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Expert Advice: Full-Service Wedding Planning or Day-of Coordination – Which is Right for You?

Advice is crucial when it comes to making educated decisions about wedding planning. One tip that we always stress to couples, regardless of their budget or guest count, is the importance of hiring a wedding...

Advice is crucial when it comes to making educated decisions about wedding planning. One tip that we always stress to couples, regardless of their budget or guest count, is the importance of hiring a wedding planner.

But with the different levels of service available, how do you decide? To help you make the right choice, we consulted our preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay wedding planners for their insights on the differences between day-of coordination and full-service wedding planning.

The Role of a Day-of Coordinator

If you enjoy planning and organizing, and want to be involved in decision-making without the stress of coordinating everything, then day-of coordination might be the right option for you. Delaney Driver, owner of Wilder Mind Events, explains, "You get to do all the planning on your own from start to finish. The coordinator will come in and just tie together all of the loose ends so you can enjoy your wedding day!"

Day-of coordination typically begins around 30 days before the wedding. Danyle Longenecker, lead wedding planner at Elegant Affairs by Design, emphasizes that at this point, all contracts are signed, payments have been made, and design decisions have been finalized. The coordinator's role is to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the wedding day, from managing the timeline to coordinating with vendors.

Staci Mandikas, owner of UNIQUE Weddings + Events, adds that day-of coordination is focused on the weeks leading up to and the wedding day itself. It is perfect for couples who are comfortable with the planning process but want a professional to handle the final details and logistics.

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The Role of a Full-Service Wedding Planner

On the other hand, if you have a busy schedule and want someone to take care of all the planning details, then full-service wedding planning is the way to go. Kelci Zicconi, owner of Kelci Leigh Events, explains that a full-service planner handles everything from creating a wedding concept to recommending vendors, managing the budget, and handling the rehearsal dinner.

Full-service wedding planning offers fewer limitations. Staci Mandikas points out that it requires a significant time commitment, as planning a wedding can take up to 10-20 hours per week. They handle all communication during business hours, as most vendors are busy with events on the weekends.

With full-service planning, you still have the final say and vision for your wedding day. Lauren Gertz, owner and lead planner at MDP Events, emphasizes that it allows you to enjoy the fun parts of wedding planning while your planner takes care of the logistical stresses.

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Which is Right For Me?

Choosing between day-of coordination and full-service planning depends on your preferences, involvement level, and budget. Kelci Zicconi advises, "If you want to be involved but are very hands-off, I would go the full-service route and trust the wedding pro you hired! If you have the time, understand your vision, and are organized in your planning process but want to be hands-free on the day of your event, I would go for the day-of coordinator!"

Danyle Longenecker emphasizes the importance of evaluating what is important to you and how involved you want to be in the process. Regardless of your choice, having a planner at some point in the process is crucial.

Consider your wedding location as well. El Swanson, coordinator at Coastal Coordinating, highlights the value of having a planner on-site throughout the process, especially for destination weddings or unfamiliar locations.

If you want a middle ground, partial planning or design services could be ideal. Staci Mandikas suggests that couples who have some flexibility in their schedule but still want the expertise of a planner should explore these options.

In the end, the decision between full-service wedding planning and day-of coordination depends on your needs, preferences, and budget. Take the time to evaluate what is important to you and how involved you want to be in the process. With the help of a seasoned wedding planner, your big day will be a stress-free and unforgettable experience.

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