A DOC Update

OK, so I know that I already talked about hiring a day-of coordinator to ensure our wedding weekend runs smoothly. But with the decision to hire a day-of coordinator also comes the commitment to pay someone some serious cash for my peace of mind. Now, I was all for it, but I’m not the one paying for this component of the wedding so I spent a ton of time researching potential day-of coordinators.


Image via IMDB / And don’t tell me that you didn’t think of this movie when you think of a “wedding planner” because I will totally call you out for lying!

Here’s what I did, with a few pieces of advice:

The first thing I did was ask for recommendations via Twitter. Twitter is my favorite thing, and I know that often I’m going to get at least a couple answers that way. It also helps to localize what I’m asking about with hashtags like #Indy and by tagging the few wedding websites we have here. I got a couple of recommendations that way…but none of them were quite what I was looking for, so I moved on.

The next thing I did was find a few options and check out their reviews. It’s really important to me that whoever I work with comes highly reviewed, for obvious reasons. If you have bad reviews, I have to at least address them when I speak with a potential vendor. Thankfully everyone I was considering had good reviews—only one negative one to speak of and, based on my own experiences in the wedding industry, I’d have to say that this was probably an issue that nobody but the bride cared about. (Hey, we all have those things!)

The last step was contacting them (and/or stalking their websites) for more information. The interesting thing that I ran into with a lot of DOCs was the fact that they only allowed a certain number of calls or emails. They would create the timeline, create the contact information spreadsheet, ensure that everyone knew when to be where, etc., but as far as actually answering questions that might come up or working with me? Nope. A lot of them had it limited to a certain number of questions by email or a certain amount of time via phone. Neither of those was OK with me. Since I’m going to be planning the wedding myself, I want to be able to say, “Hey, based on your experience, is this a good price or a bad price?” or “Oh, I have this really cute idea, but is it actually possible?” Unfortunately, a lot of DOCs don’t allow you to just email them whenever you need to. I crossed those off my list.

By the time I got done emailing/stalking all my options—I was down to two.

I emailed one of them to get their fee and was told that they started at $4,000…let that sink in…$4,000 was the starting fee. That didn’t include travel. That included minimal communication (with a set limit of emails). Last but not least, this person just didn’t seem friendly. Obviously my first priority is someone that is going to be a great DOC and get everything done on our big day, but I plan to communicate a lot with this person AND they’re going to be working around our friends and family so I definitely want someone who is friendly.

That email correspondence left me with one option. I had emailed both DOCs at the same time, and after a quick exchange with Alison of Aviva Events, I was pretty positive I had found the right DOC/wedding weekend coordinator.

And after meeting her in person, I was completely sold!

Luck just happened to be on our side in that Alison had a wedding in Indianapolis recently and was available before heading back to Cincinnati to meet with me and my FMIL. Not only did I immensely appreciate that she stayed in town a little longer to meet with us, but I also really enjoyed meeting with her—I told her about a few of the tricks the boys have up their sleeves for the wedding and she laughed with us, so that was a good sign. Another good sign was that she was very open to telling us about previous weddings and her experiences with things like hiring a friend as a vendor.

And the best part? Alison will be the one putting together our timeline, ensuring that nobody harasses me on the day of (by that, I mean the boys in our wedding party ;) haha), AND she said I can feel free to email her or call her whenever I want to talk—even if that’s just to bounce ideas off of her. AMAZING. And definitely not something I expected to find in a DOC/wedding weekend coordinator.

So my tips for a DOC once you’ve narrowed down your options? Easy—meet them in person. I can’t stress enough how big of a difference that made to me; it had nothing to do with knowing Alison was a great planner, because I could find that out from all the amazing reviews about her online. Instead, it was about ensuring that our personalities meshed. I felt very at ease with her and telling her about the details of our day, and I really appreciated her understanding of me wanting to plan the wedding but not have to be in charge on the day of.

