The Curious Case of Coordination

The Wedding, is a "once-in-a-lifetime" moment, right? Even if you would have a second, a third, or several other weddings for anniversaries or what-have-you, the first will still be the most wonderful and awesome wedding. That's why you also spend for it. Whether your priority is your bridal gown, or your wedding videography, you definitely spend for it--again because it is your "once-in-a-lifetime" wedding. So I am very curious as to how each bride, or each couple would decide on their wedding. One decision can make or break a wedding. As one of my ex-bride friends said, no matter how expensive your wedding is, it can crumble right before your very eyes because of one tiny decision--and that is--the coordinator.

Vera Wang
I have two bride friends who are both "Bride Ls"--but they couldn't be any different. Bride L1 is spending over a million for her wedding. Bride L2 is spending almost TWO million for her wedding. As their friends, we sensibly advised both of them to get good coordinators because of the magnitude of what they are spending for their wedding. Bride L1 was quick to listen to our advice and immediately researched on the best coordinators in Manila, and is finally deciding on getting Christine Ong-Te. Great choice!

Bride L2, was different. She chose a FRIEND. She said it's been a promise of some sort since they were younger, that her friend was to do her coordination. We tried to convince her otherwise, but she wouldn't have it any other way. Bride L2's wedding I will repeat--is already costing her almost 2 million. Her bridal gown alone is a spectacle to behold and will come from abroad from a top caliber international designer. Her vendors--from the venue, to the videographer, make-up artist, event stylist are some of the best in the industry as well. And I couldn't for the life of me comprehend why of all things to suddenly skimp on, she had to skimp on the coordination. And she super needs it too. Not only because of their grand wedding, but also because her guests are of the country's VIP elites. So I really cannot understand why she would entrust her 2 Million wedding to a "friend". And mind you, it's not like her friend is in the ranks of Amanda Tirol.

A Tribute to Amanda Tirol & Team
Photo by Mango Red
As you all know, I had two weddings. For our Boracay wedding, I almost didn't get a coordinator but finally got Amanda Tirol. And it was the BEST decision I have ever made for our wedding. Amanda's partial coordination rate is quite reasonable as compared to the rates here in Manila. And she goes OVER and BEYOND her call of duty. Things that she offered as added services are just overwhelming. Things like giving us a different route to go to the island to make our trip easier, things like lending whatever resources she had in her own inventory, things like passing on her discounts and clout from almost any hotel, restaurant, and services in Boracay, things like having 10 of her assistants working on our wedding even if we only had 35 guests, she even made us escort cards and offered to do all our other prints for the wedding! She also even offered to cover RSVP--and mind you...coordinators do not do RSVPs (either they will charge extra or will really beg off to do it). She is an absolute angel. The best part was she supported our every decision--she embraced our rebellious wedding, and even vowed to defend me from my mother if ever she stressed me out. Even when she had other personal things to attend to like giving birth--she was still hands-on. Even after our Boracay wedding and her grandmother passed away, she was offering to help in the Church wedding! That girl is just a miracle. Now for our Church wedding, my mother got her own coordinator who was the exact opposite of Amanda that it makes me laugh thinking about it. At that time it infuriated me but now it just makes me laugh. My mom got a coordinator who constantly reminded me of the traditions of the wedding that I literally felt like I was being suffocated. Also, during my wedding preps, his staff of like 4 people who were stationed at my parent's house were just standing and staring at us. During the ceremony, our rings were missing, and no one was assisting us on what to do that we were completely lost--only to find out that the coordinators left the ceremony to go to the reception wtf?!?
Wedding Coordination is VERY important people. Listen up, and listen good. You CANNOT just get any other coordinator--not a friend, not even a friend who does events (remember The Bride Wars? Their very first decision was to get the best coordinator in New York).

It's a different ball game altogether. I had a friend who did coordination herself so she didn't think she needed a coordinator, thinking she can handle it. She was totally stressed on her big day. Another friend has done it all--she's well experienced in production work, theatre work, provincial events, mall events but she still got a coordinator for her wedding because she knew she needed it. ADMIT you need it. And if you are spending soooo much for your wedding, you have so much more at stake so get a good coordinator. Still not convinced of how important a coordinator is? Do you know that television shows who have grand weddings in their plot get wedding coordinators? Imagine that. Production people are already very much experienced and yet they even hire wedding coordinators for a pretend wedding. I hope I've made my point. 

Now if you are like Bride L2, who is now in deep sh*t and already is dead-set on getting a friend, how do you move on? do the best you can. Set things straight from the onset that even if you are friends, you have to be strictly professional about everything. That both of you are not gonna take things personal and that she needs to be as OC as you are. You guys have to be on the same page. And there are times that she will have to think for you.

Now if you are convinced with getting a coordinator, the next question probably is who to get and do you get her for full, partial, or on-the-day. With regards on who to get, I say get the best. Much like when you get a photog or a videog, you try as much as you can to afford the cream of the crop, that's the same way you should get a coordinator. ESPECIALLY if it is of the rebellious kind because it won't be a linear wedding. I would also say get partial coordination even if you are hands-on. I will only make an exemption to get an on-the-day coordinator if it's an easy wedding to implement, and if your coordinator is the type who would still go over and beyond the call of duty even if they are only technically OTD. Now these are only just my suggestions. I am sure other ex-brides would have their own thoughts. So comment away!

***Updated on September 2011 - Good news Rebellious Brides! We've just gotten word that Amanda Tirol now accepts coordination work in MANILA. WOOT!!! Therefore, I HIGHLY recommend that you get her! :)

Kai :)
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  1. super duper agree!!! good coordinators are wedding insurance, they make sure everything that you planned for (and saved up for!) won't go to waste! be friends with your coordinator but i really will advice against getting a "friend" as your coordinator.

  2. I super agree!

    I just recently attended a wedding and the coordinator friend was asking guests if they knew the entourage and if they can call them because they are late. Haler? Coordination 101 kaya yun. I don't even know if my bride friend knew her coordinator was incompetent but I didn't say anything nalang because she hired a coordinator an friend ata niya.

  3. I completely agree! I also suggest that aside from getting those who know what they are doing (and they are so many out there who only pretend to, unfortunately), make sure you get a coordinator who has the same vibe or personality as you :) they understand you quickly, can screen suppliers for you well and know how to make (the little) decisions for you on the big day, so you and your new husband can focus on just being the stars and partying and generally having fun :)

    just to share - we recently attended a wedding where the coordinators seemed really lost. during the church ceremony, no one was in front to direct the entourage to their seats once they got to the front of the altar, no one was there right from the start to tell the groom where to stand (i nearly went down from my reader's post to tell my friend, the groom, cos i was feeling bad :p) and they took so long during the offertory that the priest actually called out, on mic(!!), to have everyone come forward ALREADY please!! Lord, how awful. It turns out they didn't know that offertory from that church started from the middle, not from the end of the aisle (and seriously, things like that, coordinators should know). So in the end, our friends seated by the middle of the aisle went while the actual offerers weren't able to fulfills their roles.

    It's things like that made us realise that we invested well in our coordinators during our wedding. So brides, choose your coordinators carefully! :)