Friday, October 23, 2009

What Up Doc?


No, not that type of Doc, I’m talking about our wonderful and talented Day Of Coordinator,
Sara Gorski!

For the longest time I didn’t think we needed a DOC, until I started really diving into the wedding planning. Everywhere I read, the #1 thing that brides said they wished they’d had was a DOC (if they didn’t have one), and the #1 thing brides said they liked best about their
wedding was having a DOC (if they had one), so they didn’t have to worry about everything. And so I started thinking that just sounded too good to pass up, and a DOC was quickly added to the budget.

Next came the research. There are SO many DOCs in the Bay Area, and their prices and services vary so much that it’s pretty difficult to compare them. So I started with laying out what I was looking for in a DOC, someone who could work with my type-A personality (and someone with a similar personality), who could handle all the set up and vendors with ease, but not do too much up until the last couple weeks be
fore the wedding (I didn’t want anyone stealing my planning fun!). I e-mailed about 20 DOCs in the area, giving a little background about myself and what I was looking for, and started gathering quotes (see the bottom of this post for all the details).

In mid June I met with two different coordinators, who were both just ok. The first one I didn’t really seem to click with, she kept trying to reiterate what I was saying, but I kept getting the feeling that she wasn’t really getting what I am going for with our whole ‘look and feel.’ The second was very nice, but not quite passionate enough for my tastes, and I would be working with her partner for my actual wedding, but couldn’t meet with her part
ner for several months because she was on bed rest, pregers with twins.

So I held tight for a few months, until early September when I got the chance to sit down w
ith Sara Gorski. I’d been e-mailing with her since June, and just had a great feeling about her. She has a really nice website (something important to me, if you don’t have enough attention to detail to have a nice site, how are you going to pull off my wedding?), and I just seemed to click with her, since it seemed like we have quite a bit in common and similar personalities. She’s also somewhat new to wedding coordinating (although with lots of event management experience), so her prices were very reasonable, another plus! Sara had several weddings in August, so we had decided to hold off meeting until after Labor Day, so I could see some additional pictures of weddings she’d worked on.

uring our meeting I got to see some of the events she’d coordinated, and showed her some of my own inspiration pictures, as well as reviewed my running list of what needs to be set up the day of (click on any one of these for a larger view):

And after a successful meeting, needless to say, we booked her! For $945, it’s a steal (price includes rehearsal coordination and a $100 early booking fee, plus an assistant for the day of for free, since we don’t need much help with the timeline creation). I’m so excited to work with her and I really feel confident that our wedding day will go smoothly with Sara at the reins. She is every bit as organized and detail oriented as I am, and even thought of several things I’m sure I would have missed (like moving the speakers and mic after the ceremony, duh!). I’m so thrilled to have crossed booking our DOC off the list, and yet again, glad I went with my gut feeling when making an important wedding decision.

Now, for any other Bay Area brides out there reading this, here is a breakdown of all the different services and costs I found in the area (listed in no particular order). I posted this on the Weddingbee boards a while ago too.

Sara Gorski Day Of Coordinator

Cost - starting at $895 + $100 early booking discount

Details - 12 hours of coordination for day of event
Finalizing vendor set-up and delivery timing
Creation of checklists for event
Creation of timeline
Distribution of timeline to all vendors
1 in person meeting for venue walk-thru (recommended with catering manager)
Review of all contracts and details booked
Ensure venue is set up as per client and contract specifications
Organize and set-up all details such as: escort cards, table numbers, photographs, cake toppers, guest book, display items
Ensure flow of guests is professionally guided
Oversee vendors during event and ensure timeline is well executed
Event emergency kit
Arranging for any gifts to be stored
Final payment and gratuities distributed to vendors

Paris Designs
Cost - $2750
Details - Initial consultation with bride & groom
Calls and follow-up after vendor contracts are received
Reasonable amount of phone calls and emails with bride, groom and vendors
Final detail meeting with venue and/or caterer
Final detail meeting with bride & groom
Check list of things to bring to rehearsal
Wedding Day Timeline – sent to all applicable vendors
Rehearsal Coordination
Wedding Day Coordination
Assistants, if needed
Any time over 20 hours will be billed at $95 per hour

