Hi all. I’ve been seeing a lot of questions about hiring a day of coordinator. We’re getting married at a church and having our reception at a different venue that does offer a day of event coordinator. Do I need to worry about another coordinator to help throughout the day or is an event coordinator at the reception venue enough? Thanks!
I think you'll get mixed responses on this because it depends how broad the scope is for your venue's coordinator . A lot of the time, they will only support things specific to the venue, and nothing else, so if you need help with other things like keeping your florist on time, or coordinating with your DJ, etc., they might not work with other vendors. I would first ask your venue exactly what support their DOC will/will not provide, and then decide if there are areas where you still need help. We got lucky in that our venue's DOC is willing to help support other areas, but other couples on here have found they also need a more general DOC in addition to the venue-specific one.
I'd ask what your venue coordinator is able to do. Our venue had a venue coordinator as well, but she only took care of things directly related to the venue. Hiring a DOC was a no-brainer for us, because we needed help with other things beyond issues directly related to our venue. I think the first step is to get some more information about what your venue coordinator is able to do!
If the venue provides a coordinator, they generally only make sure you follow venue rules. They will not perform the duties that an actual hired day-of coordinator will perform. Many venues provide a venue coordinator and require that you hire your own coordinator because they are performing different duties with different agendas.
Honestly, I feel like this kind of depends on how much you have going on. Many people would recommend getting a DOC for everything to make sure it all runs smoothly. I think that if what you have planned is pretty simple you can probably get away with just having someone there at the ceremony site to help with timing and then use the EC at the reception venue. However, ECs provided by a venue are generally more focused on the property and not on running your event. If you're at all worried, I would definitely get a dedicated DOC. If you're not, or it's just REALLY not in the budget, maybe see if a friend or family member can be on hand before the ceremony to help keep timing in mind (and tell BM/GM when to start walking down the aisle for the processional if needed). If you go that route, just make sure that the friend/family member isn't in the bridal party or an honored guest like a parent.
I have been involved with many weddings, friend & family, and only 3 with professional planners outside the venue. One, for someone living outside the country, who researched options, sent to get brides decisions. And after going over things with the bride, a fa.ily volunteer, myself and Bride's mom, was done. So well prepared, everything fell into place. No one for ceremony, or venue, but the appropriate person knew of deliveries, very few set up needs. cheap, compared to many one day of people. The others were for average brides, fairly well organized in their work ad home lives, and they were a waste of these bride's time and money. It took hours and hours to fill them in, and they did not direct, intervene , or do anything but pre-ceremony decorating , that has not always been done by family and friends, with no one overburdened, and no money. For this person to open the door for the photographer and say, going there, at home. And a different person to show the florist ( who always know churches better than you), and venue staff direct and help for 15-30 minutes, Done. Nothing hard, not a chore. Maybe if bride and Groom have no family or tied to little children, it would be worth it. But if you have planned well, things generally go as they should. If no more than 1 vendor is a new person, they mostly work with a few intelligent questions and having the where's pointed out. Until about 200 guests and up, a waste. I also am not of the camp that says no one should lift a finger on your wedding day if not paid. Things on the order of taking 5 bouts and 5 coursages from a florist and giving them out to groomsmen, won't break your brother or aunt's day, and people tend to enjoy backstage prep. Come the ceremony, they want to be seated. If the brides spent half the time prepping a few other people as they did the Coordinator, all would have gotten done.
Our venue had an event coordinator, and we opted not to hire anyone else. All of the vendors communicated well with each other, and we didn't have any issues throughout the day. The only issue I had was actually a valet problem before the ceremony, which was in the general duties of the event coordinator anyway since the valets were part of the venue. I agree with others in finding out what your venue coordinator's role is and see if you find that to be sufficient.
It all depends if you are doing something a little more special or need help for the ceremony. If anything you can always designate one of your bridesmaids, a family member, or a friend to help with the timing like getting everyone ready to walk down the aisle, gathering certain people for photo ops at the church, etc. I've been to weddings where there was a wedding planner or event coordinator, or someone from the bridal party that was getting things going before and after the ceremony. All up to you!
The first venue I worked at we were very hands on through the entire planning process and we really did act as a DOC. We kept in contact with the vendors through the day, helped make sure our couples started photos on time, and helped signal DJs for Ceremony and reception activities.
The next one I worked at was total opposite. We knew what time the vendors were supposed to be there and would call if they ran late, but beyond that if it wasn't our job it wasn't our job.
So definitely get a firm list of what services your venue DOC offers, but mostly I would just prepare to hire one of your own.
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