Miss Mink Finds Professional Help

Way back in November, I wrote about contemplating hiring a wedding coordinator. I was worried about how much time I’d have to devote to planning between business travel in the fall and my busy season at work in the winter and spring. I spoke with a number of coordinators in the area about full or partial planning, but realized that I didn’t necessarily want to hand the reins over to someone else during this process.

Like many other brides, I decided to look for a Day of Coordinator. The advanced planning would be fun, but I wanted someone to take over at the end. I want to make sure our contracts are executed properly, that we stay relatively close to our yet-to-be-determined timeline, and that both our guests and vendors are taken care of properly. In a nutshell, I wanted someone to tend to the details on the big day so I can relax and enjoy the hours leading up to the walk down the aisle.

IDW_14_

Photo by Allegra’s Studio / Posted with permission

As I met with “day of” coordinators (DOCs), I realized that I was most attracted to those who exuded a sense of calm.

Obviously, being assertive is a characteristic that all coordinators have, but not all put out a soothing vibe. While I try to be laid back much of the time, I definitely have bouts of worrying and I knew that having a calm, even keeled coordinator would be a blessing for me on our wedding day. This realization led me to Amanda Gray of Ashley Baber Weddings.

Besides having the personality that seems perfectly cut out for coordinating events, Amanda also offered open communication between the time when I signed a contact with her and the wedding. She also offered three planning meetings, at intervals of my choosing, during the planning period. This didn’t seem to be standard. Many DOCs offer services during the week or month leading up to a wedding, but I felt Amanda’s contract was the most generous when it came to time.

IDW_13_

Photo by Allegra’s Studio / Posted with permission

My business trips and busy season haven’t given me much time for planning meetings, but I don’t think a week goes by without emails, tweets, or Facebook messages bouncing back and forth between me and Amanda. I also know that she’s keeping an eye on my blogging. I feel as though she’s been alongside me during this planning process and will be ready to take over when the big day is here.

amandag

Photo by Elisa Bricker of Elisa B Photography / Posted with permission

Did you hire a Day of Coordinator? What characteristics or personality type did you look for? How did it work out?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Mink

Location:
Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012

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  1. Member
    mrspw 19 posts, Newbee @ 12:43 pm

    I found the same thing while interviewing DOCs for the big day. I wanted someone who would take charge, but I didn’t want that person to stress me out on the day of. It’s a fine balance. The first person we met with charged astronomical fees and was very intense. I felt like my wedding wasn’t good enough for her.

    I met with a few more and they were either completely frazzled and unprofessional or laclusture and exhausted. It was a trying couple of weeks to find the perfect.

    Finally we met our dream DOC. She is professional, serious, calm, pulled together, kind and someone I sincerely want around on my wedding day.

    Finding a DOC was one of the hardest challenges so far in my wedding planning process.

  2. Member
    Missido 813 posts, Busy bee @ 1:16 pm

    YES!! We’ve hired a wedding planner and it is the best decision we made so far. Like your DOC, she is calm and serene, which is a quality we appreciate very much. Best of luck with your wedding, it sounds like you,re in good hands :)

  3. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:22 pm

    @mrspw: I actually had a BLAST meeting with one coordinator. “Intense” might be the right word for that meeting. It was so much fun! I walked away with some pretty grand ideas…but once I calmed down a little bit I realized that I didn’t really need someone to get me whipped up in to a frenzy. I needed someone who was upbeat, but “pulled together” just like you wrote.

    @Missido: Best of luck to you, as well! :)

  4. Member
    coyote 1578 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:25 pm

    I keep going back and forth on hiring a DOC. I agree that you need someone calming AND assertive. So great that you found that perfect balance with your DOC! :)

  5. Member
    chel_c 37 posts, Newbee @ 1:35 pm

    We hired a gal who has apprenticed for the last couple of years & is now striking out on her own. She had her wedding shot with our photographer, and they are now good friends. I figure this will work well for DO situations, especially with family + pictures.

