I have always found wedding coordinators to have interesting jobs. I found the part they play of the wedding even more interesting once I photographed several weddings. As a wedding photographer I think it helps to learn about the other team players that it takes to have a successful wedding from the vendors point of view. While mentioning the job title, I would like to add that I have also heard them called wedding planners. After reading up on the lovely lady that I interviewed for this blog post, I found that on her site she calls herself a Wedding Day Management Specialist. Now while it is a mouthful it also sounds so much more intriguing AND is so much more fitting after learning about her career. So as a blogger I reached out to a few wedding coordinators to find out a little bit more in depth of what their job entails.
One of the Wedding Day Management Specialist I had the pleasure of learning about is Brandy Blackford of Sweet I Do's located in Suprise, Arizona. Here is her very eye opening interview!
KAP: What made you want to be a wedding planner?
BB: My venue. Short story, we got married there on a Friday and the Monday after I got a phone call from the venue coordinators telling me they had never had a wedding come together quite like mine. They said I needed to come up with a business name because they were going to start referring me. Two weeks later my business was born!
KAP: What education, schooling, or skills are needed to become a Wedding Planner?
BB: All the skills to run a business - marketing, accounting, English. It helps to have a degree in business and definitely shadow an existing planner before jumping in.
KAP: What do you like about your job?
BB: I love being around people that are in love, that want all their wedding dreams to come true.
KAP: What do you dislike about your job?
BB: This can be a very cut throat, unkind business. It isn't for the faint of heart.
KAP: How do you charge for your services(flat fee, hourly fee, packages)? And if not too intrusive can you say what you charge?
BB: I have packages that are customized to specific needs. They start at $750.00 and go up.
KAP: What is most challenging about what you do?
BB: Getting all the vendors and clients on the same page communication wise.
KAP: Is there something that brides think you should do but it's not actually in your job title?
BB: They think we should do it all, including being security. While I'll do a lot, I won't be a bouncer.
KAP: What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
BB: That we can just come in the day of with no prior prep and coordinate their wedding (day of coordination).
KAP: Do you work with any other wedding vendors(as in package deals)?
BB: I have pass through pricing that is sold by some venues under their name and they pay me directly versus the client.
KAP: What is the most amount of money a couple has paid for their wedding?
BB: Just under $80K.
KAP: What is the largest number of guests a couple has invited?
KAP: Have you ever kept a secret from the bride or groom on the day of the wedding?
BB: Yes, almost every wedding has some secret that they don't know about that day.
KAP: How can you tell when the couple is going to be difficult to work with and/or please?
BB: In their initial communication. If they are either completely disinterested in communicating any details or if they have way to many details and their date is 12 months away they are probably not a great couple for me.
KAP: What is one thing you wish people knew about you and your job?
BB: That is isn't easy, that not everyone can do it and that just because you (or your friend, mom, aunt, etc) plan amazing parties, you probably still need a coordinator so you don't have to work on your wedding day.
KAP: What is the worst experience you have had while doing your job(something going wrong, bride or couple walking out, a complete bridezilla, etc)?
BB: I had a backyard wedding a few years ago. The weather indicated that it was more likely than not going to rain at some point during the wedding. It was like pulling teeth to get the couple to agree to a tent (and it ended up being dad making the call, couple was convinced it would be fine). Because it was a last minute addition, the entire wedding reception set up had to be adjusted on the fly. And the bride was unable to say no to anyone, so I had many "helpers" that really weren't helping. At one point one of the helpers moved some extremely expensive rental furniture to the very edge of the pool, after I had moved it away. We had some words, and there was a level of verbal abuse happening that caused me to go to the FOG and tell him my team and I would be leaving if it continued. He removed the "helpers" and my team and I managed to complete set up (redoing many many things) in the nick of time. Ceremony went off with only a few small hiccups. Cocktail hour was great. The reception started and so, so many people were complaining about their inability to see the couple. See the emergency weather and tent reset caused an "L" shaped reception space versus a rectangle. So half the guests couldn't see anything that was going on. Just as the first dance began, the sky's opened up and the rain came pouring down. My team and I are scattering trying to save all the rental furniture. The wind kicks up and because the tents were a last minute add, the gutters and sides weren't added (too much of an expense), so we are pulling tables and chairs out of the wind and water swept area and forcing people up under the very small covered patio. I'm squeezing water off the dance floor so people don't slip and fall. The DJ was in an area that needed to be pumped out and my extremely drunk guests were using the trash can the pump was in as an actual trash can, clogging the pump. So in my formal business clothes, my hair plastered to my head, my makeup running down my face I am grabbing handfuls of trash out of the can to unblock the pump so the DJ doesn't get electrocuted. The dad was amazed, the mom was mad that I didn't stay until everyone left (they refused to establish an actual end time, so I contracted until midnight). The bride and her mom actually trashed me to the DJ claiming that I was the worst money they had ever spent. This one wedding added so many clauses to my contract and caused me to raise my pricing for backyard weddings.
Sweet I Do's is a wedding planning company located in Surprise, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix). They specialize in wedding day management (also known as day of coordination). They help you create an amazing, unique and totally "you" wedding that allows you to be in the moments making the memories, not worrying about the details. From contract review and timeline creation to day of management, set up and tear down, they are focused on ensuring their couples, their families and friends experience a stress and worry free night to remember.
Be sure to follow Brandy on her social media accounts!
Thank you Brandy for taking the time to answer my questions! I know I learned a little more about just what it is you do and that it's not always as fun as it may seem. Props to you for doing what you do!