day of coordinating own vs professional

posted 9 months ago in Logistics
Post # 2
Member
1637 posts
Bumble bee

I’ve only been to one wedding that didn’t have a professional day of planner. The bride’s friend volunteered to do it for free. It was by a very wide margin the worst wedding I have ever been to, for many reasons, and I place a decent portion of the blame on a lack of a day of coordinator. 

What went wrong?

Everything was very behind schedule.  We were in hot, direct sunlight on a humid day…and the bride was quite late. Why? Who knows — but it’s the job of the day of coordinator to help prevent this. 

The guests were mostly in the dark about what was going on, and what was next. When it came time to eat, it was more of a random stampede to the dining hall. Nobody knew where to sit. Nobody knew what the rules were. We were told the head table was family only, but how does one define family? Some of the elderly folks were very stressed/insisent that they were family.  We asked the day of coordinator, and she didn’t know.  Sitting down took a long time. 

Instead of realizing the guests were HANGRY AS HELL (it was an early afternoon ceremony), we proceeded to uh just do everything in the planned order I guess but inefficiently and late. I have never wanted a “speech” to end as much as I did then. I was so hungry. My table was hungry. Low blood sugar was definitely settling in. Ended up eating around 8pm because everything was running so late.

My entire table left before the cake was even cut because we were tired and didn’t feel that well between the overheating, dehydration, and hunger. 

 

 

All of this to say, I highly recomend hiring someone who you trust will keep things running on schedule. I actually think most brides worry too much about their weddings — people will enjoy it. But the one surefire way to make people dislike your wedding is to serve dinner very very late, and make them wait in the hot sun for a long time because you are running late. 

Post # 3
Member
1515 posts
Bumble bee

Hate to say it, but we did go with a professional day of planner.  Our venue also came with a planner, but we were planning out of state and we had so many mixups, incorrect orders, incorrect billing, and so one.  We finally decided that for us, it was worth the money to not worry.  Our venue planner, also decided they didn’t need to be at the rehearsal, on site.  Thank god, for our professional planners.  They got everyone organized and down the aisle as planned.  They got our venue set up exactly as we had pictured.  It was seamless and we owe it all to them.  They were kind, when the in house person was rude and unhelpful.  They saved our wedding.  

Post # 4
Member
527 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2018

Unless your venue is doing it for you, you should expect to set up and take down everything – not just centerpieces and signs. Think chairs, tables, lighting, decor, table settings etc. You will need to meet all of your vendors and tell them where to set up. You will likely then have to break everything down and leave the space as you found it. 

At my venue we didn’t even have access to the space until 1pm (for a 4pm ceremony) and everything had to be broken down and cleaned up by 2am. It would have been impossible to do that ourselves and still get ourselves ready in time. We went for a planner and it was the best decision ever. Well worth our money.

Post # 5
Member
5066 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

I would say to ABSOLUTELY have a day of coordinator- a lot of them are supporting you through the last month AND the day of. I’ve got event planning experience but had never planned a wedding before. There were several little things that I hadn’t even realized I hadn’t considered until my coordinator pointed them out to me. There were numerous tiny details that she navigated the day of (and in the last couple weeks) that really allowed me to drop in and just be present for my wedding day. The point of your wedding is to get married- not to be organizing people and things and answering questions (which you will be doing- even if someone who hasx offered helps you because unless they’ve been a wedding planner in the past, they likely don’t really know what they’re doing and so they will ask you)

Not having a day of coordinator is like having all the goods and vendors for your wedding but no venue, IMO. Why take the time to pay for everything and plan the entire beautiful day only to have to work on your wedding day, too, and in your wedding dress, to boot?

Post # 6
Member
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Originally we weren’t going to hire one.  But all of our vendors recommended it – our reception coordinator said her photographer had a family emergency and couldn’t make it so had to handle the issue herself. I’ve heard other horror stories.  I think it’ll be worth the money for ease of mind – that way my only stress is OMG GETTING MARRIED and not mishaps, issues, etc.

Granted, we have invited 200 people (hoping for 150ish or less, actual) which is much bigger than 75… but at the same time, who’s going to help set up and take down?  Coordinate the rehearsal?  Do you want vendors coming to your dressing room, asking where stuff goes?  There may be more moving pieces than you realize.

