Someone to watch over you: Head off trouble with a day-of coordinator

Photo: Rebecca Keeling Studios Photo: Rebecca Keeling Studios

We know, we know: You are a master of organization, and you have this wedding-planning thing totally under wraps. You are hiring your own vendors, crushing every target on your planning timeline and tracking the process in elaborate color-coded spreadsheets. Good for you! But have you considered what will happen when it’s your actual wedding day, you’re just about dressed for the ceremony, and your sister delivers the bad news that the florist has eloped to Fiji?

Even for those who go DIY in the planning stage, professional help can be a godsend on the day itself. Planner Jazmin Portnow, with Anyvent Event Planning, remembers a wedding she coordinated where one important thing turned up missing. “There was a miscommunication between the bride and the catering team,” she says, “and they didn’t have napkins.” Nonplussed by someone’s panicked suggestion to use paper towels, Portnow managed to arrange for a last-minute linen rental—and rendezvous with the vendor on the roadside, miles from the reception site—without the bride ever knowing what was happening. “I told her afterward, and they laughed about it,” she says.

Whereas a full-service wedding planner joins the team early in the planning stages and typically helps contribute to the aesthetics of the design, a day-of coordinator comes on board later and makes sure your vision is executed as smoothly as possible.

Like several other local planners, in addition to full-service planning, Anyvent offers day-of and month-of packages specifically for couples who want help only in the final stages of planning. These services include a consultation at the wedding site to make sure the layout will be practical and not just visually pleasing. “People get obsessed with Pinterest boards,” says Portnow. “I’m kind of there to play devil’s advocate”—tactfully pushing back, for example, when couples propose putting a seating chart next to a door, where it will create a bottleneck in the hallway.

A day-of coordinator also takes responsibility for physically setting up decorative and personal items on the wedding day, serving as the day-of point of contact for vendors—a real boon if you don’t want to be on the phone—and handling unforeseen emergencies. “You can’t even dream of the things that happen,” says Portnow. “You need somebody in your corner.”

Anyvent charges $1,095 for day-of planning services and $1,550 for month-of services, both of which also come with plenty of phone and email support, creating an itinerary for the bridal party, coordinating the rehearsal and making sure your wedding gifts get to the right place at the end of the night.

“Some people think ‘My aunt or my friend can do it,’” she says, “but that’s taking away from their experience. Have somebody behind the scenes who has your back.”