I’m often asked what an On the Day Coordinator (OTDC) actually does and if they are worth the money, so today I’m going to explain a little about what to expect.
If you are getting married at a venue they will be providing a duty manager to oversee the set up and service of catering. They are concerned with the service that they as the venue provide.
If you are having what is classed as a “DIY” wedding i.e. you are dry hiring either a venue for example a barn or you’re having a marquee or tipi put up in a garden or a field. The closer the day gets you start to wonder who is going to lay the tables and put out the placecards? Who is going to put the cake up in the correct place, who is folding the napkins and checking that all the hire equipment has arrived and isn’t broken (I’ve never done a wedding when something isn’t missing or something hasn’t broken in transit) – if you don’t let the hire company know within a certain amount of time you will be charged for breakages.
Yes all of the above things can be done by you before the wedding day if you have access to the area, but wouldn’t you rather be greeting Aunt Sally who has just flown over from Oz or having a massage and a mani pedi instead of rushing about checking that the mobile toilets have arrived? What about those venues that don’t allow you access until 10am on your actual wedding day – who does it all then when you are getting your hair and makeup done 5 miles away?
Then we move onto the day of the wedding itself.
Depending on the type of on the day coordination package you have booked your OTDC can help with: Giving ushers a little bit of direction and ensuring that the order of service have been given out, attaching buttonholes to groomsmen’s jackets, giving the groom some reassurance, and ensuring excited bridesmaids know when to walk down the aisle. Plus doing the final tweaks to your dress, hair and necklace and laying out your train before sending you off to marry the person of your dreams.
At the marquee an OTDC will be meeting suppliers – making sure that caterers have all that they need, that the photographer knows when the wedding breakfast is due to start, that the band have arrived and are setting up in the correct area. Someone needs to understand how the mobile toilet works – if they run out of the water who will be filling them up? Who will tidy up the inevitable mess of the bits of toilet paper on the floor, and wipe down the sinks during the event? Who is circulating the guest book so that you don’t only have three entries at the end of the day?
A good OTDC will also prompt the announcements and makes sure the Master of ceremonies knows what to say, or as I’m an experienced event manager I am very happy to make these announcements for you myself.
As dusk starts to fall and you are still doing speeches – do you want one of your bridesmaids or relations leaving the room to light the tea lights that you have dotted around outside. Nope? That’s what an OTDC is there for. Does the bestman need assistance with his speech as he needs someone to click on the photos on the laptop in absence of a remote? Again, this is where an OTDC can step in.
As the night progresses the sweet table needs refilling, the wedding cake needs to be portioned and distributed, or perhaps the caterer has run out of hire glasses and some additional need washing up? What if someone needs 1st aid or help booking a taxi? More logs on the fire pit? Or the tipi roof needs opening to let the smoke out? Tea lights burnt out and need replacing?
How about at the end of the evening and your big exit needs to be choreographed – the DJ needs to be told it’s the last song, or the farewell arch or sparkler send-off needs organising. Maybe you are travelling a distance and haven’t had time for the evening buffet or a slice of cake and really want some to take with you.
The party comes to an end and everyone goes home. Who secures the marquee so that the local wildlife doesn’t enter? Or makes sure that every tea light is out and not a fire risk? Who is packing up all the hire equipment and stocktaking the broken or missing items? Who is collecting all of those personalised mementos of your big day and keeping them safe along with your cards and presents?
The day after you might be going straight off on honeymoon and most of your friend’s and relations may feel a bit worse for wear – You need someone to rely on to ensure that you are not left with costly charges for late returns as hire items need to be packaged up ready for collection.
Phew! So there you go then – in a nutshell an OTDC is now your new best friend, and they are 100% there for you on the most important day of your life.
They have no personal agenda. There is no “it’s not my job to do that”.
- They are your assistant – your wedding day PA. They will make sure that if you have dreamt it they are doing it. They will have timelines and spreadsheets and on bigger weddings perhaps an assistant too.
- An OTDC will execute your dreams whilst you glide around enjoying your day, and you will have no idea that they are dragging hosepipes across the garden to fill the mobile toilets, or that they are refilling the mobile generator with diesel before it runs out.
They are 100% money well spent for peace of mind.
DIY weddings are great for personalisation but think very carefully whether this can all be achieved by your untrained well-meaning family or friends, or whether you should put your trust in the hands of a professional for wedding day peace of mind.