 2019 was to start requiring that all of our couples have a day-of coordinator. Anyone booking after January 1st of this year is required to have SOMEONE in charge of the details. There HAS to be a point person, and it should 100% be a wedding professional.

We’re so passionate about this new rule that we even wrote to all of our already booked 2019 couples encouraging them to hire someone or designate someone ASAP! Here are a few of the reasons why:

You NEED a point person.

On your wedding day, guests, vendors, family, friends, and bridal party members are going to have a million questions. Is there a coat closet? Should the DJ be here setting up? The caterer is filling up water glasses, right? Which car gets the decor and which car gets the gifts? It’s overwhelming, and it’s far too much for a bride, groom, or their parents to handle while still enjoying the day.

In past years, we’ve seen our couples get way too sucked into the logistics instead of the moments. By requiring couples to hire a coordinator, we know we can eliminate that stress of having all the questions directed at you. You just won’t have time for it!!

You NEED a timeline.

Perhaps it’s my love of spreadsheets and planning, but I truly believe that every wedding needs a well thought out, detailed timeline. Another term for this might be “production schedule” because truly, weddings are productions. There are SO MANY moving parts and different vendors and sometimes different locations. You need an experienced wedding professional to be thinking through the timing and logistics of all of that.

All too often, we saw couples with no reception timeline. No one knew who was giving a welcome toast or when. No one knew when the first dance or parent dances would be. Sometimes, figuring all of this out will fall on your photographer or DJ, and that’s just not fair! They have so many other things to juggle, they don’t need to be trying to create a timeline on the fly.

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You NEED someone with experience.

When you’re paying for a coordinator, you’re often paying for someone’s YEARS of planning for, preventing, and working through worst case scenarios. You need someone with an emergency kit that includes ribbon because she has literally corseted a bride in her dress before the ceremony when the dress’s corset ribbon was missing. (True story.)

On your wedding day, you need someone who can CONFIDENTLY handle anything gone awry without you even knowing that anything HAS gone awry! You need someone with rental company cell phone numbers in their phone in case there are no wine glasses. (Another true story.)

So, what can you do? Who should you hire? First, please, please . . . don’t try to give this job to your maid of honor, your friend who is pretty organized, or your aunt who loves weddings. We’ve seen those scenarios play out pretty terribly. Don’t let that be you! We have some suggestions of amazing professionals who will make your day run seamlessly.

By popular request, I (Shalese) have started offering day-of coordination! You can certainly hire me OR any of the wonderful planners we have listed here.

New Year's Eve Wedding at Madison at the Mill | Deanna & Travis

People are always surprised to hear that we’ve hosted a New Year’s Eve wedding! It’s understand because . . . it could be risky to host your wedding on some people’s favorite night to head out to a party! There’s a lot of pressure to make sure your wedding is extra fun because it’s also a NYE party, in a way. But if anyone was up to that challenge, it was Deanna & Travis.

Deanna and Travis (and a lot of their family & friends!) traveled all the way from New York to celebrate at the Mill. Their decor was perfect for our space: black, gold, paintings by the bride herself, and big canvases of their beloved cats.

We loved getting to host Deanna & Travis’s big day, and Shalese was extra honored to get to photograph it!


Vendors

Photography | Shalese Danielle

Venue | Madison at the Mill

Catering | Roadside Chive

Florals | Briarwood Florist

Cake | Sweethaus

DJ | Rhythm of Love, Robert Duffy

Gown | Berta Bridal, Nordstrom

Transportation | Central Virginia Wine Tours