There are a lot of questions out there about day-of/month-of coordination. It's more than just 30 days before your wedding. For me, correspondence begins WAY before 30 days prior to your epic day. Here are my answers to some popular questions about coordination and logistics management.
Question 1: What is a day-of coordinator?
A day-of coordinator is honestly a very outdated title. DOCs are really Event Logistics Managers. Responsible for set up, supervising clean up, managing (and creating) the timeline, and more! As the head coach for the vendor team, it's important for the coordinator to act as the go-between for the client and the vendors; to make sure that all expectations are understood and met while at the same time problem solving if things go off-track.
I also describe the coordinator as someone who handles everything that pertains to the logistics and timeline on the day of your wedding. Planning, on the other hand, is the part of the process pertaining to anything prior to the day-of, including designing and hiring vendors. So if you need help hiring a DJ, that's planning. Need to make sure the DJ has the order of all of the events and cues correct at the wedding? That's coordination!
Coordinators can put in hours of work prior to the day-of. With the ceremony rehearsal and day of your wedding, your coordinator could be there for 12+ hours! We collect questionnaires and lists from clients to make sure we know everything about the ceremony, décor, wedding party, families, venue, and vendors!
Question 2: How do I find a coordinator?
My favorite ways of finding a coordinator are either through your venue, through your friends' weddings, local vendor groups, or Instagram searching through vendors and venues. For example: is there a venue you love? Scroll through their Instagram posts and see who has worked weddings that looked cool to you. I’m also a member of Frederick Weddings (https://frederickweddings.com/). It's a great one-stop site to find and begin your vendor journey. Sites like Frederick Weddings and asking vendors you have already hired will ensure you find a coordinator that gets along with your team and have experience in your community.
Question 3: How much does day of coordination cost?
Like all other vendors, there are a few factors that dictate the cost of your coordinator. Local costs of living, the number of guests, and the kind of wedding you want to have all effect what you should budget. In DC, you might need to pay a coordination team for a 100-person wedding between $1,300 and $2,000. In Frederick, $800 to $1,300 for a coordination team is a great price. Lower pricing may mean that the person has little knowledge on the local market, and/or less experience. There’s nothing wrong with hiring a newer coordinator, I was new once, and I'm still new compared to those who have been doing it for 5+ or 10+ years, but I did lots of research and evaluation before determining my pricing. .
Question 4: My friend is pretty organized, can't they just be my day-of coordinator?
The short, tough-love answer is...no
As for the longer answer, I always like to ask a couple questions like, "Would you want your mom to cook dinner alone for 100 people?" And omg, please say no. Your mom probably has no experience cooking, by herself, for 100 people. She can't just show up, look at the ingredients, and know what to cook and then cook it all on her own.
Also, wouldn't you want your friend to have fun at your wedding? Your friend SHOULD NOT and CAN NOT work and have fun at the same time. That's not how effective coordination happens.
Question 5: The venue has a person I've been working with, can't they coordinate?
I get this call a lot a few months before weddings and it goes something like, "It turns out that the venue contact doesn't help with the timeline, ceremony, set up or clean up; are you available?"
So when you're booking a venue, here's a couple of things you should ask:
1) Do you work with vendors on timelines and distribute it to all vendors and the wedding party?
2) How long, if at all, are you on site the day of the wedding?
3) Do you help with design?
4) Do you work with the caterer and planner/coordinator?
5) Do you direct the vendors alongside the planner/coordinator during the event?
If any of these questions end with something like, "no," or, "not really," or better yet, "you need a coordinator/planner on site," then no, they cannot coordinate your wedding. A good rule of thumb going into most venues, especially if they don't advertise planning and coordination, is that the on-site person is responsible for the site and the site alone, and anything that belongs to that venue.