Do you offer "Day of Wedding Coordination?" The real truth behind the phrase "day of wedding coordinator"


What you, my beautiful couples, will  learn in your wedding planning process is that there is no such thing as a "Day of Wedding Planner".   Let's just take that out of our vocabulary, and "truth it up".  

This morning, after two calls about " Do you do Day of Wedding Coordination?", I wanted to share a couple of thoughts:

 It's your only wedding, and you will hear advice from everyone in your planning process.  RIGHT?  

So...You need someone to show up on your wedding day and magically take care of everything, and that is easy when you understand what you'll need.   

  What you'll need, at any venue, anywhere worldwide, is this:

  • An Awesome Wedding Planner that works with various levels of service.  Wedding planners are hired as your consultant, and you decide what level of service you would like.
  • The essential level of service should have a minimum of two-three meetings with your wedding planner.  Most likely, we'll  be at your venue walk through and tasting, a detailed timeline planning meeting, and a final detailing meeting.
  • Full service planning is like having a wedding "Best Friend".  
  • You should hire someone who is experienced.  Every wedding planner starts somewhere... and it shouldn't be at your wedding.    There are two Associations for Wedding planners that educate professionals. and  and I love learning from both associations.
  • Every one of your vendors should have a minimum of Two Million bucks of Liability Insurance.  Most venues require it.
  • It really is all about F U N  and stress relief for you.  When you hire true professionals that work together, it will be an awesome experience for you, all the way around.


The Swellegant Seven: Real Wedding Advice from Studio EMP

Cool to sit with Joel, my trusted partner,  from for a visit.   He reminded me why our business and  | He | is so great.  

Why do you love what you do?

I love what I do because I am allowed to be a part of human emotion and am able to document these feelings for my clients, and I also challenge myself to get the perfect natural moment with the right light and the beautiful emotion all happening in one instant- timing is everything.

What do you believe sets you apart from other photographers?

Anyone can make a pretty picture.  A pretty picture with emotion and feeling is of the greatest value to my clients and with that being my goal for the last 15 years I have gotten pretty dang good at it.

What would be your advice to a newly engaged couple?

“What?  About Photography?”  “Marriage?”  “Weddings?”    |Laugh|

Further, Joel, what advice do you have for newly engaged couples about the process of planning a wedding?

Use your heart to choose vendors.  Be honest about who you connect with.  You really have to connect with the person and the product.   I don’t sell something that is not “Me.”  Don’t choose vendors to “Impress people”.  This will all lead to the most enjoyable night of your life rather than the most stressed night- we don't like stress:)

When are you most inspired?

At dusk in nature.  Nature is my happy place and the light at dusk is soft, creamy, milky, relaxing and calm and fits best with my style of shooting- relaxed and comfortable.

What does it look like for a couple to have true professionals working on their wedding day?

They are able to enjoy every moment.  This goes back to choosing vendors from your heart… it’s like when we do weddings together, there is no stress and it is all fun and wonderful.  Pros take challenges in stride and fix problems so that our couples don’t have to worry about a thing and may never even know about bumps in the day. 

What is it like having Jeni, your wife, work in the same industry?

It’s been a gradual shift from when she first started until now, and it continues to evolve and change as our businesses do and as the industry does.  It’s generally a good thing as we can relate better to each others obstacles and achievements as compared to couples in different fields. 

What do you think about testimonials and online reviews?

All our reviews are real.  We started getting a lot of great reviews as the web has grown as a planning tool and have since started gently asking clients to rate us online. We get many inquiries from review sites and these people already have a pretty good feeling as to how we act and interact and they already have a bit of trust in us. 

Do you remember when we first met?

Sorry, I don’t.  You’ve always been around!  What I do remember is that from very early in our relationship I have held you up on a pedestal as a true professional and as a leader of ethical vendors in this industry. 

What do you do to keep balance?

Ride my bike and spend time with my family. 

What is your favorite wedding moment ever?

