- I’m a wedding planner giving advice to couples who are trying to plan their big day.
- Wedding planners and coordinators are different and venue coordinators won’t decorate for you.
- Tip your vendors if you can and always look up what time the sun sets on your big day.
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Q: How long do photos take?
A: Wedding photos often fall into three 30-minute chunks. These chunks are usually photos of the couple, photos of the couple with any wedding party, and photos of the couple with additional VIPs (usually immediate family, chosen and biological).
A good rule of thumb is to block out 90 minutes for photos. If you’re doing photos before the ceremony, have them end no later than 30 minutes before the ceremony. This pre-ceremony buffer has saved me more than once and is valuable for the couple to refresh, use the restroom, and take a breath before getting married.
The above does not include certain types of photos that sometimes have great value to couples, like getting-ready or exit pictures. They’re usually not staged but, if you want them, make sure your photographer’s shift includes them.
My final photo-timeline tip: Figure out when sunset is on your wedding day. Photos need light and although flash is an option, it’s not the same as natural light. If sunset is early, consider moving your photo and ceremony time up so you can prioritize important pictures before it gets dark.
Q: What’s the difference between a day-of wedding coordinator, a wedding coordinator, and a wedding planner?
A: The main difference comes down to how many hours this person works on your wedding.
A day-of coordinator usually works eight to 10 hours, nearly always exclusive to the wedding day. They likely do not create a timeline, correspond with any vendors, or do any other logistical prep work. They are hired to show up and execute a plan that you and your partner have made.
A wedding coordinator or partial planner works 30 to 40 hours. In my work, more than half of that happens before the wedding as I do monthly check-ins with clients, create a timeline, attend any final walkthrough or tour, and correspond with vendors and VIPs ahead of the wedding.
A wedding planner works 50 to 60 hours and plans your whole wedding including hiring your team, mocking up a budget, and arranging rental orders. This is the highest tier of service and thus the most expensive.
A wedding planner will book things for you.
Q: What about a venue coordinator? What’s that?
A: This is a person who is responsible for the venue. They are not responsible for logistics before or on your wedding day.
Unless they’ve told you otherwise, they will not be available to set up decor, check in with vendors, keep ceremony and reception programming on time, or clean up items that don’t belong to the venue.
Q: What is wedding-event insurance and why do I need it?
A: Typically, wedding-event insurance is specific to things that happen on your wedding day. It usually comes up because a venue requires it and it’s different from insurance that covers you and your partner if you cancel or postpone your wedding.
It usually costs under $200 and only covers certain things — I go into more detail here.
Some venues require you to buy wedding-event insurance.
Q: Do we have to tip vendors?
A: You don’t have to do anything, but your vendors appreciate it. Vendors work in the service industry, which means tips are a meaningful part of their income.
I’ve broken down suggested percentages before, and they range from 10% to 15% for the DJ and 15% to 20% for your hairstylist.
That said, not everyone can afford to tip. If this is your situation, I encourage you to think of other ways you can additionally compensate your vendors, such as writing each a glowing review on the various online review platforms they use.