My Right-Hand Woman: Hiring a Day-Of Coordinator

If all goes well, we will be as happy as the crowd below on our wedding day. A month ago, I hired a day-of coordinator to help make sure everything goes (somewhat) according to plan, or at least that everyone has a smile on their face.


Photo by Katelyn James Photography / Image via Big Day for 10K

Hiring a day-of coordinator was a tough decision for my family, because we are on a pretty tight budget for the wedding. There was definitely no room in the budget for a full-on wedding planner—and I am not too concerned about that, because Mr. Wallaby and I have taken care of a huge amount of wedding planning already on our own, and to be honest, it hasn’t been too painful! We’ve had plenty of good times along the way, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything! However…the type-A personality runs in my family. We are easily stressed and can be a bit pushy if we’re running late or if something needs to get done. Knowing how stressful a wedding can be, especially for the families of the bride and groom, Mr. W and I decided that we would make room in the budget to hire someone else to facilitate the wedding-day activities and to be the point of contact for all of the vendors. I hope that means we will be able to just relax and have a good time!

I met with several wedding planners/day-of coordinators before I signed a contract. I first met with a super sweet girl who is just getting started with her business. Unfortunately, her prices were too expensive, so I had to eliminate her from our choices. Next, Mr. W and I met with a lovely girl who seemed really interested in our plans (Ice cream truck? Skipping the paper programs and making chalkboard signs with all of the wedding info? Sure, why not!). Although she didn’t have much experience on her resume, I think she would do a fantastic job running everything—but again, she charged too much.

The third planner/coordinator I met with was Teri Malpass of Pearl & Peony Event Design. Teri and I instantly hit it off. (Side note: I tend to get off on tangents and personal subjects when I meet with vendors…I think I may have some new friends by the time the wedding is over!) She was completely understanding of how Mr. W and I are juggling the priorities for our wedding, and she supported all of our ideas. She struck me as very calm and organized—definitely something one looks for in a wedding coordinator! Lastly, she and I reached an agreement that she would provide partial day-of coordination for a reduced fee—since our venue provides helpers for setup and take-down, Teri can leave at the same time as the guests. (I didn’t know this before, but often planners and coordinators are responsible for taking down decorations and cleaning everything up—sometimes this can take hours after the wedding winds down!)

Normally Mr. Wallaby and I like to meet with vendors together—we operate our relationship as a democracy, and it’s hard to make a complicated (or expensive!) decision without one another. But the evening I met with Teri, Mr. W had to work late, so I relayed the details of my meeting to him. He trusted my decision and gave his approval to book Teri. So that’s the story of how we hired our day-of coordinator! (Or, my right-hand woman! Seriously, I’m left handed. I can’t do anything with my right hand. ;) )

Here are some pointers if you find yourself in the process of hiring a day-of wedding coordinator:

  1. Find out if your prospective coordinators have previous experience coordinating weddings. How long has he or she been in the business? Do they bring a helper or work independently? Do they have any references you can check?
  2. Meet with the coordinator in person to judge whether he/she is a good fit for you and your SO, and to get an idea of his/her general demeanor. Positive traits to look for in a wedding coordinator include stellar organization, friendliness (this person will be interacting with all of your guests, and you want to make sure there will be conviviality all around!), assertiveness (he/she might need to make some big decisions for you in a hot second), flexibility, professionalism, etc.
  3. If you are on a tight budget, see if the coordinator can work with your budget. Maybe you can negotiate a custom package like Mr. W and I did—this will definitely save you money! It helps to prepare for the meeting with the coordinator by drafting a list of all of the responsibilities you want to entrust him/her with, so that you can figure out what you don’t need help with. For us, removing the time for setup and take-down from our contract is the main money-saver.
  4. Find out if he/she has a preferred vendors list! If you haven’t booked all of your other vendors yet, this might be a great resource for recommendations! Through Teri, I got a great recommendation for a seamstress who will put the final touches on my dress.

Did you decide to hire someone to help with the flow of events at your wedding?


Mrs. Wallaby

Wedding Date:
November 2012

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  1. Member
    Mrs. Pony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 4:59 pm

    So glad you found someone that works for your needs, hiring a DOC was the best money we spent hands down, I hope that holds true for you too!

  2. Member
    alphagam84 281 posts, Helper bee @ 6:05 pm

    We had a DOC and it was sooo worth the money! She handled everything on our big day

  3. Member
    Mrs. Panda 1329 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:39 pm

    I’d like a DOC, but my budget is crying as it is. Great tips on finding a DOC. I might need to revisit this

  4. Member
    hannahmn88 28 posts, Newbee @ 7:31 am

    Our venue offers a DOC for a hefty fee. I spoke to a few brides who used the same venue and DOC, and they raved about her. We decided for my sanity (and that of everyone who will be near me day-of), it’s a necessity. I’ll be enough of a nervous Nelly as it is.

  5. Member
    Mrs. Armadillo 497 posts, Helper bee @ 8:38 am

    I would LOVE to hire a DOC! We didn’t budget for one, though, so I’m not sure that’ll happen. I kind of start to get nervous when I think about how we’ll get through everything without a go-to person the day of. It’s not a responsibility I want to put on my mom’s shoulders, and I certainly don’t want to spend the entire wedding making sure everything’s going according to plan! We might have to rearrange some numbers in the budget…

  6. Member
    Mrs. Wallaby 2002 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:43 am

    I have to say, now that we’re down to 8 days until the wedding, I am SO SO SO happy that we hired a DOC. Teri is AMAZING and I am hardly stressed at all (other than about getting all my projects done at work before we leave for our long honeymoon!). She has thought of SO many things I didn’t even think of, and she’s helping coordinate the schedules of all of the vendors. We have a lot of handmade decorations and DIY details, and Teri is helping make sure everything is in place (in addition to the rest of the normal wedding logistics!). That makes me feel better about my projects – that something I spent 12 hours working on won’t end up in a box unused on the wedding day. You three who are considering hiring a DOC, I would strongly, strongly recommend it. I would trade a lot of other things for a DOC.

  7. Member
    Mrs. Gray Wolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 9:43 am

    im using a DOC. one of those “dont need it but really want it” things i decided to splurge on…

  8. Member
    jacofblues 1468 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:50 am

    I am not using one seeing as I think my MOH and my mum will do that for me lol! Good on you for hiring someone for a reasonable pirce that you also clicked with!

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