Thursday, April 9, 2009

To DOC or not to DOC?

Early on in the wedding planning, I came to a disturbing realization: almost everyone assumes the bride is in charge. Even if your fiance is organized and efficient and happy to talk to vendors, it is darn near impossible to get a caterer or venue coordinator to call the groom, no matter whose number you put down as "primary contact." Our moms are slightly more effective buffers (apparently mothers of the bride and groom are also permitted to have knowledge of wedding-related events), but from where I'm sitting, just about everything seems to be the bride's job.

And right now I'm frakking sick of it. (Yes, that was a Battlestar Galactica swear word. Yes, I'm a geek.)

Yesterday while fielding half a dozen questions about the wine order, while simultaneously trying to re-order my veil and figure out what's going on with the invitations and organize a conference that it is totally not my turn to organize (long story), oh yeah, and write a thesis chapter, it occurred to me that I don't want the wedding day to be like this. If the cake is 15 minutes late or the rental place didn't bring enough silverware or the bathroom runs out of toilet paper, I don't want to know about it. And frankly, I don't want my mom to know about it either, or Econo Boy's mom, or Econo Boy (not that anyone would ask him what they should do, he's just the groom, grrr). And I certainly don't want to be the one on the cell phone trying to figure out what's going on and how to fix it.

I think I may need a DOC.

Image from

A DOC is a day-of coordinator -- someone responsible for making sure things run smoothly, for setting up the pretty menu cards I designed, for calling the rental place and telling them to bring us the rest of our forks, for running out to the store if the venue runs out of toilet paper.* Our caterer is great, and can handle most of the setup and take-down, but I'm starting to think it would be really nice to have someone else there who is the point person for all problems and will make sure some of the details fall into place.

I'd also love some help from a pro with figuring out the ceremony. Since our ceremony is at the venue, I don't have a sweet church lady helping me figure out who comes from where, and the venue employees are not much help (the contract explicitly states that the venue employees are there to make sure we abide by the mansion's rules, and are not responsible for helping us with anything at all).

The downside: it's another expense. We can afford it, but I feel guilty adding yet another line to our budget. Also, at 3 months out, it may be difficult to find a good coordinator who isn't super-expensive.

Plus, is it really necessary? Econo Boy thinks we can ask family to handle a lot of the stuff I'm worried about, but I am not particularly comfortable with asking aunts, uncles or grandparents to arrive early and make sure all of the table numbers are in the right place. They're our guests, not free labor.

What do you guys think? For those who are married, is a DOC worth the expense? If you didn't have one, how did you handle things?

* The toilet paper thing? Based on a true story. According to my friend who was a bridesmaid at this wedding, the mother of the bride ended up leaving the reception and driving 30 minutes to the nearest grocery store to replenish the supply. You can't make this stuff up.


Color Me Green said...

do you have friends who'd be willing to help? maybe it would work to clearly assign one simple task each to different friends.

Bride in Exile said...

Color Me Green, I'm definitely planning to take advantage of any offers for help I get from friends and family. My biggest worry isn't so much the tasks I can assign in advance -- it's more the small problems that usually arise during the day (e.g. my brother leaves his tux at his apartment 40 minutes away, the DJ gets lost en route to the venue and needs directions, stuff like that).

Maybe I'm worrying too much about all of the things that could go wrong and blowing the difficulties out of proportion, but I'm sort of my family's go-to girl for sorting out problems, and part of me would really like a break from it!

Sweet T said...

worth it? abso-frakking-lutely (can you believe that finale? anyway...)

honestly, if you have a friend that your trust enough to do it, maybe you can ask him/her to perform DOC duties for small compensation (couple of bottles of wine, a nice dinner out, etc). Or try and see if there's someone new trying to break into the business, that will do it for a discount and a write up in your blog. Good luck to you!

Abbie said...

I'm having friends help a LITTLE bit, but I want them to enjoy their day, too. I have also contacted someone about DOC duties and am planning to hire them. It's just too much to ask friends who are attending to also do full set-up, etc.

Anonymous said...

all my friends who have planned and executed their own weddings have always told me, after the fact, that they wished somebody else could have at least handled everything on the day-of. You should be able to relax and let go on that day of all days!