My favorite moment?  OK.  Fall, right before the ceremony, the Bride and Mom had a moment where they were talking about the Dad who passed away just a few months earlier and the bride was sad he wasn't there.  I was the only other person in the room and I was using a silent camera to not interrupt. I was crying and my heart was pounding knowing how much they would love the images I was making. THIS is why I document weddings. 

Vow Renewals Rock.  Casual, easy, and wonderful after  10,012 days,

The Swellegant Seven: Real Wedding Advice from The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel


Chatting with another expert!  Michele Knutzson, Director of Weddings at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel, is a true pro. The the first thing that I notice about you every time I come to your property is that you truly love what you do.  You love weddings!     Thanks for sharing that you recently won an incredible award Chairman’s Circle for 2013 from The Ritz-Carlton.

Would you mind answering a few questions about your expertise in the industry?

What would be some of your personal tips for a newly engaged couple?

Keep an open mind and do your research and determine the top priorities for your wedding day.   I wish I would have had the internet when I planned my own wedding. Hiring professionals in the industry will make your wedding planning process more enjoyable.   Being flexible to have a wedding on a Friday or Sunday, Mid-Week or Short Term, especially for Destination Weddings, makes sense!

How did you start the business?

After I graduated I took a year off before continuing with my Masters’ Degree to plan my own wedding in 1995, and then decided that I wanted to continue in the Wedding World rather than pursuing a career in Marriage and Family Counseling! After all, it is somewhat related. I have been in the wedding industry for almost 18 years. I was able to land a Wedding Event Manager Position at Newport Beach Marriott and then moved to Wedding Sales in 1999 and have many fond memories within my 14 years there. I transitioned over to my dream venue The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in October 2010.

What inspires you? You are truly considered an expert, and clients and industry professionals turn to you for event advice.

I love Weddings, they are the ultimate expression of one’s life, and the personal stories that my clients share with me make each and every day unique.    When we receive the honor of being their location for their wedding ceremony and reception, it is a wonderful feeling.  I love working with wedding couples and their families.  I love the dynamics of this position there is a great balance of site visits and meeting with couples and vendors, computer and emails, phone calls and conversations and creative projects that make my days go faster than light!

Tell me more about your resort.  What do you love about The Ritz- Carlton, Laguna Niguel?

I love coming to work every day.  I am very proud to be a part of this wonderful company. We were the first luxury resort in Orange County and are celebrating our 30 year Pearl Anniversary.  The setting and incredible views still take my breath away.   The creativity in the Food and Beverage experience we provide is amazing.  Our ladies and gentlemen are like family and extremely dedicated and share the same goal and culture of The Ritz-Carlton. We have many team members who have been here since the opening of the resort in 1984.


What would be your advice to someone new in the wedding industry?

If you’re a new Wedding Coordinator, for example, try to coordinate as many weddings as possible and creating a partnership with a resort and vendors is important.  Networking at Wedding Industry events would be beneficial as well. Professionalism and being as efficient as possible, and being a great team player is essential.  Having the ultimate goal in mind of creating a dream wedding for the couple should be your main priority rather than just your personal contribution and will be beneficial in the long term.

You have an incredible preferred vendor list at your resort.  Could you please give me a couple of anecdotes of what it's like to work with experienced professionals?

The experience of having someone who has worked at our resort makes it a more seamless experience for our couples.    New vendor partners can also offer fresh and new perspectives, and we’re always open to meet new vendors who can bring fresh eyes to our weddings celebrations at our resort.

What do you like to do for fun?

I really enjoy coming to work as I feel like I am on vacation when I am here!  In my free time, I like dedicate every minute to spending time with my family and three kids, whether it’s volunteering at their schools and doing school projects, going to an amusement park, skiing,  going to the beach, soccer and softball games, traveling and enjoying a great meal and dessert, shopping and gardening.

If you could do any job in the wedding industry, what would it be?

I am very fortunate, I am doing my dream job at my dream venue. I couldn’t be happier.


A big thank you to Michael & Anna Costa for their photography, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel for the venue, Square Root Designs for the floral arrangements, and Nisie's Enchanted Florist for their floral arrangements.