  6. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 1:40 pm

    Hiring a DOC was the best money we spent for our wedding! It was just extra awesome that our DOC had a great personality :)

  7. Member
    mkim 611 posts, Busy bee @ 2:55 pm

    I have been debating on hiring a DOC. Our venue comes with a coordinator, and we LOVE her.
    Mink does your venue come with a coordinator as well and you decided to hire another DOC?

  8. Member
    Zusie 937 posts, Busy bee @ 3:11 pm

    I’ve been debating which DOC to hire.
    I’ve spoken to two that would work for my day and budget and have worked with my venue.

    The first one I feel like her personality is what I’m looking for but she’s a little more expensive and will leave once the dj has taken over handling the reception flow (unless I pay for more time).

    The second one seems like she is very punctual and will see that the job gets done, but I don’t find her particularly personable. She’s less expensive and will stay until after the last guest leaves.

    I’ve been pretty decisive about everything but this.

  9. Member
    Coffee cup 2319 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:52 pm

    That sounds wonderful, being able to sit back, relax and enjoy the wedding day!
    I agree, it’s extremely important to have someone patient and calm that day, specially with the madness and stress surrounding a wedding.

  10. Member
    sugarbox 226 posts, Helper bee @ 10:53 pm

    The dress looks beautiful ,i like it.

  11. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:37 am

    I found our DOC through a couple my fiance knew from college that also live here in NC. She’s really professional but super friendly and helpful. She gave me a lot of good vendor references at our first consultation before we even booked her.

  12. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:54 am

    @Miss Coyote: I think that some people have a friend or family member who could fill this role, but I liked the idea of all the guests being guests and letting Amanda steer the ship. So, so many people say having a DOC was the best gift they gave themselves at their wedding. :)

    @chel_c: I didn’t know if anyone would notice, but Amanda’s portrait (the last image) was taken by my photographer! I’m kind of tickled at the thought of most of my vendors knowing each other. :)

    @Mrs. Pony: I think you were one of the first to get my attention about hiring a DOC. I remember you saying that it was the best decision long ago!

  13. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:00 am

    @mkim: This is interesting. My venue offers DOC services for an extra fee and they are affiliated with a fantastic wedding planner in our area. They couldn’t book more than six months out and I wanted to get someone on board early, despite them being a “day of” part of the team.

    Another planner in town (who I loved meeting, but didn’t end up hiring) suggested that it helps to have someone who works for you (not for the venue). She said that it was her job to make sure contracts are executed properly and any problems are solved with the couple’s best interests (not the venue’s) in mind.

    I don’t have enough experience to know if that advice is valid. I have to imagine that every DOC, whether working for the couple or for the venue, would want the day to go off without a hitch.

  14. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:07 am

    @Zusie: I totally understand! I met with one coordinator who honestly had me whipped up into a frenzy. I could see her being perfect for someone who was planning from a distance or who didn’t have concrete ideas about how their wedding would look/feel. While talking with her was so much fun, I realized that what she offered didn’t exactly match what I needed. I’m already creative and I have a vision for our big day…I need a professional to pull all the pieces together.

    I would go with your second person. I’d value her punctuality and willingness to see the event to completion.

    @Coffee cup: I really hope we don’t have any madness, but I know Amanda will handle it if anything happens. :)

    @sugarbox: That’s from a wedding that the vendors in a nearby city did for free! It was called the I Dream of a Wedding. Isn’t that wonderful?

    @Future Army Wife: Awesome!!!

  15. Member
    mkim 611 posts, Busy bee @ 10:02 am

    @Miss Mink: I was only worried since we were planning to bring in a lot of our own DIY projects to the venue, I didn’t know if our DOC from the venue would be overwelmed. We totally love our the coordinator and trust her, we just didn’t want it to be overwhelming since she would also have to worry about the catering and setup along with all the vendors that would be there to set up.

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