Bella Day Coordination
Cost - $1,150 for 25 - 100 Guests, $1,550 for 100 - 200 Guests, $1,850 for 200+ Guests, with an additional fee if there are two locations for the event
Details - One (1) face-to-face meeting, to go over wedding details
Confirm contracts and timing of events with all vendors
Oversee all vendor commitments and make sure they are fulfilled to your standards
Orchestrate your wedding rehearsal and organize your wedding party
Manage the timing of your events with guests
Provide lead planner for 8 hours (25-100 guests), planner and 1 assistant (100-200 guests), 2 planners and 1 assistant (200+ guests)

Butterfly Bride's

Cost - $850
Details - 2 Meetings (Up to 3 hours; includes site inspections)
“Wrap-Up” appointment (2months prior; up to 2 hours)
Review of Vendor Contracts (Up to 2 hours)
Preparation of Timeline to include Ceremony Schedule, Arrivals, Processionals, Recessionals. Duties and Seating Arrangements (Up to 5 hours)
Vendor confirmation/coordination (Up to 1 hour)
Administrative Duties (1 hour)
1 hours Rehearsal coordination
9 hours Wedding Day (2 hours ceremony; up to 7 hours reception)

Exquisite Events
Cost - $1100 (also have a package with DJ for $1700)
Details - Meet and review all details of the wedding and review vendor contracts
Create a wedding timeline to be given to all vendors and wedding party
Create floor plan and seating chart for the event
One week prior contact and review timeline with vendors and confirm delivery and set up
Coordinate and direct Rehearsal Day (2 hour max.)
Arrive 2 hours prior to Ceremony/Reception to ensure Décor and Wedding Party is in place
On site Coordination and Supervision of event (10 hour max.) Including set-up and breakdown of Décor
Pack up all wedding items at the end of event to be given to designated people
Unlimited phone and e-mail advice

Little Blue Box Weddings

Cost - Would not provide in the e-mail back to me, instead they wrote: "We customize our DOC packages to specifically meet each couple's needs and therefore offer a complimentary initial consultation as part of the wedding planning process. During that consultation we discuss your wedding dreams and needs and how we can help you. Once we have a better understanding of what you want, we can quote you a price for our services."
Details - Meet with you one month prior to your wedding to gain a clear perspective of your vision, goals, and requirements for your wedding day.
Develop a detailed, wedding day itinerary to assure your wedding day runs smoothly.
Obtain vendor contracts from you to ensure all items and services are provided the “Day of.”
Manage the wedding rehearsal to ensure all participants understand their responsibilities and are aware of the flow of the ceremony.
Finalize layout for wedding ceremony and reception sites.
Contact all of your vendors to confirm delivery dates, times, and locations.
Develop a vendor set-up schedule as part of the wedding day itinerary and distribute to all vendors.
Supervise all vendor set-up at the ceremony and reception sites.
Ensure wedding rings and marriage license are on hand.
Distribute final payments and/or gratuities to all vendors.
Supervise all vendor set-up, ensure tables are set up according to your floor plan.
Organize the processional and recessional.
Manage the reception.
Ensure the gifts, place cards, and cake tables are placed in their appropriate locations.
Place favors, table numbers, and any other miscellaneous items on guest tables.
Assist you and your family with any concerns or questions.

Let's Celebrate!
Cost - $1800, up to 20 hours
Details - service starts two months prior to your wedding and includes: vendor management, ceremony/reception site inspection, timeline production (typically a 15-25 page document), floor plans, and coordination of rehearsal, ceremony and reception. (And also includes set-up of decor, etc.) All of this allows you to enjoy your wedding day and not have to worry if the place cards got put out or when you are supposed to throw the bouquet!

