Wedding directors can deal with day-of problems

It’s the day of your wedding and the reception is flowing smoothly. Dinner is almost over and plenty of people are dancing.

Suddenly you hear the first notes of — it can’t be — “Macarena.” You look over to see your new husband’s mouth forming a perfect “o.” This man is your soul mate — he knows how you feel about the “Macarena.” But then, out of the corner of your eye, you see a pink suit gliding toward the band. The song fades out and the Rolling Stones come on. You start breathing again.

The pink-suited angel was a wedding coordinator, not to be confused with a wedding planner. The terms are sometimes interchanged, as the duties of these professionals are at times performed by the same person. Wedding planners, or consultants, provide a service that is familiar to most people. They choose the vendors, the reception hall, the flowers and sometimes even the dresses.

Some of the many services wedding consultants offer include preparing budgets, finding discounts, selecting invitations, buying favors and bridal gifts and creating a wedding-day timeline.

Wedding coordinators (also known as wedding directors) attend the wedding activities. It’s becoming commonplace to see coordinators at the rehearsal and the wedding ceremony. However, increasing numbers of couples opt to use the services of a wedding coordinator only at the wedding itself. They act as advocates and producers, taking care of all details and making sure everyone is happy, most of all the bride.

After several sessions with the wedding couple, this type of professional should know exactly what their wishes are. At the reception, the coordinator sees that all vendors — from the parking attendants to wait staff — play their part correctly.

“There’s a nice way to tell people what to do,” Hansen says. The coordinator is a neutral party with experience and a cool head, someone who isn’t distracted by social obligations. If a problem arises, the idea is that the coordinator will intervene and prevent the bride and groom from even realizing something was amiss.

Typically, the fees for planners and coordinators are relatively affordable. A free consultation is the best way to learn if these services are right for you. Given the expense of a wedding, even a modest one, hiring a coordinator to be there on the big day is a small price to pay for ensuring a happy and stress-free event.