Unexpected Reasons You Need a Wedding Planner

Today is a special guest post from freelance writer Laurie Larson!

On your big day, you want everything to go perfectly, but even more importantly, you want to be able to relax enough to enjoy it and take it all in! 

It is so hard to pull off everything yourself from the very earliest decisions to the final ones, especially if this is your first time getting married and have no idea what to anticipate. There is no way that one person can think of everything and do everything by his or her self!

Planning a wedding can be a part-time job on top your full-time gig. There are many reasons, some unexpected, why hiring a wedding planner is a great idea.

First, let’s distinguish between a wedding planner and a day-of coordinator. 

What’s the difference? Well, a day-of coordinator is exactly what the name implies - his or her responsibilities begin and end on the day of your wedding. A wedding planner though, based on your preferences, can be part of your planning process from the beginning: securing the venue, picking out colors for your wedding, helping choose the invites, and then securing the tiniest details and putting out the smallest fires, even after your wedding day. 

Also, you can hire your wedding planner to also be your day-of coordinator, since your wedding planner will know your wedding preferences, style, budget, and priorities better than anyone besides yourself. Relax and enjoy your wedding to the fullest by letting a wedding planning deal with the following:

Handling Legal Requirements and Issues

It’s easy to forget this fact in the midst of party planning, but your marriage and wedding day is part of a legal union with rules and procedures that ensures your marriage is official. A way you can relax and enjoy your day is by having your wedding planner make sure you have completed everything legally speaking in advance of your wedding day and that documentation and signatures are properly carried out by a legally ordained minister on your wedding day. 

Not only are there legal proceedings, but there is contract creation and execution with vendors as well. It can be the wedding planner’s job to read everything line by line to protect the bride and groom. Wedding planners are aces when it comes to contracts, having read hundreds or perhaps thousands of contracts before. They know what to look for and will protect your interests.

Staying on Budget

There’s a common saying that if you have an initial budget for a wedding, double that number, and that’s how much you’ll actually spend. It’s easy to think that hiring a wedding planner will only add an additional line item to your budget, where you could do it all yourself for free, but part of a wedding planner’s job is to make sure you stick with your actual, original budget. 

Wedding planners can give you a more accurate projection, based on your number of guests, the kind of budget you have to work with, and your spending priorities. Nothing is more stressful and detracts from enjoying your wedding day, when you have to skimp on wedding day wishes that meant a lot to you because you are out of money. 

Unexpected expenses can show up right before your wedding day or the day-of that can be stressful and take away from being fully engaged with your ceremony and reception. Let a wedding planner anticipate and plan for those in advance!

Maintaining Your Sanity

Worrying about your wedding and placing all the pressure on your own shoulders is no way to spend what is supposed to be the most exciting time in your life. Managing all of the details on your own, especially when you have to juggle a full-time job and a social life, is almost completely unrealistic. 

Sure, you can try to DIY your way through wedding planning, but it could be at the sake of your sanity. Late nights spent trying to cram everything you can into the hours of the day will eventually catch up to you, especially if it’s in the last minute. Hiring a wedding planner will help you properly rest and relax, even during your wedding week. This is the time you should take to be your best self, not an exhausted version! A wedding planner will save your peace of mind.

Experience Matters

Not only does a wedding planner have experience reviewing and negotiating contracts and setting and sticking by a budget for you, they also can usher an influx of fresh, creative ideas for your wedding. 

Based on the preferences you communicate, wedding planners know the latest trends for classic, contemporary, and theme weddings. They have creative ideas and inspiration based on their experience with other weddings, plus market research, to give your wedding the edge or the angle you desire. 

Oftentimes, a wedding planner has worked with the best vendors on many occasions, and that rapport will serve you well. The planner can line you up with the best vendors and the best accommodations for your guests at the right price. Let your planner as a pro take care of hotel negotiations!

With wedding planner on hand, you’ll be able to spend more time getting excited about your wedding rather than stressing. Don’t disregard how beneficial a wedding planner can be!

Thank you to freelance writer Laurie Larson for this post!

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.


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 can find more information about our in-house coordination with Shalese HERE.

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.


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 more information about my in-house coordination services HERE. You can certainly hire me OR any of the wonderful planners we have listed here.