Post # 1
Hey Bees! I need your sound advice on this.
I live in Philadelphia, but I’m getting married in Northern NJ. Since I’m from the Caribbean and my parents still live there, my mom has been helping out with the wedding planning from overseas. It’s tough for her to plan from afar, as I’m sure you can imagine. However, I really feel like I have things under control. She’s asked me to look into hiring a wedding/events coordinator to help us out. Now, here’s a mini-vent: My parents have offered to pay for the wedding, but their vision is much more elaborate than mine. A couple of days ago, they called me and said that they were horrified at how much everything was going to cost (the most costly items being THEIR additions to my current plan). As a solution, they want me to slice 60-80 people from my guest list. BUT, they also want me to hire an events coordinator, which I imagine won’t be all that cheap. The people they want me to cut from the guest list are my college friends (who I am very, very close to), so I’m not too cool with that idea. My opinion is, I’d rather nix the coordinator if it means my friends get to attend the wedding.
So, in trying to sort this out, I’m asking for your opinions on the events coordinator issue. Did you/are you hiring one? If so, what are the up and downsides? On average, how much should I pay an events coordinator? Do they make things infinitely easier, or did you find it made things more complicated when you added them to the mix? I’m concerned about a coordinator not sharing my vision for the wedding. Then again, I’m a notorious control-freak. Maybe I just need to lighten up.
Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!
Post # 3
I personally am not hiring one, and I am planning long distance (New York to Philadelphia), all by myself, and while working 70-80 hours a week in finance. So you definitely don’t need a planner. I think what is more common is hiring a day-of coordinator that would help run the wedding smoothly. My venue includes one, and if they didn’t I would definitely hire one. A DOC obviously would not influence your vision as she shows up only shortly before the event.
Regarding cutting your list, I think that is very extreme. My college friends are my most important guests after immediate family, and I would never cut them from the guest list. However, do you really have 60-80 very close friends? Maybe cut a few people you’re not close to and then talk to your parents about other ways to cut costs.
Post # 4
@GirlWithARing: Thanks, I’m going to look into a DOC instead. That sounds like a really good idea. And thanks for pointing out the fact that my first message made it sound like I have 60-80 really close friends. I don’t, actually, but when my parents saw the list that included my college friends, they acted like those friends should be on a “B” list, and then they gave me a list of names of THEIR friends (people I’m definitely not close to) who they think should be added. When I removed a bunch of my friends and added my parents’ friends, the guest number actually went UP, not down, so you can see how frustrating this is.
So, in short, my parents want me to cut a huge chunk of people, and first on the cutting room floor should be my college friends. Such a stressful process!
Post # 5
I hired one and I couldn’t be happier! Seriously, to me she is worth her weight in gold! I am getting married in another state and I’m still in school and having a wedding planner was on the top of my list. She cost $1800 and that’s the ultimate package meaning she takes care of every little detail, negotiations, and executes everything that I want! We have unlimited hours of meeting and talking and I can be involved as I want to be. I personally am very involved. It also takes the stress off me and my mom from planning, which we briefly tried, and it eases the tension between us since we aren’t planning together. Basically, I am very involved and am enjoying the process! Do some research on finding one and interview some, even if you decide that it’s not right for you. They also have different packages, so you can decide how little or how much they are helping. Good luck!!
Post # 6
- Wedding: May 2011 - Bartram's Garden
A coworker of mine, who has a very bossy, type-A personality (I mean that in the very best way) is going to be my DOC. She doesn’t have any professional experience but she’s a newlywed and she’s SO organized that I think she’ll be awesome.
Post # 7
I think the need for a DOC or coordinator can have as much to do with temperament as it does organizational skills or geography.
We decided to hire someone to assist with the day-of and last minute coordination because, even though I’m pretty on the ball and live fifteen minutes from my venue, I tend to get anxious and spazzy over small logisitcal details. My mother is a great help, but she’s out of state and often has her own ideas about how and when things need to be done. Having a coordinator gives both of us someone at whom to direct these concerns, and has made the planning process a lot more enjoyable than it would’ve been otherwise.
We dealt with the “vision” problem by making sure to interview every potential coordinator in person. Those with whom we didn’t gel were crossed off the list. Anyone who seemed skeptical of an idea for reasons that weren’t entirely logisitcal didn’t make the cut either. That is, we went with the woman who explained why a cocktail reception wouldn’t work for our guests – not the one who remarked how odd it was that we’d nixed dancing.
Having said all that, it seems that if there’s a problem of vision it’s with your parents and not an as-yet-unhired coordinator. They seem to want something very different for your wedding than what you had imagined, and I agree with PPs that cutting your friends so that they can have the party of their dreams would be a sad misallocation of their funds. Maybe sit down with them and see if the two of you can get on the same page about what the key elements of the celebration are going to be before moving forward with other plans?
Post # 8
I completely share your pain! I though coordinators were people who come in and take over the whole affair, I was completely wrong! I hired a DOC which turned out to be the best thing I could have done because I was so stressed out by my friends and family, I seriously considered just going to AC and forgetting the whole thing all together. I actually found her though my cousin (she lives is CA). Turns out she just moved to North NJ and was starting up a new business so she gave us a great deal and with all the money she saved us (not to mention stress) it didn’t even put us over budget ($18,000). If you are still looking for someone let me know and i’ll give you her contact info.
Post # 9
@LuckyLady777: Yes, I am looking for a DOC in the North NJ area! If it’s convenient, it would be great if you could send me her info in a personal message. Thank you so much!
Post # 10
I hired a DOC and the peace of mind is SO worth it! I don’t want to be worrying about timelines, if everything is getting set up correctly, etc. the day of my wedding. I originally didn’t think a DOC would be in my budget, but I really lucked out and found one who is just starting out (and is now completely booked for the year!) so I got a great deal. That’s an option too — look for someone who’s still new and is trying to build her business, but obviously you feel comfortable trusting her with your day! Good luck.