DIY Wedding Coordinator’s Checklist

 Blog header with an image of a pop-up trailer bar at a weddingPhoto: Shelby Seaber

Instead of hiring a professional, some couples prefer to ask a family member or close friend to help them coordinate their wedding.

If someone has asked you to be their wedding coordinator and you want to make sure their special day goes exactly the way they want, keep reading. 

Here’s our DIY wedding coordinator’s checklist for the days leading up to the wedding and the big day itself!

What Is a Wedding Coordinator?

A wedding coordinator is not a wedding planner. It’s a completely different role. 

Wedding coordinators are typically not involved in the planning process at all — their work happens in the days leading up to and on the day of the wedding.

Wedding planners assist in booking vendors and designing concepts for the wedding. They work with the florist, caterer, videographer, and other wedding vendors to plan how the day’s events will go and what everything will look like.

Planners help the couple-to-be choose table settings, floral arrangements, decor, and music. They make sure the lighting is right and that the ceremony space looks exactly how the couple wants to look.

The wedding coordinator plays no role in the decision-making process. Instead, it’s the coordinator’s job to make sure that the couples’ plans fall into place at the right time.

For the wedding planner, it’s all about the look and feel of the wedding.

For the wedding coordinator, it’s all about logistics. 

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Is Wedding Coordinator an Important Role? 

Wedding liquor tablePhoto: Mirelle Carmichael

The wedding coordinator is a really important role. They make sure that all of the last-minute details are in place for the big day.

They’re a second set of eyes, hands, and ears to help with the logistical details on the day of. The wedding coordinator exists so that the couple can enjoy the day stress-free!

Some professional wedding planners offer day-of coordination services as part of their contract, but some do not. When planners don’t provide this service, couples often turn to family members and trusted friends to take the reins as wedding coordinator. 

Almost anyone can do the job, as long as they’re organized, detail-oriented, and authoritative. Regina George would make a great wedding coordinator, but Karen Smith or Gretchen Wieners … ? Not so much!

Related: How to Make a DIY Wedding Planning Binder 

Wedding Coordinator Checklist: The Weeks Leading Up to the Big Day

When a wedding planner is handling the event, the wedding coordinator doesn’t usually get involved this early in the process. But for couples who have planned the wedding themselves, getting a coordinator involved about a month before can be a huge help!

In the weeks leading up to the wedding day, a wedding coordinator can tackle several important tasks:

1. Organize RSVPs and meal requests from the guest list

2. Assist in creating the seating chart (if the couple asks)

3. Confirm vendor contracts so that there are no last-minute surprises

4. Provide a set-up timeline so that all vendors know when to arrive at the wedding venue

5. Create a photography timeline with a list of any specific images you want to capture

6. Create a day-of timeline with the couple

Couples should also give their wedding coordinator a detailed plan of everything they want them to do the day before and the day of the wedding.

If you’ve taken on the role of coordinator for a loved one’s wedding, here are some questions you should ask a few weeks ahead:

 

1. Will you be responsible for picking up the wedding dress, tuxedos, and accessories, or will the couple handle that themselves?

2. Do they want you to pick up the marriage license from the town hall? If so, does the couple want it returned to them after the wedding, the next day, or when they return from their honeymoon?

3. In case of last-minute adjustments on the day of, should you make the final call or consult with the couple before approving any changes?

Discussing these topics in advance makes it easier for both the couple and coordinator to manage one another’s expectations!

Wedding Coordinator Checklist: The Day Before the Wedding

The day before the wedding is when the coordinator’s job becomes important.

Here are a few crucial wedding coordinator duties for the afternoon and evening before:

1. Arrange and organize tips for all vendors, including the officiant, DJ, bartenders, and venue waitstaff

2. Plan who will make the final payments to vendors and when

3. Attend and lead the wedding rehearsal so that everyone knows when to walk and where to sit

4. Attend the rehearsal dinner

As a wedding coordinator, it’s also a good idea to check in with the couple at the end of the rehearsal dinner. That’s your chance to reassure them that you’ll do your best to make things run as smoothly as possible the next day!

Day-Of Wedding Coordinator Checklist

Bride and nine bridesmaids posing together outside under a treePhoto: Bella Sacramento / Kelsey Marlette

The wedding day is when you will truly shine!

Here’s the ultimate day-of wedding coordinator checklist to make sure you don’t miss a beat:

1. Make sure each vendor is following the timeline

2. Confirm that all rentals have been delivered and set up on time

3. Have an emergency kit on hand that includes all sorts of health, fashion, and beauty essentials (just in case!)

4. Keep the wedding on schedule by making sure that the wedding party is getting ready on time

5. Take responsibility for the marriage license, vows, and rings

6. Provide guidance to the ushers on how and where to seat guests for the wedding ceremony

7. Confirm that the place cards and guest book are in place for the reception

8. Ensure that wedding party members are in their positions before the wedding processional begins

9. Review the names of the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other members of the wedding party so that the DJ knows how to pronounce them

10. Make sure that the DJ sticks to the timeline for wedding reception announcements, such as the cutting of the wedding cake

11. Oversee the tear-down process … the happy couple should not have to worry about the clean-up!

12. Facilitate the process of moving the wedding gifts (you can do this yourself or recruit a team of trusted friends or relatives to help)

Is the couple still looking for bridesmaids dresses? Tell them to head to Bella Bridesmaids!

Conclusion

From making sure the bridal party is dressed on time to ensuring that the gifts are in a safe place at the end of the night, the duties of the wedding coordinator are many. 

And it’s such a fun job to do!

If you’ve been asked to be a wedding coordinator for someone’s wedding, embrace it. It’s an important role, and if the couple didn’t think you could handle the job, they wouldn’t have asked!

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