It was a great meeting—I look forward to working with Alison! :) So far I’m feeling extremely lucky in the vendor department…if I could just get the whole caterer thing nailed down, I would be good to go…


Mrs. Otter

Indianapolis, IN
Wedding Date:
April 2013

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  1. Member
    SparklyChelles 7 posts, Newbee @ 11:29 am

    It’s really good to hear about this!! I just had my own wedding and now I want to become a wedding planner, so it’s good to hear what makes people happy!! Thank you and good luck!! :)

  2. Member
    MrsACarpenter 725 posts, Busy bee @ 11:43 am

    I hired a DOC and the outcome was NOT good. I met her in a store and she seemed quite knowledgeable, saying she had just moved from up north. So I didn’t do any of things you suggested. No checking or verifying – I just went on our conversation. I’m usually a good judge of character, but I was WAY OFF on this one. She was lost and didn’t a have clue.

  3. Member
    Mrs. Otter 1321 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:46 am

    MrsACarpenter: Sad to hear that!! :( I had one vendor who tried to give me a price I knew was WAY off base, they argued with me, and needless to say we ended up taking our business elsewhere.

    SparklyChelles: Best of luck getting into planning! By far and away the best thing is the email correspondance – I really appreciate that I can get in touch with Alison whenever I have a Q or have something for her to put in her file for us.

  4. Member
    SparklyChelles 7 posts, Newbee @ 11:51 am

    @Miss Otter: Thank you so much!! That is great to know, I definitely want to be as available as possible for my clients!! You gave me an idea for a post on the Boards-to ask what people like and want! Thank you!! :)

  5. Member
    Mrs. Hyena 2537 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:04 pm

    Good tips! If I had thought about hiring a coordinator more than two weeks before the wedding, I probably would have done a lot more research. As it was, I hired a friend that I knew loved weddings and was a good, organized worker.

  6. Member
    Terryal87 330 posts, Helper bee @ 1:18 pm

    I think it’s great that you found someone who would be available without restrictions on phone/email but I don’t’ think it’s crazy that some of the DOC’s have these limitations. You’re hiring a DAY OF COORDINATOR, they expect you to figure everything out then they step in to make sure it runs smoothly. If you need someone to help during the planning process, I’m sure they help, but at a cost. It’s a business, the brides who pay for full planning get full planning and they have to be available to them at all times. The brides who choose a Day of service also get what they paid for. I’m just being a devils advocate here–I think it’s wonderful that you found someone who could be flexible with you and it sounds like it’s a perfect fit! I just feel bad sometimes when brides act like a vendor is not flexible when they HAVE to set guidelines and standards in order to stay focused, on track and keep their service and quality up to par. (P.S. I’m not saying you were one of those brides, just pointing out what I’ve seen in the past from others). I think you’ll be so happy you have a DOC! Good luck =)

  7. Member
    Mrs. Otter 1321 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:44 pm

    Terryal87: Oh I totally agree! My issue was that I ran into a DOC who said that they had a set limitation of (I believe) 6 emails. So, for someone who overanalyzes like I do, that made me think “Is that 6 separate emails or would my responses count as a strike towards my email count” and that definitely didn’t work for me! Full planning just wasn’t worth the cost for us, because there’s no way I’d feel comfortable giving up that control. It DOES go both ways though – you made great points :)

    Mrs. Hyena: I would’ve gone that route too, but I was more concerned because our venue is so new that very few people have worked there! And we only have 2 hours to set up, so that worried me as well.

  8. Member
    Terryal87 330 posts, Helper bee @ 1:51 pm

    yah, that’s a good point about if your replies count. Personally, I would hate to have to keep track with how many I’ve sent and it would be annoying trying to determine if my question was good enough to count as an email. lol. Totally understandable that it’s frustrating.

  9. Member
    Mrs. Pony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 2:09 pm

    It sounds like you found the perfect person to work with, love when that happens! We had a quote for a coordinator that was more than what we were spending on food and alcohol, I was like…no. Just, no.

  10. Member
    Mrs. Pain au Chocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:53 pm

    Good advice! (Based on that figure, there is no way a DOC would have fit into our budget. Ouch!)

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