For anyone who has ever been on the planning side of an event rather than simply being an attendee, it goes without saying that weddings and other events take a LOT of time and effort to plan.
Have you ever been to a wedding or event that seemed simple and flawless, and thought “I could have planned that”? Well, you unknowingly experienced what good planning looks like on the surface.
What you didn’t experience was the countless hours of email exchanges, phone calls, vendor interviews, staff/volunteer coordination, site walks, deliveries, and last minute snafus that took difficult, creative judgment calls to overcome. Yes, underneath that seemingly calm surface that you saw as an attendee was a torrent of details and potential crises that had to be dealt with by event professionals–likely either an event planner or a day of coordinator.
Event Planner or Day of Coordinator: What’s the Difference?
For smaller weddings (and other events), one trend that’s becoming increasingly popular is hiring a “day of coordinator” (DOC) rather than hiring an actual wedding planner.
What’s the difference?
An event planner is with you from start to finish, and handles virtually every event detail for you. Yes, you still pick the wedding cake, but the event planner will likely find the baker(s) and select the options for you to sample based on questions they’ve asked you.
The title “day of coordinator” is actually a misnomer, since the name implies that the DOC will only show up on the day of the event. In reality, a DOC will be helping you for weeks or potentially even months before the actual day of your wedding/event.
I often get hired as a wedding DOC by couples who wanted to plan their own weddings while using friends and family to coordinate event details on the big day. At some point during the process (usually about 4-8 weeks out), the couple realizes they’re in way over their heads, the stress and headaches aren’t worth it, and that cousin Judy should be able to relax and enjoy the wedding rather than trying to take on the role of coordinating between ten different vendors while answering dozens of questions from guests.
Now poor Judy has stress ulcers and the couple still hasn’t signed off on critically important event details! Don’t let this happen to you.
5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Day of Coordinator (DOC)
- Experience – Nothing against cousin Judy, but she probably doesn’t have the experience needed to be a good DOC. Does the DOC you’re considering have lots of events under their belt? Are the events similar to the one you’re planning? For instance, if you need a DOC for a wedding, hire someone who has extensive wedding planning/DOC experience, not someone who only has experience doing corporate events.
- Reviews – Does the DOC have a list of happy clients who can provide you with an honest, objective, and positive review of their services? If not, be wary.
- Personality– This might be the most overlooked consideration in hiring a DOC… You’re going to be spending a lot of time planning and coordinating with your DOC, so if you don’t “click” with the person, it can create unneeded stress and complications. It’s also important for you to understand that the stress that often comes with event planning might bring out aspects of your personality that you might normally keep bottled up. That’s fine and expected, but you’ll need a DOC who can handle both the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” sides of you, while holding you firmly to schedule. If a prospective DOC seems a little too “stiff and organized” up front, consider that this might actually be exactly what you need to pull off a flawless wedding/event.
- What’s Included – Again, the scope of a DOC’s job goes WAY beyond showing up on the day of the event. Depending on your event, you’ll want to ask and get a written list of exactly what’s included with the job. Each type of event and each DOC is going to be a little different, but always try to work out clear written terms upfront or it’s guaranteed to cause confusion and miscommunication down the road.
- Budget – Don’t be embarrassed or uncomfortable broaching this topic! Finding out your budget helps a prospective DOC outline the scope of services they can offer you. If you think your budget is too small to hire a DOC, just mention that upfront and ask if your budget is something they can work with. You might be pleasantly surprised.
So, whether you’re hosting a social gathering, a board retreat, a product launch, or planning your own wedding, I highly recommend that you consider hiring an experienced, professional DOC who can help make your event come off flawlessly (or at least appear that way to attendees!).
When the big day comes, you deserve to be able to enjoy the full experience of the event you’ve created rather than frantically running around putting out fires. The right DOC will make that possible for you.
- Coordination ServicesIs a "Day of Coordinator" All You Need?
- Event Planning ServicesIs an "Event Planner" from start to finish All You Need?
- Consulting ServicesOr Do You Just Need a "Creative Consultant?"
- Presently accepting bookings for “Day of Coordinator”
Want to interview QI as a potential DOC for your event? Contact us here.