The idea of getting paid to coordinate weddings might seem like a dream come true for many. Wedding coordinators and planners help build the agenda of the event, including the ceremony, the décor, the reception, and entertainment. They create a unique and memorable experience for everyone who attends.
But the job is not without some significant pressure. A wedding coordinator must effectively be a jack of all trades, and must possess certain skills that are essential to performing each of them.
The job can involve handholding in one moment, chasing down a vendor the next moment, and corralling loafing employees with the very next breath.
What Does a Wedding Coordinator Do?
Wedding planning jobs exist throughout the U.S. and they go by many different titles, such as bridal consultant, wedding consultant, or wedding coordinator.
Behind the creativity and fun lies a mountain of paperwork, nonstop phone calls, and logistics. Wedding coordinators respond to many emails, and they manage a significant volume of files on each individual event, including all relevant details of a particular ceremony.
The coordinator might serve as a liaison between the client and other hotel/resort resources, such as catering, concierge services, guest room reservations, and other departments.
Wedding planning might be handled by the conference services and catering department, or it can be handled by a dedicated wedding coordinator. It depends on the volume of events annually at a hotel or resort.
Everything Starts With a Master Plan
You'll need a blueprint of the entire event from start to finish, preferably in writing. Now get moving and check things off, from scheduling, music, and menus. Keep an eye on each and monitor how it fits into the budget.
Checking things off will require numerous consultations and keeping tabs on all the interlocking components: the caterer, the florist, event staff, catering, and the band or DJ. Meanwhile, you'll be collecting money from the bride and groom or their families, and paying it out again to the appropriate vendors.
You're effectively a general contractor. You're in charge, and you're to blame if anything goes wrong. The buck stops with you.
Wedding Planning Skills
A successful wedding coordinator must be personable, possess strong followup skills, and be able to multi-task, according to Ada Casanova, former Assistant Manager at the wedding chapel at Mandalay Bay.
Those multi-tasking skills are critical. “You may be coordinating a ceremony, then a bride calls you because a boutonniere is missing. You want to make sure that they've had a phenomenal experience because they'll share their experience with others,” Casanova explains.
Wedding coordinators and wedding managers are expected to convey a positive image, have strong interpersonal skills, and maintain a professional, well-groomed image. Similarly to the job requirements for other event planning professionals, wedding coordinators must have a strong knowledge of hospitality.
They also have the added responsibilities of overseeing the wedding coordinators, meeting departmental expectations for budget and staffing, and ensuring that they effectively represent the hotel or resort.
You're expected to respond quickly to clients. “We had a response time of 24 hours for every email. We worked on files 30 days prior to the event to accommodate workload. We contacted the couple, and finalized the contract,” Casanova adds.
Necessary Experience and Education
This isn't a job that requires a college degree, but having one in a field such as business administration can be immensely helpful. Short of that, getting certified will look great on your resume.
The American Association of Wedding Planners offers a variety of courses and certification. The International Live Events Association also offers certification, although not specifically in wedding planning.
But overall, the job requirements are frequently viewed as one step above entry level. This profession is within reach for many who want to pursue it. Previous experience as a concierge or elsewhere in hotel management can be valuable.
Salary of a Wedding Coordinator
Wedding planning is a particular niche within the event planning profession. Some might view it as an entry career path into larger, more complex meetings and events. For others, it might lead down a path that ultimately allows the individual to create his or her own wedding planning business.
The median compensation for a wedding planner position is $41,429 annually, according to March 2018 data from PayScale. In addition to traditional benefits, salaries range from a low of $29,000 through a high of $76,000.
Wedding Planning Job Search
It’s important to search current job openings to find out what qualifications specific employers might require. You can then search within these results to find opportunities for your next position.