(Closed) Advice from brides who didn't have a DOE coordinator

posted 6 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
Member
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

We had the same # of guests, and no bridal party, with no day of coordinator – and got everything done!

I think it all depends on how much DIY you have to put up. Is there a rental company setting up your seating? Is there a florist doing the floral decor? etc. You could put a reliable family member who isn’t in the bridal party in charge of just meeting them at the site for setup. Vendors should be on the ball and know what’s what! I made some powerpoint mockups of what goes where for my family. I also had a prolific amount of DIY decor (no florist) so it required a lot more people to get it all out correctly.

Post # 4
Member
5660 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I did not have a DOE coordinator that I hired, the venue came with a coordinator but she was more the one making sure everything was going right behind the scenes, and that the setup rearding chairs and tables was correct. I had a very specific timeline that I copied from another bee, and forwarded that out to all family, bridal party, and any friends that were involved. I also had a specific list of how all of my decor was packed etc. A good friend of mine handled the set up of the decorations, and the day of, I heard that a lot of the “extra’s” (friends, bridal party spouses etc) ended up going over and helping her out. The friend also volunteered to stand by and tell all of the people who were walking down the aisle when to go. It turned out well because she was very disappointed not to be in the bridal party (we had siblings and one best friend each) and this really helped make her feel included and special.

As far as the day of, the bridal party, and the photographer kept everything timely, since the bridal party, photog, all the vendors etc all knew the timeline, everything went smoothly for the most part and knew when to be where, it went very well!

ETA: We had about 115 guests at our wedding

Post # 5
Hostess
11166 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

Well I did have a full time wedding planner however my cousin did not and I will offer some advice from the perspective of someone who was asked to help (and also a bridesmaid).

have a check list: you will be busy doing a million things, don’t expect your friends and family to know what needs to be done.

be VERY clear about the schedule, where people need to be etc: We wasted more time trying to figure out where we needed to be and it was not helpful or productive. To be honest it was the most stressful wedding I have been involved with.

pick someone (who is willing) to be the problem solver on the day of: Again, you will be busy with a million things and will not physically be able to address every issue. You need to find someone reliable that can be the go to person should something go wrong. Often venues come with an in-house coordinator so definitely ask if your venue has one.

While many people rely on the bridal party and/or parents to set up they cannot be responsible for ensuring that things go smoothly once they must assume the bridal party/parental duties such as photos etc.

communicate your vision very clearly: No one will know what you want or what your vision is unless you communicate it very clearly. I would recommend working with someone and making sure that they see your vision so that on the day of they can help direct others on how to set up.

 

Post # 7
Member
5660 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I”m happy to send you “The Packet” which was the schedule I stole from another Bee and used, it was VERY helpful. And give you some info regarding how I packed up my boxes that needed to be set out etc… The itinerary seemed to really help everyone be places on time. I never had to call anyone and be like WHERE ARE YOU???

Post # 8
Member
288 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I was the maid of honor in a friend’s wedding without a professional day-of-coordinator. She assigned one of her friends to be a “stage manager” and relied heavily on friends and family for set-up, take-down, etc so she could just relax. It worked out ok (just a few wrinkles), and she said the stage manager was a lifesaver. I don’t think it would have worked had she not been SO ORGANIZED ahead of time. 

I have to say, though — after that, I decided to absolutely have a day-of-coordinator for my wedding (luckily, one came with my venue). Although the bride wasn’t stressed, her family and friends were, and I didn’t want that for my own wedding.

Post # 9
Member
2697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I didn’t have one. I actually had printed schedules out to give to the bridal party for the weekend indicating what needed done when, but I never gave them to anyone! I was actually surprised by how smoothly everything went the day of, it was amazing.

We had set everything up the day before and that morning, my Maid/Matron of Honor brought the cake with her on Friday, we did our own flowers, so the only “coordinating” was with the caterer and the dj.

The event coordinator that came with the venue (not a DOC, but did help) must have solved some issues with the caterer as the cocktail hour was well set up–which I had forgotten about. The dj was on time and mostly went as planned, and our photographer was pretty good at keeping us on a schedule.

Once the day started, I just went with the flow. My Mother-In-Law reminded the caterer to serve the cake, and all guests that stayed till the end of the night helped with the clean up (on a whim and without being asked, I might add. They rocked.)

ETA: Our venue was very generous with set up and take down time, which is a huge part of why it went so smoothly and why we didn’t need a DOC or really even a designated friend to be in charge. We set up for about 5 hours the day before, 2 hours the morning of, cleaned up a little bit that night and returned the next morning for about an hour and a half to finish clean up.

Post # 10
Member
1210 posts
Bumble bee

Having been the “helper” for my sister’s wedding, I would say hire someone to help. It could be a family friend or whatever (doesn’t have to be a pro), but it was really tough for all of us helping her to get ready and get things set up in a timely manner. Plus, her wedding was very-DIY, and we had to take everything down at the end of the night. I would have happily paid someone else to take my place as I was totally exhausted and just wanted to go home and crash.

