For The Sake Of Your Wedding Photos, Hire A Wedding Coordinator
You wouldn't believe how many weddings I have photographed where I have shown up only to find out there was no wedding coordinator. Brides, especially in Amarillo, haven't been educated on the importance of having someone at their wedding that will run the show, tell people where to go and what to do, and basically be the boss. That last thing you, as a bride, want to be doing at your wedding is bossing people around. It's not your job! (And it's not your mom's job either)
Oh, and it's not my job. Yes, there have been weddings where I have basically had to coordinate and you can bet that this negatively affects image quality and quantity. I have no desire to boss you, your family, and your wedding party around because I haaaattte being bossy. Also, my goal with you on your wedding day is to make you feel comfortable, beautiful, and taken care of and I can't do that if I'm wrangling family members, wondering where the best man went, and making sure we're following the timeline.
For the purpose of this blog, I am talking about a "day-of wedding coordinator," not a wedding planner. Though many of these professionals take on both roles, a day-of coordinator does not help plan your wedding, they merely assist on your actual wedding day.
I recommend hiring a professional wedding coordinator. A great one here in Amarillo is Amber Fox at The Panhandle Wedding Planner. One benefit to hiring a pro is their impartiality. If family drama should arise, they can step in as an unbiased mediator. They also know just how a wedding day should run from start to finish.
A coordinator will meet with you and your future husband long before your wedding to create a detailed timeline of events. They will have everything scheduled down to the minute including time for bridal party photos, the cocktail hour, family photos, formal bride and groom shots, the first dance, the cake cutting, etc. If they are an experienced coordinator, this is highly advantageous to your photographer because it gives your photographer enough time to get all the shots you want.
One month before your wedding, if I am your wedding photographer, I will email you asking for this timeline. If you don't have one, don't worry, I will help you make one.
It takes, at minimum, 45-60 minutes to accomplish bride and grooms shots, full wedding party shots, and family pictures after the ceremony. A skilled coordinator knows that and will give your photographer that time. After all, your photos are the only thing you'll have left after the day is over. They will also keep you on track during prep time to make sure there is time to do bridal party/groomsmen pictures before the ceremony.
A professional wedding coordinator will run you anywhere from $500 to $2000 for the day, sometimes less if you find one that is fresh to the business. If this is out of your budget, you have other options. For example, I got married to Mason at the ripe old age of 21 and I was on a strict budget. I knew I needed someone to help me out during the wedding day and fortunately, I have a friend with a passion for weddings. She offered to coordinate my wedding simply because she wanted to and I definitely accepted.
P.S. I hate, hate, hated planning my own wedding! Not for me. I know that I could never be a wedding planner.
The greatest benefit of hiring a day-of wedding coordinator is the peace of mind you'll get knowing that everything is taken care of. You won't have to worry. You can simply be happy, be in love with your groom, and you and your wedding photographer can capture some amazing moments.