Do you need a Day Of Coordinator for your DIY wedding? Not quite sure what a Day Of Coordinator even is? Sam, from SDCelebrations, has all your questions answered and some great advice to really help you decide if you could do with a safe pair of helping hands on your day.
I’m Sam from SDCelebrations and I’m a wedding planner and Independent Celebrant. I’m often asked what does a wedding Day of Coordinator (DOC) actually do and are they worth the money, so today I’m going to explain a little about what to expect. If you are getting married at a venue they will be providing a Duty Manager to oversee the setup and service provided. They are concerned with the service that they, as the venue, provide.
If you are having what is classed as a “DIY” wedding i.e. you are dry hiring either a venue, for example, a barn or you’re having a marquee or tipi put up in a garden or a field. The closer the day gets you start to wonder who is going to lay the tables and put out the place cards? Who is going to put the cake up in the correct place? Who is folding the napkins? Who will check that all the hire equipment has arrived and isn’t broken? I’ve never done a wedding when something isn’t missing or something hasn’t broken in transit – if you don’t let the hire company know within a certain amount of time you will be charged for breakages.
Yes, all of the above things can be done by you before the wedding day if you have access to the area, but wouldn’t you rather be greeting Aunt Sally who has just flown over from Oz or having a massage and a mani-pedi instead of rushing about checking that the portaloos have arrived? What about those venues that don’t allow you access until 10 am on your actual wedding day – who does it all then when you are getting your hair and makeup done 5 miles away?
What will a Day Of Coordinator help with?
Depending on the type of on the day coordination package you have booked, your DOC can help with a number of tasks you probably haven’t even thought about or won’t until they happen.
- Giving ushers a little bit of direction, the groom some reassurance and excited bridesmaids a nudge when to walk down the aisle.
- Ensuring that the order of service has been given out, attaching buttonholes to the correct side of the groom’s jacket, and doing the final tweaks to your dress, hair and necklace before sending you off down the aisle.
- At the marquee, a DOC will be meeting suppliers – making sure that caterers have all that they need, that the photographer knows when the wedding breakfast is due to start, that the band have arrived and are setting up in the correct area. Someone needs to understand how the mobile loo works -if they run out of the water who will be filling them up? Who will tidy up the inevitable mess of the bits of toilet paper on the floor, and wipe down the sinks during the event? Who is circulating the guest book so that you don’t only have 3 entries at the end of the day?
- A good DOC will also prompt the announcements and makes sure the Master of Ceremonies knows what to say.
- As dusk starts to fall and you are still doing speeches – do you want one of your bridesmaids of relations leaving the room to light the tea lights that you have dotted around outside? Nope? That’s what a DOC is there for. Does the best man need tech support with his speech as he needs someone to click on the photos on the laptop in absence of a remote and it being plugged in at the other side of the room?
- As the night progresses and the sweet table needs refuelling, and the wedding cake portioned and distributed or perhaps the caterer has run out of hire glasses and some additional need washing up? What if someone needs first aid or help booking a taxi? More logs on the fire pit? Or the tipi roof needs opening to let the smoke out? Tea lights burnt out and need replacing? These are all the little tasks you don’t really want any of your guests to have to worry about.
- How about at the end of the evening and your big exit needs to be choreographed – the DJ needs to be told it’s the last song or the farewell arch or sparkler send-off needs organising. Maybe you are travelling a distance and haven’t had time for the evening buffet or a slice of cake and really want some to take with you.
- The party comes to an end and everyone goes home. Who secures the marquee so that the local wildlife doesn’t enter? Or makes sure that every tea light is out and not a fire risk? Who is packing up all the hire equipment and stocktaking the broken or missing items? Who is collecting all of those personalised mementos of your big day and keeping them safe along with your cards and presents?
- The day after you might be going straight off on honeymoon and most of your friend’s and relations may feel a bit worse for wear – You need someone to rely on to ensure that you are not left with costly charges for late returns as hire items need to be packaged up ready for collection.
Phew! So there you go then – in a nutshell, an DOC is now your new best friend and they are 100% there for you on the most important day of your life.
They have no personal agenda
No, it’s not my job to have a personal agenda.
- They are your assistant – your wedding day PA. They will make sure that if you have dreamt it they are doing it. They will have timelines and spreadsheets and on bigger weddings perhaps an assistant too.
- A DOC will execute your dreams whilst you glide around enjoying your day, and you will have no idea that they are dragging hosepipes across the garden to fill the portaloo’s or that they are refilling the mobile generator with diesel once it has run out.
They are 100% money well spent for peace of mind.
DIY weddings are great for personalisation but think very carefully whether this can all be achieved by your untrained well-meaning family or friends, or whether you should put your trust in the hands of a professional, for wedding day peace of mind.
Samantha Dobson is the owner of SDCelebrations and has been involved in 100’s of weddings in all types of venues over the years. Thank you, Sam, for providing such a wonderful insight into what a Day of Coordinator actually does – and how much we all need one!