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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Planning Tips :: Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner/Coordinator

Unfortunately I hear this a lot, and I'd like to open the floor to other planners, venues and vendors for commentary here. I think it's a huge misconception among brides. "I don't need to hire a wedding planner or day-of coordinator because my venue has an onsite coordinator".

It's true the venue may provide someone to oversee and coordinate your event, but that doesn't mean you should nix a wedding planner or day-of coordinator. Both are equally important, and both do completely different jobs. Some venues can have more than one reception going at a time, and the onsite coordinator might be overseeing multiple events. Most of the time after dinner is served, their portion of the evening is done and you might not see them again. Another issue you might run into is having a different coordinator at your event than the one you spent all your time planning with. Turnover is high in the industry, and it's definitely possible that could happen (been there, dealt with that, several times.)

The biggest difference is that the venue coordinator is there to handle anything with regards to the venue. A wedding planner is there to handle anything pertaining to you and your wedding, both ceremony and reception. The duties will overlap a bit in some areas, but for the most part they will do different jobs. For example, an onsite coordinator won't run home for you if you forgot the ring bearer pillow, or track down a missing limo, or take back tuxedo rentals after the wedding.

Things an On-Site Coordinator will provide:
  • Menu planning and tasting
  • Provide a list of recommended vendors who have worked in the venue before
  • Assist with a room diagram and suggest setup options, and possibly create a reception timeline
  • Oversee the setup of the event (tables, chairs, linens, china, glassware, flatware, etc...)
  • Oversee the catering staff and make sure dinner is correct and served on time
  • Set out favors, escort cards or place cards you dropped off (ask first, because some don't include this)
  • Line you up outside the reception and help you with your entrance (ask first, because some don't include this)
 Things a Wedding Planner or Day-Of Coordinator will provide:

  • A master timeline of the entire day to share with everyone involved in the wedding
  • Set up and/or pick up any of your personal items
  • Review all vendor contracts and ensure they are carried out accordingly on wedding day
  • Double check important details; wedding bands, marriage certificate, guestbook & pen,etc...
  • Handle vendor issues; cake issues, late limo, etc...
  • Direct and assist your guests at the ceremony and reception
  • Emergency kit available throughout the day for aspirin, tape, pins, clear nail polish, band aids, scissors, thread & needle, hairspray, mints, etc...
  • Cue musicians, ceremony processional, reception grand entrance
  • Offer etiquette advice 
  • Pin boutonnieres and corsages
  • Make a trip home for something you forgot, or to the store for something you need
  • Handle any special needs of the bridal party and family
  • Setup and direct a ceremony rehearsal (if necessary and not provided by a church)
  • Assist with ceremony details; handing out programs & bubbles, rolling the aisle runner, etc...
  • And much, much more....

It seems lately I've heard this statement from brides more than in the past. They say venues are telling them there's no need to hire a wedding planner or coordinator. I also hear that some venues are charging the bride & groom an extra fee if they bring in any outside planner or coordinator, and a few just outright ban it. Isn't that a little over the top? To ban a bride from enlisting extra help for what is surely one of the most important days of her life? I think maybe the venues should be educated or informed about what we do differently, and why we're an asset instead of a hurdle. I welcome your thoughts on the topic...

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