Jean Marks Weddings
Cost - doesn't do day-of, only month-of and beyond, which starts at $3500
Details - couldn't help me, but did offer a recommendation of Elisheva Basseri,

Mint Celebrations

Cost - Did not quote their price, as I had requested in my e-mail
Details - For couples who already have their plans set but need assistance a few weeks prior and on the day of the wedding.
Final vendor confirmations
Detailed wedding day timeline and checklists distributed to vendors and bridal party
Rehearsal wedding coordination (up to 3 hours)
Wrap up consultation prior to wedding (up to 3 hours)
Wedding day coordination (up to 8 hours)
Wedding day emergency kit
Oversee setup of ceremony and reception sites
Organize processional and guest seating
Distribute final payments to vendors

Bliss'd Wedding & Event Planning
Cost - starting at $1,800. Prices vary depending on the number of guests and location of the wedding.
Details - Complimentary initial consultation
2 Meetings
A wrap-up meeting two months prior to the wedding to discuss the sequence of events for the rehearsal and wedding day.
An on-site inspection meeting two weeks prior to the wedding held at the reception site to discuss table set-up and site layout.
Gathering and reviewing all your vendor contracts
Calling all vendors to confirm details and times of arrival/delivery
Designing floor plan layouts
Creating a detailed time-line of entire wedding day schedule
Organizing the processional and recessional
Rehearsal Coordination
Offering advice on etiquette and protocol
Assuming responsibility for all vendor contact for 1-2 weeks leading up to wedding day
Unlimited email and phone contact
Wedding Day Coordination
Meet w/ bride to review last-minute direction, questions, concerns
Greet vendors upon arrival and receive deliveries
Assist wedding party, family members, guests as needed
Ensure all vendors are doing their job according to contracts and timeline/schedule
Assist in decorating
Gather anything remaining at the end of the night such as gifts, cake servers and toasting
Ensure that everything at the venue is cleaned according to the contract
Distribute final payments and tips to vendors on behalf of couple
Something Blue items can be added on to this package

Sugar Rush Events
Cost - $2,050 (including $150 travel fee)
Details - This package includes 2 meetings prior to wedding date:

Meeting # 1: We will meet at your event location 3 months prior to your wedding to do a walkthrough. We will discuss venue layout; problems and solutions. Determine where you want tables and décor. We will talk about possible lighting options, if you choose to use them. We will discuss the flow of your event to make sure it is exactly as you imagined it would be.

We will get to know your style and your wedding vision. Don’t forget to bring your wedding binder; we will look at all the pictures that you have collected so we can get a feel for your style. It is so important for Sugar Rush to get to know you and your personality. We want to make sure every detail is exactly as you pictured it to be.

This meeting is also the perfect opportunity to check in and see how your wedding planning progress is coming along. We can discuss ideas, problems, and any other needs you may have. We will also make sure you are on track in the planning process.

Meeting #2: This is the final meeting that takes place 4 weeks prior to your wedding! At this meeting we will get down to business, (all while having fun, of course!), and finalize all details.
We will create a detailed day of wedding timeline. This timeline will include all contact information of your vendors, where you and your bridal party will be and when you will be there, set up instructions for your vendors, and every detail of the wedding listed by time. We will create/finalize your reception/ceremony layout; we will go table by table and create detailed décor set up instructions, we will coordinate your ceremony processional and recessional, and create a bridal pack list.

After this meeting we will contact all of your vendors 3 weeks prior to your event date. We will give them the Wedding Day Timeline, as well as set up instructions. We will answer any questions they may have, so you don’t have to.

You will walk away from this meeting feeling confident that your wedding will be exactly as you planned.

This package includes unlimited email and phone contact
At Sugar Rush Events we pride ourselves on being readily available to all our
bridal friends. Feel free to email or call us whenever you have a question. From the moment you book Sugar Rush Events we are at your service to answer any questions about anything to do with your wedding. Although you have chosen the Day of Wedding coordination package; we offer so much more! We can answer any question you have from invitations to cakes.