And honestly, even if friends and family offered to help, I’d want them to just enjoy being guests!

Post # 7
Member
8983 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

Our Day of Coordinator was worth her weight in gold. We credit her for our day being absolutely perfect.

She made sure all the vendors knew where they should be and kept on schedule.

She made sure all the parents and the wedding party members knew where they should and what they should be doing. 

She coordinated everyone walking down the aisle (told them where to stand and then cued them on when to walk down). 

She coordinated most of the set up (our florist was in charge of any floral decorations) and take down.

She made sure I had thought through who would take everything home (decor, gifts, extra cake, leftover alcohol, etc). She had me make a list and then made sure it happened.

She had food/drinks from the cocktail hour brought out to us while we were doing photos so we didn’t get too hungry.

She came up with entire schedule for the day and made sure we stayed on it. And there’s honestly probably a million little things that I don’t even know she did because she made sure we didn’t have to worry about anything.

We still get comments from people about how our wedding was the best organized one they’ve ever been to. At my brother’s wedding he and his wife kept asking how we managed to get everyone where they needed to be and all we could say was the coordinator did it. And honestly, I felt bad that thier family (mostly her mom) had to keep running around all night rather than enjoy the wedding.

There are a lot of places you can save money but really spend the money to hire a professional DOC. It will be so much better than trying to have friends/family do it.

Post # 8
Member
203 posts
Helper bee

I’m not having a coordinator! They are so darn expensive and I am a very organised person. So far it hasn’t been difficult at all. I found my own people, negotiated my own rates (probably cheaper too) and told them what I wanted. What’s the big deal? No one has flaked on me, no one has been difficult, and they’re all professionals and can figure stuff out.

Post # 9
Member
169 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Our day of coordinator was outstanding.  Several of my dear friends are event/wedding coordinators, and all of them reccomended we hire someone- and they were right.  It totally took any lingering stress/issues off the table so we could just enjoy the day.  Happy Wedding!

Post # 10
Member
1459 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

A day of coordinator is worth more than anything. I honestly don’t think our wedding would have been so amazing without her. She kept me sane and kept everything flowing. And I am an extremely organized person. I had a venue coordinator and decorator but she was still worth it. 

Post # 11
Member
527 posts
Busy bee

I didn’t have one the first time and wished I did. My family set up all of the decorations themselves and I gave them a very detailed outline of what to do and how I wanted it, but there were still a few things that weren’t exactly right. It ended up working out because my DJ was super organized, but I wish I had splurged a bit – not for a planner, but just the day of coordinator.

Post # 12
Member
1385 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Banquet Hall/Conference Center

We have a venue coordinator but there’s been staff changes there and honestly for a large wedding of over 300 people, I really want to hire a DOC if not for venue stuff then at least for people and wedding party management (keeping everyone informed on where to be when  and chasing people and vendors down, entrance and rehearsal management, etc.). My dad, however, thinks this is dumb and would prefer the DOC concentrate on venue related things like making sure the wait staff refills the forks and the food is in and out on time, set up, tear down management, etc.

Even if we do a DOC though, we are still going to have friends and family volunteers to direct people wear to go, drive people around/pick up from airport, etc.

Post # 13
Member
653 posts
Busy bee

rvrmtn10 :  My venue includes a Day of Coordinator, which was a big part of the reason we ended opting for our venue. They do weddings all the time, know all our vendors, will be there to walk us through the rehearsal and everything. If we had opted for our other venue choice, we would definitely have hired a DOC because I just don’t want to have anything to worry about logistically that day.

Post # 14
Member
1869 posts
Buzzing bee

curiouscat2017 :  This isn’t so much a lack of a DOC as it is an incredibly unorganized couple. It sounds like the majority of their issues could have been resolved if they actually planned stuff out properly. Table plans, and a schedule aren’t complicated at all.

 

I’m not going to have a DOC, I contemplated it, but I think there’s places in our budget where the money could be better spent. I am however a complete type A. My wedding is almost a year away and I’m already working on my Day of Timeline, have a detailed spreadsheet for all my vendor contacts etc. Each person in my group, parents & attendants will have the complete timeline, of where to be and when. I think whether you need the DOC depends on how big and complicated your wedding is, and also how organized you’ve been setting everything up.

Post # 15
Member
966 posts
Busy bee

Go with the professionals 100%

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