Wedding coordinators provide a variety of services, from the general to the very specific. They can help you determine and stick with a budget, for example, or suggest suitable reception locations. They can save you lots of time, especially if you're looking for unique services, such as a caterer who specializes in vegetarian meals, or a photographer with a talent for black-and-white images (most coordinators will have collections of photographers' portfolios on hand, so you don't have to spend valuable time meeting with dozens of photographers yourself ). Because wedding coordinators have worked with many vendors in the past, they are knowledgeable about those professionals' or companies' strengths, weaknesses, and fees -- and whether fees are negotiable. Some coordinators even serve as shopping companions and advisers as you try on dresses, shoes, and veils. Best of all, talented wedding coordinators can act as counselors, helping to appease the conflicting opinions of various family members.
Wedding coordinators can be especially helpful for couples who are short on time or live far from the location where they plan to be married. Tiphaine Ravenel and Paolo Bonetti faced both dilemmas. The couple lives in Colorado but wanted to be married near the bride's hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. Tiphaine's mother, Mollie Fair, feared that the couple's distance from the wedding site, combined with the short engagement period, would not allow the three of them to organize the perfect wedding. So they hired a coordinator who created a schedule and helped them elaborate on ideas they had for an outdoor, interfaith ceremony.
The coordinator also addressed the little things they might otherwise have overlooked, such as finding a restaurant that could store the wedding cake Tiphaine's friend had made in California and then shipped cross-country. But perhaps her greatest contribution to the wedding plans was to give the bride and her mother the confidence they needed to handle many details on their own. "It was a relief just to know we had the phone number of a very experienced person and could use it if we needed it," says Mollie.