day of coordinating own vs professional

posted 9 months ago in Logistics
Post # 16
Member
6629 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

rvrmtn10 :  I say this as a wedding photographer with 10+ years in the business. Hire a coordinator. A good day of coordinator is worth their weight in gold. 

The thing about a DOC is that they’ve already talked with you, at length, about your wishes and how the day should go. They’re the ones making final contact with all the vendors (many of whom they likely already have a relationship with) and are also the point of contact for all the vendors the day of. When a problem pops up (and it 100% will) they will handle it and move on. They will also think of things you haven’t and are able to put out fires before they even start.

Can you have a family member or friend do it? Of course. But in my experience it NEVER goes well. They start out ok, but tend to crumble pretty quickly. No matter how much you tell them what they need to do at the end of the day they are ALWAYS running to the bride with a crisis. That’s never OK and a professional will handle the situation without the bride ever even having to know. Almost always by the time the reception has rolled around the family/friend has abandoned ship and has now moved on to trying to enjoy themselves.

I can tell you that as the photographer a lot of times the flow of the day tends to default fall to me. Of course we’re going to step in and be the point person for the timeline because if we don’t it just messes things up for that. All that being said, we shouldn’t have to be in charge of your day/timeline. We are hired to be there and do our job, which is photograph your day. Whenever we’re having to worry about making sure all the other details are present and accounted for that’s time away from what we should be doing – photographing your wedding. I can promise you that your other vendors are not in any way going to pick up the slack for your lack of a coordinator. They’ve got their own duties to handle. 

And to the people who think disasters happen from lack of planning, I can 100% tell you that is not the case. I’ve seen the most meticulous and OCD brides have total disaster weddings. Why? Because they didn’t have a DOC there to make sure the day went according to those well thought out plans. 

Post # 17
Member
1366 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

Hire a DOC – it is the best thing we ever did. She more than made up for her cost by finding and providing cost savings through vendor relationships, tried and true cost saving suggestions, as well as services and supplies she could provide either at a huge savings or for free. 

My wedding day had alot of moving parts (we didn’t have that many more guests – about 105), and while it flew by, it wasn’t stressful once the ceremony started. One huge thing that went wrong is we had gotten heaters from a highly recommended vendor, because while our weather was perfect, a cold front was supposed to roll through (it did) and the temperature was to drop significantly during the reception. Unfortunately, the heaters arrived broken. They actually arrived the day before broken, but we obviously didn’t figure it out until setup. Well, she didn’t – because I was upstairs getting ready with my ladies and relaxing. She was able to take care of it to my satisfaction (at the time, the vendor was a huge PITA later for getting a refund. And she even helped with that in the weeks AFTER the wedding), and my day was seriously worry free. She kept time and pace for everything. Made sure we did everything we needed, and she and her assistants cleaned everything up when Darling Husband and I were already passed out in our hotel.

 

By contrast, my rehearsal dinner was absolutely godawful for me. The vast majority had a good time, but I spent the whole time worrying about everyone having a good time, and I had to be stressed and worried when my parents were complaining about things and I had to be the one to work with the staff to get things to move faster. I basically became the damn coordinator and couldn’t enjoy ANY OF IT. It was so bad that I didn’t even want to have the damn wedding the next day because I didn’t want to stress out about people having a good time (I still did to an extent) and my parents being disappointed in everything.

 

$1000 may sound like alot right now, but think of it as $1000 to protect the rest of your investment of the wedding. FWIW, that was about what I paid for mine – it got me the full 8 hours day of, rehearsal the day before, 3 meetings prior to that, and unlimited phone calls and texts. WORTH EVERY PENNY!

Post # 18
Member
1366 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

rvrmtn10 :  Honestly, cut something else if you have to over the coordinator. I don’t know when you’re getting married, but I really recommend hiring one ASAP. Mine also reviewed contracts, but I hired her after we’d booked most of our stuff. Had I hired her earlier, she would have reviewed them before I signed anything, which would have been major help when we had some venue issues. Ultimately most of the issues that arose weren’t $$$ issues (though some were potentially), but the amount of stress she would have saved me would have been priceless.

Post # 19
Member
3893 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

Well I’m going to go against the grain and say you can easily do it without a coordinator. I didn’t have one. All you need is someone at the reception who knows when to announce things (e.g. could be the DJ or best man) like if you want your entrance announced, when people should do speeches etc. 

Other than that the only thing we needed to think about was transport (i.e. I arrived in a car with my bridesmaids and then my husband and I used that car to go and do photos, so my bridesmaids needed another way to get to the reception). 

And some set up/down stuff. My ceremony vendors handled all the ceremony setup/down, and my friend organised the centrepieces for the reception. 

Unless you have complicated things going on a DOC isn’t really necessary imo.

Post # 20
Member
1917 posts
Buzzing bee

I did not have a day of coordinator, 160 guests, diy venue.  I am an attorney and have event planning experience.  It wasn’t that big of a deal but a coordinator would have been nice.  I personally directed rehersal.  Yes, vendors came to talk to me while I was getting ready and yes I was out and about checking setup myself.  Our caterer was contracted for all take down so I didn’t do much with that but did have to provide some direction on what to do with kegs and gifts, etc. I was polite enough to my guests to stay on time and not make them wait.  Only spots I absolutely had to get extra help were that I had family make and bring the centerpieces (they volunteered) and I had to ask an aunt to help time people walking into the ceremony and to cue the Dj for ceremony music and when we entered the reception.  I think our officiant, who was a friend, directed people milling around before the ceremony to go sit down.  

