General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding? UPDATE #88!

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A friend of mine, Mary, mother of seven with her youngest the age of my teens, has asked me to serve as a wedding reception coordinator at one of her DD's wedding a few months from now.

I have been to a couple of weddings in this family, and they are a BIG DEAL.  Full Catholic ceremony, then sit down dinner.  One reception was a few hours after the ceremony, so guests had a couple of hours to kill in between.

The upcoming wedding is only  ;) 150-165 guests, and the reception is dry- no alcohol.  The site is a western barn/rustic pavillion, and the caterer is a local BBQ joint.  They will have to carry out all their trash because of wild animals.

I have been asked to be the contact person, and to bring ice, and make sure all is cleaned up, and to tell guests to stay close by, and corral potentially unruly children, and to tupperware the wedding cake after, and meet with the site owner beforehand, and maybe help coordinate carpooling since there is not really a parking lot.  I am sure there will be more.

Now, the mom is a sweet friend of mine, will talk your ear off, does not like problems even though she has had a few (sick husband, hospitalized child, work issues, moving into a house that had a broken foundation so had an apt. with a bad landlord while waiting for the house to be fixed, and then having plumbing issues, etc...)

so she was asked by the owner of the reception site for a reception coordinator.  Mary knew she would need an organized and strong personality to keep all this together, and said my name to Cici, the owner, before asking me. 

When Mary did ask me, I wrote down 30 minutes of her rambling notes to determine my responsibilities, as I listed above a bit.

I do not know if I am getting paid.  I have never done a job like this before.  Am I over my head?  Wedding is still a few months away, and I was "officially asked" two nights ago. 


Honestly, that sounds like a huge amount of work for one person. It's more than a day of coordinator would do, I would think hard if you are prepared to do all of this (probably unpaid), taking on all the responsibility, if you are capable, able to organise, deal with problems and recriminations, with resenting the huge task set for you by your friend.

Personally in general I don't think I could do it apart from for a very select few people, and even then I'd want a huge amount of help. I'd worry about recriminations if something went wrong.

Maybe go to your friend and clarify the situation, and find out if you'd have any back up.

This really sounds like something the bride needs to figure out for herself or they need to hire someone.  This is a LOT to ask of a friend of the bride's mother who is not getting paid. 

Either ask if you will be getting paid or mentally write it off as a gift to the family.  In my experience in the party industry what you have described would span about 6-8 hours (assuming a standard 5 hour reception) and would run $200-2,000 in wages (as some one with experience I would personally consider this to be a $1k job... but then I know what I won't do).  The 'job' will also require you to wear an outfit that is both appropriate for the event and yet appropriate for doing lifting and possibly getting dirty. (I'd recommend nice but affordable black pants, loafers, and a machine washable but nice looking top, accessorize with costume jewelry, short nails, hair up.)

Its the kind of work that comes easy to some people and is borderline nervous-breakdown inducing for others.  From your past posts I think you would do well insofar as your teaching experience and attention to detail but would also be overly stressed due to your perfection tendencies - this is very much a 'go with the flow' and 'improvise' type job.

If you do take it on, here is the best piece of advice I can give: remember, the guests don't know what the plan was.  So long as they are happy and comfortable and things look nice, they don't know that everything isn't going as planned. (Because something always goes off-plan!)

Oldest dd is getting married in spring. She is organized and has taken the classes to be a certified wedding planner. She has hired another planner she knows to be the wedding day point person, as you described the duties. Basically, if there are any glitches on wedding day, dd and I will not have to handle it, we will ask planner to fix it, chase down person, fix problem, etc.
Dd is meeting with planner once or twice before wedding. She is paying her, I think, $600.
Dd did similar duties for a friend who got married last year, she did not get paid, it was her gift to her friend.
Talk to your friend and tell her this will require significant time on your part, is it possible you can be paid. Our you could say this is what a wedding planner would do on the day of, it would cost money, let this be my gift to your daughter. See what she says.


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