 

Post # 11
Member
963 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

My wedding sounds a bit like yours will be.  65 people at a private home, not crazy formal.  We didn’t have a coordinator, heck, we didn’t even have checklists and timelines, and everything went fine.  The only help I needed was who would hand out programs/fans, and who would cue the musicians to switch to the processional.  MOH’s husband did both.  When I think of what a coordinator usually does (though honestly, I’m not totally sure I understand exactly what they do), I think our caterer did all that (they came to the house where we were holding the wedding).

Post # 12
Member
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@Treejewel19:  THIS!

checklists, timelines given to your key players, and clear communication… well before the wedding. You have to just be as organized as you can, so you can just relax day-of.

I made personalized itineraries for everyone, with cute clip art and such, with a time line for the day, and saved them as pdfs and emailed them. I also included a list of tasks and duties, with the people responsible beside each item. I think this gave everyone a good idea of what they were supposed to do. Even though a few little things got overlooked, my wedding went very smoothly.

Delegate as much as you can to your Maid/Matron of Honor, or your Mom, or whoever is responsible and has that “stage manager” personality (friendly, assertive, reliable)

 

Post # 14
Member
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Haven’t gotten married yet, but my two cents as someone without a DOE coordinator (unless you count me :P)

–Checklists.  More checklists.  Add a few more checklists to be on the safe side.  Your head will be anywhere but on things like “where are the reception flowers?”  “Has the cake arrived?” but someone has to take care of those things.  I even have a checklist for the items that will be in the clutch I’ll carry to the reception.  It sounds OCD, I know, but it’ll be a lifesaver.  Do I really want to find out after I’ve destroyed my nylons with a fingernail that I don’t have another pair closer than our car?  No.  Ditto that I need a handkerchief/lipstick/nail file/whatever.

–Similarly, timelines.  I’m lucky in that I’ll have the whole week before the wedding off.  I already have a timeline for that week, down to what I’m doing during a given hour block on certain days.  (Do bear in mind, though, that I’m DIYing the wedding and groom’s cakes, the flowers, and the decorations, plus I’m moving most of my stuff to our new, four-hours-away house the weekend before, so I probably need to be more obsessively organized than perhaps the average bride.)

–Communicate.  Do not assume that anyone, from your maid of honor to the celebrant to, yes, your fiance, knows what you’re thinking.  You might think she’s supposed to help you with setup all day.  She might be thinking she’s spending three hours that afternoon at the spa.  Etc.  Ask the maids to help with things that they’re good at, and when other friends say “can I help with anything?”…take them up on it.  Really.  Then write it down.  Remind them a week or so before.

–Take plenty of time for YOU that day.  Remember to eat breakfast and lunch before an evening ceremony, and make it something balanced with protein.  Drink plenty of water.  If you find yourself thinking “I can’t pee right now, I’m too busy” you need to delegate, and you probably can’t delegate peeing, mkay?  Build in more time than you think you’ll need for hair and makeup.  I’m DIYing mine.  For a 4:30 ceremony, I’ll be getting to the location at 3:00.  I’ve never taken more than 45 minutes to do my hair and makeup, and the “45” quote was probably for either a recital or a show.  I know I’ll be nervous, and I might have to redo my makeup a few times before it’s done.  That’s fine.  What wouldn’t be fine is having my face an inch deep in cold cream at 4:25.  When I’m short on time, I’m stressed.  Stressed is not a part of my dream wedding day, thankyouverymuch.

–As a PP said, find someone who’s very competent and very tactful and have her take charge of Getting Things Done.  Give her a copy of the timeline, everyone’s cell phone numbers, and the checklists.  She will save your life today.  Remember to send her chocolate or whatever her favorite treat is afterwards.  Let her handle the stress, and if the car blows up/the wedding ring gets stolen/the reception venue tells her when she gets there that oh, oops, we double-booked and we’re bumping you…she can handle the worst of it and tell you about it calmly and non-dramatically.

Post # 15
Member
693 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Make lists, direct, and delegate. I had under 30 guests for my Destination Wedding (most guests stayed the week) and it was chaos.

No one knew what to do, no one could dress themselves, everyone forgot their makeup/hairstuff/clothes….people were in my cottage, they wouldn’t leave, my family never showed up for those “omg my daughter just put her dress on and now we’re all crying” pics…chaos…my ceremony was at 7:30 and at 7:05 I was still fixing things for others. No shower for me, and I didn’t get to fix my hair. Seriously?! 

I had DH’s aunt designated as our “Wedding B” B meaning bitch. (Her name for it)

 

Post # 16
Member
2692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I am not married yet but I am not hiring a professional day of coordinator.  Instead, I am hiring fmil’s distant cousin as my day of helper and she will get a detailed list from me of what I need her to do and when/what time to do them…for the most part she will be with me to set up the reception tables and linens and my DIY decor/pick up bouquets from florist.  And she will help set up ceremony site and mann cocktail hour and clean up after as well.

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