As I talk to engaged couples about how a wedding planner can help them in numerous ways, the one thing I am hearing more and more from them is …. “We don’t need a wedding planner because our venue is providing a coordinator for our wedding day.” While that may be very true — have you asked specifically what services the venue coordinator will provide?
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against venue coordinators! In fact, I really appreciate a venue that has someone on staff who knows how to set up and execute an event, and a person who will be on site during the event to resolve any issues that arise.
Let’s take a look at the real differences between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner (sometimes called a wedding coordinator, day of coordinator, or month of coordinator; better known as Wedding Day Management).
A Wedding Planner Works for You — A Venue Coordinator Works for the Venue!
In other words, a venue coordinator will be looking out for the best interest of the venue, but a wedding planner will have YOUR best interest at the forefront of their minds. If the venue offers tables, chairs, or even tablecloths, the venue coordinator may very well oversee the placement of them. If the venue has an on-site caterer, they may also work with you on the menu selections and oversee the refilling of food items during the event.
BUT …. if you rent linens/tablecloths or bring your own, most venue coordinators will not place them for you. Also, if you hire an outside caterer, the venue coordinator will not be familiar with the menu specifics and, therefore, will not know if the food items being served are as contracted by you, the client.
A venue coordinator will handle any issues that arise with the venue itself — room layout, lighting, heating/cooling, and parking lot conditions. But, most venues typically will not handle any other aspects of your wedding or event.
Who Will Oversee the Event Details: Venue Coordinator or Wedding Planner?
A wedding planner will oversee every aspect of your wedding or event. Specifically, we at TLC Events & Weddings will happily place your table linens, decorations and centerpieces prior to the start of your event — something the venue coordinator likely will NOT do!
We will also contact every vendor 30 to 45 days prior to your event to review the specifics of every contract and determine load-in and tear-down times. We will create a very detailed wedding day timeline and provide it to every single vendor — as well as everyone involved in your wedding party — so that everyone knows exactly what time to arrive, what to bring, what services to perform, what food to serve, etc. The timeline will include everyone’s role, specifics of what they are supposed to be doing and when to do it, and what time they will be tearing down at the end of the event.
A venue coordinator will not go to those lengths — they will not meet with all of your other vendors and they won’t be familiar with every detail of the services you have contracted with those vendors! A wedding planner will handle ALL of these details!
Who Is Going to Oversee the Ceremony?
If your ceremony is taking place at a separate location from your reception venue, the venue coordinator will not be present at the ceremony to assist you! But, a wedding planner will attend your rehearsal and work with your officiant — and with you — to plan every moment of your ceremony. A wedding planner will help you determine the timing of walking down the aisle, help you practice handing off your bouquet to your honor attendant, and plan the order of your ceremony (when readings or songs will take place, where everyone will stand, etc.).
Even if your ceremony takes place at the venue or on the venue grounds — the venue coordinator will likely not be familiar with ceremony rituals, rites and practices, and will not help you plan those details. A wedding planner is trained and experienced in these areas and will help you have a spiritual, emotional, and meaningful ceremony.
The Reception: Who Will Keep Us On Track?
The reception of most weddings is chock full of activities that can easily be forgotten or delayed if no one is there to oversee the event. The timeline created by a wedding planner will assign specific times for every activity — when to serve dinner or start the buffet line, when to cut the cake, when to have the first dance and any other special dances, when to have speeches made, when to do the bouquet & garter tosses, and so on.
The wedding planner will work very closely with the caterer and musicians or DJ, and will be on hand throughout the reception to cue everyone with a role to play. We will also be there to ensure that you — the couple — actually takes the time to eat AND to greet your guests throughout the night, and yet also have time to dance and have fun! We will handle any issues that arise — many issues that you may never know about because we are there to take care of everything!
A wedding planner will also work closely with your photographer or videographer to ensure they are taking the photos requested on your “photo list”. We will remind guests periodically to sign your guest book, and direct them to the gift table when they arrive.
You See a Stain on Your Dress/Tuxedo: Who Is Going to Help You?
As YOUR wedding planner, I will be with you at the start of the day and will have a special Emergency Kit available to you that will include stain removers, thread, first aid — and everything you may possibly need but forgot to bring with you! I will be at your side to calm your nerves, track down your lipstick for a touch-up, make sure you have your vows, distribute flowers to the bridal party — and generally just be on hand to help you have a beautiful and stress-free wedding that you will remember fondly for many, many years.
Will a venue coordinator provide these services? Likely not, and even if they do step in and handle your emergency, this is not something that is technically included in their services.
Don’t Be Fooled — Hire a Wedding Planner!
So …. as you begin meeting with venues, don’t be swayed by the thought, “I can save money and just use the venue’s coordinator for everything I need on my wedding day!” And, keep in mind that venues sometimes have a high turnover of staff and a venue coordinator you meet with today may not be an employee in a year or two when your event takes place.
Ask specific questions about the services the venue coordinator will provide. Bring up some of the aspects discussed in this article. And then, hire a wedding planner! You won’t regret it!
True Story: A Wedding Day Disaster
I recently met with Maureen and Patricia of Orchard Lane Events in Xenia, Ohio, and Pat shared this story: On the wedding day, the DJ arrived very early to set up. They were chatting and Patricia realized the cake had not yet been delivered. She only knew the delivery time — she had no other information from the couple. Then she realized the caterer was also late.
Guests began arriving one hour before the ceremony start time — still no caterer and no cake had arrived! There were no drinks available for the guests while they waited. The caterer did finally arrive over an hour later — but the cake never arrived! The couple hadn’t taken the time to make final confirmations with their vendors!
Pat stated, “This is just one of the reasons we talk to our clients and recommend that they hire a wedding planner who can handle every detail of their wedding planning and the wedding day!”
For more information on what TLC Events & Weddings can do for YOU, visit our Services page and then contact me to schedule your initial consultation at NO CHARGE!
With Tender Loving Care,
Orchard Lane Banquet Center photo courtesy of Orchard Lane Events
All Other Photos Courtesy of DoJo Photo, Dorothy & John Turnbull Photography, LLC