Post # 21
Member
8983 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

laura0707 :  That’s not what a DOC handles, that’s a wedding planner. I did all that stuff too. But a DOC makes sure you don’t have to deal with anything on your actual wedding day so you can just enjoy the day.

Post # 22
Member
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

DaniGirl03 :  Are you having a smaller wedding? I’m also type A, and I work in the event industry and still knew that I would need a DOC. I organized everything for myself too down to floor plans, timelines, staff paperwork, ordering my own equipment, etc. It’s impossible to oversee all of the moving parts for yourself on the actual day though (unless you want to constantly check things and feel like you are working 😩). Since you are also type A, I think it’s even MORE important for you to hire someone you can trust to make sure that everything runs smoothly and is correct. (See starfish’s comment). A more laid back bride might not care as much, but you clearly will because of your personality.

 

OP, I absolutely recommend getting a DOC. The good ones are worth their weight in gold! Pre-Event they’ll assist you with creating a final timeline, floor plan, and finalizing all of the details (things that you haven’t even thought of). During the event, they will oversee all of your vendors, all set-up, and monitor your timeline. They will serve as a contact for all of your vendors and will take care of any issues that may arise so you don’t need to be involved. They’ll also double check that everything is correct so that all you have to do is relax and enjoy your big day. They’ll keep your wedding party in order during photos, when it’s time to walk down the aisle, and intros. They’ll take pressure off of your wedding party and family members by making sure everyone has clear directions on where to be and at what time. They’ll even notify the appropriate person when it’s time for their toast, formal dance, etc. Your DOC will cue the DJ so that the correct music is playing at the right times during your ceremony and recpetion. At the end of the night, they will also make sure that all of your personal belongings, gifts, and leftover alcohol are packed and get to the correct location/person.

It’s always obvious to me when a wedding doesn’t have a DOC (or they have a bad one). It would be a shame for what should be a memorable occasion to be tarnished with unnecessary stress and the possibility of appearing disorganized…especially when you are spending so much money!

Post # 23
Member
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

starfish0116 :  +1,000!! I agree with you 100% πŸ™ŒπŸ½πŸ™ŒπŸ½πŸ™ŒπŸ½

Post # 24
Member
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

laura0707 : Girl, if only it were as simple as “they are all professionals, and can figure stuff out”. πŸ˜©πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Post # 25
Member
1869 posts
Buzzing bee

spaceship54321 :  yes I’m having a small wedding, hence the reason I decided for me it wasn’t essential. I’ve been in hotels for years and did time in catering as well. A lot of the issues I’ve found depend on how complicated things are set up as well as how big your event is. 

Mine is in Las Vegas and about 25 people including bridal party. Simple ceremony at chapel, then photographs. Then sit down dinner and then champagne and cake in our suite. We have an mc for the last part of the night for about an hour. But I don’t need to coordinate anything day of with anyone. So for what I need it just wasn’t $1500 worth spending. I don’t need them to review contracts, be at rehearsal, or do a set up or take down. 

Post # 26
Member
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

DaniGirl03 :  That’s why I asked the size. For 25 people I agree that it’s not essential. I was speaking from my experience (also in catering, and wedding planning) as a fellow type A bride but I had 120 guests and the “whole Shebang”. Disregard πŸ‘πŸΎ

Post # 27
Member
259 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

We’re having a small wedding (50 people) and have hired a DOC.  Our venue is a restaurant who are magnificant at what they do but who have limited experience with events.

Our DOC and her team will: pick up our cake, be the point-of-contact for our vedors, set up and style the ceremony space, lay out placecards in the restaurant, coordinate with our celebrant so that the ceremony goes smoothly, pack up the ceremony space, wrap our ceremony flowers into little posies for guests to take home if they so choose, take any wedding gifts to FMILs house and drop of our overnight bags at the hotel where we’re staying that night.

With the exception of a few things, these are all tasks that could be done by friends or family. But we didn’t want anyone to have to “work” on our wedding day. 

Post # 28
Member
502 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I will always say get a professional, you paid all this money and want the day to run perfectly so why not just bite the bullet and pay a bit more. Maybe you don’t really need one but it’s nice knowing in the back of your head that someone is there and will be by your side if anything happens. I’m probably biased because I’ve hired one for my wedding this summer but honestly the last thing I want to do is run a run coordining everything. I’ve been to weddings where there is no professional and it’s fine, but the schedule by was behind. 

Post # 29
Member
203 posts
Helper bee

I think I must have been really lucky so far. I haven’t had any problems with anyone at all, but it seems like this is the exception rather than the rule :/

Post # 30
Member
5023 posts
Bee Keeper

I got a DOC who was just starting out. Honestly, having someone there 100% committed to US and the WEDDING was such a life saver. Family will offer, but they will get pulled aside, chat with other people, maybe be too nice to you if you’re running late, not want to offend anyone, etc. A DOC is a job, and they look at it as their responsibility to make sure everything runs smooth. 

My DOC cost $550 and I would have paid double because she was amazing. 

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