This package includes Sugar Rush Events Preferred Vendor List
When you book Sugar Rush, we will email you over our preferred vendors. These are vendors that we have worked with numerous times and consistently give a great product. They share the same philosophy and style as we do. They also offer better rates and flexibility to our brides and grooms! This list also includes information on marriage license, favors, invitations and more! This list will keep you from spending hours on the phone researching vendors…we have already done the work for you!

This package includes Wedding Rehearsal Coordination
We will coordinator the 1 hour wedding rehearsal the night before the wedding*. We will make sure everyone knows where to be and when to be there on the day of your wedding.
Your bridal party will receive a timeline for the wedding day.

This package includes Day of Wedding Coordination
2 Sugar Rush Events Coordinators will be onsite on the day of your wedding for up to 5 hours (additional hours may be added) overseeing all the details and set up of the wedding ceremony and reception. At the ceremony we will oversee the florists set up, and make sure that bridal bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages are given to the appropriate people. We will set up items such as unity candle, and programs or direction cards. We will make sure that ushers are in place as guests arrive, as well as those involved in the processional. After the ceremony we will assist the photographer in gathering family for after wedding pictures.
At the reception we will set table décor, favors, table numbers, place cards and other special touches that you may have added*. We will oversee all vendor arrival and set up, and assist them with any problems that may arise. Everything will be in its place exactly as we have discussed. When you walk in you will be blown away by your wedding.

We will coordinate the wedding processional and recessional of the ceremony, oversee after wedding pictures, guest arrival at cocktail hour, gather your bridal party for announcement of the bridal party and bride and groom. Once you and your fiancé and bridal party has been announced and are into dinner the photographer and DJ will take over coordination and the facility staff will be your contact person for the evening (additional coordination may be added on if you choose if you want a Sugar Rush Events coordinator to stay longer than bridal party announcement).

Amy’s Wedding & Events
Cost - $1950
Details - Before Wedding Preparation:
Complimentary Initial Consultation
Additional Consultations, Advice, and Guidelines via Phone Calls and Emails
Vendor Management
to Review Vendor Contract, Confirmation and Final Call for Vendor to Review Specific Timeline
Final Walk Through Appointment at Wedding Locations
Customize Ceremony Processional and Recessional Line Up Diagram
Customize Wedding Day Timeline Creation According to Your Needs and Desires for Your Special Day
(different version of timeline will also be distribute to bridal party and vendor)
Wrap-up Session
to Go Over All Final Details, Finalize Timeline,
and List of Personal Items Needed for the Wedding Day
(ie. Guest Book, Cake Server, Toasting Flutes, Place Cards, etc.)
Rehearsal Coordination:
Pick up personal Items for the Wedding Day
Direct Rehearsal
Wedding Day Coordination:
Full Orchestration on Wedding Day from Start to Finish
Be the First One to Arrive the Location, Greet All Vendors and Help with Vendor Setup
Detail Placement of Any Items Needed for the Ceremony and Reception
Run Ceremony Including Cueing Officiant, Musicians, Photographer, etc.
Help Direct Guests to Cocktail / Reception Area
Take Care of Any and All Emergencies with Ease
Oversee Reception Flow from Food Service to Cueing All Events with the Couple and DJ/Band
Distribution of Any Final Payments/Tips to Vendors
Secure All Gifts an Envelopes with Person of Your Choice
Provide Use of “Wedding Emergency Kits” the Entire Day

