Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A DOC update

Okay, 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 and 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 were okay 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...

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