When I was planning my own wedding, I was certain I didn’t need any coordinator on the day of my wedding because I got it all ironed out.
I had my own checklist of to do’s, to book, to shoot, to follow and so on and so forth. I can instruct all my suppliers what I wanted to happen on my wedding day, discuss all the details with them and then- believe they will do as I please, after all, I paid for their services.
Later on, I decided I wanted to get three friends to coordinate my wedding on the day. I met them for dinner and emailed them my checklist and instructions. I was confident they could pull it off for me.
Until I almost didn’t make it on my wedding because of a breaking story I was following, and suddenly, I (was supposed to) had to leave 3 wks before the wedding- leaving all the remaining planning to my then fiance (now husband) who wasn’t as OC as I was about the details.
I panicked and also felt guilty for demanding from my friends the coordination stint- so I booked the cheapest coordinator I could get. Six years ago, I got an on the day coordinator for 5,000 pesos- with four coordinators on the day itself of the wedding.
But as the saying goes and so it went- I truly got what I paid for.
Six years later, I still remember vividly how my own wedding coordinators failed to meet my expectations and how I still want to re-do the wedding, if only to save up more for another team who could have handled it better. And six years later, here I am offering the same service to future couples- but not for as measly as the price I paid for my own before.
1. LESS IS NOT ALWAYS MORE
When I attended an event coordination workshop before embarking on doing events semi full-time last year, Teena Barretto advised us to price ourselves in the manner that we think we deserve. It didn’t matter if we were new in the business, what mattered was the value we gave ourselves and the service we will offer.
Personally, I priced myself cheap in the first 6 months because I wanted to get clients. But the service I gave was much more than that. I know that to be true in my heart.
As the number of clients increased, I slowly incorporated the real value I had for myself in the rates we offered.
I got an inquiry in the past from a future bride, who, after getting my rates told me I am more expensive than another events team who was already doing business years ahead of me.
I don’t really know what other event planners’ price points are but personally, I rate myself in the manner that I value the service I give and the service the couple deserves. Especially now that I have decided to do this full time, 100% of my time is now devoted to answering inquiries and emails, attending meetings, accompanying couples for their food tasting and the like. I spend hundreds for transportation, communication and time spent for doing the groundwork for a “perfect” wedding definitely costs more than that.
I know all couples only want to find the most reasonably priced coordinator to handle their event on the day- BUT PLEASE DON’T SHORTCHANGE YOURSELF, MORESO THE SUPPLIER, because they won’t shortchange you too.
2. ONCE YOU’VE FOUND THE ONE, COOPERATE AND DON’T DICTATE
The 300,000 peso budget wedding we pulled off for our January 2017 couple Xenjie and Joanna didn’t come in a silver platter for the three of us. We discussed, we argued and almost walked away from each other- as we searched for the best but most credible deals for their big day. Joanna, my then bride, was based in Canada and she did her research well before booking me. Xenjie the groom on the other hand was more open to new ideas, always putting in mind Joanna’s preferences and of course their budget. I on the other hand was the amateur, thirsty planner who wanted to give them the best- so I did my best as well to do just that.
I’m just so glad that both Xenjie and Joanna, along with my previous couples, have been cooperative and open-minded in dealing with me. I love it when they argue with me and don’t just insist their big wishes and dreams- because it proves to me that they only want what is best for the wedding, and not just insisting on what they want even if it is impractical or unnecessary already.
The key to really keeping the couple-coordinator relationship really smooth and going is to COOPERATE with each other. As clients, you also need to listen and not get offended when coordinators start telling you how impractical or unncessary some plans are. As suppliers, we also have to be sensitive that we are not hurting your feelings and not make you feel like we are imposing.
3. WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, WORK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
As you start planning your wedding, of course you would naturally have a set budget to work on. Let your coordinator know ahead of time what the budget is, so you both can manage your expectations. Sometimes, many couples want to have the heavens, when they only have a dime. It is not bad to dream and to dream big, but while you don’t have the money for that- then work for it and work hard.
Always communicate with your coordinator if you think you are exceeding the set budget, or if you have freed up some space for additional expenses. They key is to BE OPEN AND TO COMMUNICATE ALL THE TIME. Don’t hire a coordinator and then just text or send a message when you have something to ask. Update or ask how things are, once in a while. And when you do send messages, don’t talk to them like you’ve bought them body and soul. They are coordinators- they will be your best allies in turning your dream wedding into a reality, so make sure they are on your side.
4. INFORM YOUR FAMILY THAT YOU HIRED A COORDINATOR, LET THEM KNOW THEIR BACKGROUND TOO
And with that, I would like to end this post with an advice for couples to also inform your families- your parents, siblings and entourage even, who your coordinator is, what scope of work they will do and what their background is.
I didn’t think this was necessary until I encountered a fellow supplier who started talking trash against us in the middle of a bride’s makeup time on her wedding day. I felt the makeup artist was so confident because she also did the entourage gowns, and she already has good relations with the entourage. Good thing the couple were very good people, I tried my best to hold myself together and not make a scene.
But it really felt so bad, hearing a co-supplier trash talk you in front of a bride, not thinking she was causing the bride so much stress while she wanted to bully her way on me. Naturally, some of the family members were also immediately hostile against us and it felt so heavy to work around that environment.
Please make your families and entourage know who we are, what we do and what they can expect from us- because we are not your enemies. We are and we can be your fairy godmothers, your best allies, if you allow us and put your trust and faith in us too.