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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dispelling Some Myths about Day-of-Coordinations

What is A Day-of-Coordinator and What Does A Day-of-Coordinator Do? 

When I speak to people outside of the wedding industry, the look on their faces says it all when I ask them if they are familiar with what a Day-of-Coordinator (DOC) is.  It's usually a combination of a blank stare or I see in their eyes that "inquiring minds want to know" expression.

More Wedding Coordinators actually find themselves being hired for DOC's than for the Full-Planning of a weddings.  Every Coordinator is different yet similar in what they offer in this type of package.  It's many a Wedding Coordinator's dream to only do Full-Planning in comparison.  Don't get me wrong!  I do both!

Let's dispel some myths!

Myth #1:  A Day-of-Coordinator is a miracle worker!  According to some!
My mouth about dropped to the floor when I read somewhere that a person should hire a Day-of-Coordinator because they would keep people from getting drunk at a wedding!  Okay!  I'd hate to inform that person that that does not fall within a DOC's responsibility or capability.  Even bartenders can only try their best on this one.  Weddings are so unpredictable when it comes to guests' behavior.   I often say, "Only at weddings and funerals are people so unpredictable!"

Myth #2:  A Day-of-Coordinator only works on the day of the wedding.
Whether it is a request from a lead list or speaking to a bride in person for the first time, the most common misconception is that a Day-of-Coordination (DOC) is only for the day of the wedding.   Usually a bride wants to really make it clear that a Coordinator understands that it is only for the wedding day.  It isn't a case that they wouldn't like to have a Full-Planning package, but it is more of a statement of being afraid of spending the money, but they realize they need some help.  Contrary to the popular opinion, there really is no such thing as a "Day-of" anything for a wedding professional.  For instance, an average of 40-80 hours of work goes into a DOC before the wedding day! 

Myth #3:  A Day-of-Coordinator will find all the vendors you still need.
Seldom is this the case.  This is actually more in line with a Full-Planning option.  For this reason, many Coordinators have a planning package that falls somewhere in between the two options.  It is part of the reason I don't list my price.  No two brides are alike and neither are their weddings.  

Myth #4:  No Coordinator can possibly help a bride within a month of the wedding! 
Wrong!  We can.  The fact is, that we often get requests for DOC's within 3-6 months before a wedding. The closest I've had is about 6 weeks.  It's usually when a bride begins to feel overwhelmed and is honest with herself to realize she needs some help and wants to be able to enjoy her wedding day.  Depending on how deeply she has involved her family to help on the wedding day, many of them can also relax instead of work on the wedding day, too.  Sometimes life situations change and it really is important to hire someone to help.

So What Does A Day-of-Coordinator Do? 

1.  A DOC (from hereon out referred to as a Coordinator) will have a consultation with the bride and groom and really get to know them and their vision of their wedding.

2.  A Coordinator will get all of the contact information for the vendors, professional and non-professional alike and begin communicating with them almost immediately.  A Coordinator cannot do a legal review of vendor or venue contracts but can look for troublespots or see if what the bride and groom want can happen within the parameters of the contract.

3.  A Coordinator will get the contact information of the bridal party so that they can be reached at any time to make sure everyone knows what they will be doing and they know to contact the Coordinator if they have any questions of problems.

4.  A Coordinator will get the contact information of the family members on boths sides.  It is important to know right from the beginning any of the family dynamics such as divorces, step-parents, to prevent any awkward moments later on!  

5.  A Coordinator will almost immediately take a tour of the venue because this is where the biggest surprises can come up.  Assumptions are made that can lead to a lot of trouble.  Also, a layout will be developed for the space as it will be used for the wedding/reception or both.  One instance will stay in my mind forever.  A bride hired me for a DOC and upon visiting the venue, I knew that there wasn't a chair cover on the market at that time that would cover the black chairs at the venue.  Keep in mind that it was culturally undesirable to have black in the wedding.  She had ordered $600 worth of chair covers and sashes to rent.  Fortunately, she got her money back and we found a solution with wooden chairs with seat cushions that matched one of her wedding colors.  The best part is that this solution cost less that the chair covers and sashes.

6.  A Coordinator will create a timeline that will give everyone involved a clear picture of what will be happening and when.  These can vary from one Coordinator to the next as far how detailed they are, but they will allow for cushions of time to help things go according to plan as much as possible.

7.  A Coordinator will be able to handle the disasters and more often than not, in such a way that the bride will not even know that anything happened.  Lets say it depends on the magnitude of the disaster!   A venue I worked at often this summer will not be one that I will work at for a wedding any time soon unless changes are made.  Let's leave it at an electrical fire and 3 weddings with backed up plumbing!  

8.  A Coordinator will pay special attention to guests that she is informed of that might need some extra attention.  It can be as simple as attending to someone who is unable to walk through the buffet line.

9.  A Coordinator will act as the liaison between the client and the venue and any one working the wedding.  They will also be on the lookout for anything that might potentially keep a client from getting their damage deposit back.

10.  A Coordinator will be available first thing in the day to receive all deliveries until the very end.

One more thing to note.  Rehearsals are not always included in DOC packages.  So be sure to ask if that is included or if it will be a separate cost.

So there you have it!  A glimpse into the life of a Day-of-Coordinator! 

Wishing you the greatest of days!