Artistic Wedding & Event Planning
Cost - unfortunately she was already booked a year in advance for my wedding date, so I didn't bother getting an exact quote, but website says "starting at $650"
Details - This is perfect for the couple who has planned the wedding on their own, but need some expert assistance just before and on the day of the wedding
Making sure that all finishing touches are complete
Gathering wedding party and family members for photographs
Ensuring proper placement of place cards, wedding favors, disposable cameras, programs, etc.
Rehearsal coordination and instruction (up to 2 hours)
Creating and distributing wedding day itinerary to wedding party and vendors
Final vendor confirmations and distribution of driving directions
Full wedding day coordination for up to 9 hours
Wedding day emergency kit on hand
Assist with distributing all bouquets, corsages, etc.
Lining up and cueing the wedding party for the processional
Making sure that the bridal party is ready for post-ceremony photographs
Oversee the set-up of the ceremony and reception sites
Cue vendors throughout the day
Distribute final payments and gratuities to vendors
50% deposit due at signing of contract. Balance due two weeks prior to the wedding day

Our Best Friend's Wedding
Cost - $900-1400
Details - Timeline Creation (usually scheduled a month before the wedding to plan the day's events)
Preparation Meeting (usually scheduled a week before the wedding to review the timeline and make note of any last minute items)
Ceremony Rehearsal Coordination (help with processional / recessional, organize bridal party, work closely with officiant (if there))
Ceremony Coordination
Reception Coordination
Main point of contact for all vendors on wedding day

The Wedding Coach
Cost - $2000
Details - Brainstorming Session for complete understanding of vision
Budget review and management
Choreographed agenda encompassing all wedding day issues- vendors arrive/ depart, reception
On-site contact for entire event
Rehearsal Dinner assistance
Miscellaneous activities related to the day of the wedding as needed

J & J Elegant Affairs
Cost - $700-1000
Details - Three to Four consultations
Inspection of event site(s)
Timeline and schedule
Itinerary for Bridal Party and vendors
One week prior to wedding call and confirm arrangements with vendors
Rehearsal direction (2 hours)
Arrive to ceremony two hours early to ensure everything is running smoothly
On site coordination and directing (10 hours max),
Accompany Bride and bridal party on wedding day activities
Including set up and breakdown of décor
Ensure items (cake tops, toasting glasses, gifts...etc) are given to the designated people

Well, that's everyone who responded to my e-mails. Surprisingly, there were 4-5 coordinators who never responded. I'm also sure I missed a bunch in the area, but I could only e-mail so many, and ones without websites I didn't even bother contacting.

Will you be using a DOC for your wedding? And did you find a crazy-big price difference between DOCs in your area?


  1. Super informative! A big help for Bay Area Brides.

    P.S. it was great to meet you last night. Can't wait for more meet-ups. :)

  2. I totally hired a wedding coordinator - I had her the whole time I was planning basically. Only paid $1200 I think but again -that's Austin! I did really like her, but I didn't spend as much time as you did and I think I could have found someone slightly more me. I could always could tell when she was trying to push a vendor on me and that annoyed me. I chose a different flower person just to spite her and that was actually a mistake. ;) But it was WONDERFUL having her do everything that last week since it took the stress off me and my family. Good choice in getting one!!

  3. Oh my gosh, I love you! I am also a type-A personality and I LOVE your little excel sheets of who sets up what...totally the type of stuff I do. I was in the same boat as you and also decided to hire a DOC. I also did lots of research, also feel the need to see a great web site (or I won't meet with a vendor), and paid $1,000 for my DOC (in Orange County, So Cal) for all day coordination, a few pre-wedding planning meetings, rehearsal coordination and 2 additional assistants. I will have to blog about my experience as you did one of these days. Thanks for following me and I will definitely be following you...we could be related :)

  4. Hey Morgan, what a great post :) Thank you for the blog love, the shout out and the wonderful comments!

    I'm so lucky to be working YOU! Not only are you very organized yourself, but you have so much passion to plan a great celebration for you and your families. You are spending not just money, but a lot of time, and love labor (hello custom-made cupcake stand, and your beautifully hand-crafted save the dates!) for your special day. I'm honored to be a part of it. And thrilled you see value in having someone be your point person, advocate and coordinator. You also have a great informative blog and are very involved with other brides, collaborating and sharing ideas. I love it!

    Glad we were able to meet, and sorry for the long process you went through. But, that's part of the joy of planning, right?!

    Talk soon!