A ‘Wedding Planner vs Venue Coordinator’ Nóbl blog is a long time coming, and its a long one. I apologize in advance!
First I’d like to give a shout out to all the venue event managers and venue coordinators I have worked with! You guys are amazing, and my team and I wouldn’t be able to do our jobs without you!
As a couple you’ve probably had this exact thought: “We don’t need a planner, our venue comes with a Venue Coordinator/Specialist/Manager. We’re good.”
These are valid thoughts, and I completely understand why couples believe there isn’t a difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator. Weddings are usually a once in a lifetime experience. Which also means a lot of first-time experiences. There is no way of knowing if the decisions you’re making are the “right ones” or if they will go over smoothly.
Most venues have a sales team and an event management team on site. Once you’ve signed your contract and officially begin working with the venue. You are assigned to your wedding/event coordinator who begins talking about all things wedding at this venue. Depending on the venue, they may even help you figure out decor through their internal suppliers. Or direct you to their preferred vendors. This could even mean special pricing and discounts based on the agreements between the two companies.
I Didn’t Have A Wedding Planner
I’ll be honest with you, that’s what I did. When I got married I had a wonderful venue event team. They were kind and met with me a couple of times throughout the process to help me finalize day-of plans. And truly they were wonderful and helpful, especially when tragedy struck my family. My grandmother passing away a month and a half before my wedding, subsequently creating financial and emotional hardships. I would not trade where I got married for anything, but despite that, I wish I’d hired a wedding planner.
What a Venue Coordinator Does
I learned in real time what a venue coordinator does and does not do. Their job is to manage the logistics of a wedding as far as it affects the venue. Their goal is to make sure the venue operates at maximum efficiency. She or he helps run the show on the day. Making sure the internal team is helping with the set-up of tables, chairs, and any included linens and wares. Depending on the parameters of their role they can also make sure that the kitchen works on time, with serving and clearing the tables. If you don’t have a planner they will step in and help where they can. They make sure that the venue runs like a well-oiled machine, which is honestly invaluable to everyone involved.
Your venue coordinator’s job begins and ends with the venue’s performance. While they are dedicated to you throughout the process, at the end of the day they work for the venue.
What a Wedding Planner Does
A wedding planner’s job begins and ends with you. Our job is about advocating for you, managing your expectations and seeing that your vision is executed by all of your vendors, including your venue. Our work should begin months in advance of even choosing a venue, so we can be a part of every meeting, and details you invite us into.
Tasks We Take On Pre-Wedding Day:
- Getting to know your wedding party, family and VIP guests (i.e. ushers, friend MCs, flower girl and ring bearer parents etc.) and helping to navigate family dynamics from one wedding event to the next.
- Help you establish and manage your budget
- Help you acquire and review the contracts of your vendors and venue
- Participate in multiple potential venues site tours and give you an unbiased opinion based on your needs.
- Wedding design services to make sure your wedding looks cohesive.
- Organize, schedule and/or attend any vendor logistic meetings regardless of whether or not they are a preferred venue vendor
- Can attend dress shopping or fittings, and will learn to bustle your gown
- Attend and/or facilitate your rehearsal should your officiant not attend
- Act as General Point of Contact for everyone involved (including the venue)!
Tasks We Can Take On During Wedding Day:
- Visit you in person, no matter how early, at your getting ready location – i.e. parent’s home, hotel room etc.
- Be in contact with all your vendors throughout the day to make sure they are where they need to be and have all the relevant information to perform their jobs efficiently on the day
- Check-In with Maid of Honour and Best man throughout the day for periodic reports.
- If your ceremony is at a different location from your reception, we will oversee the set up of each location simultaneously.
- Attend your first look to help photographers orchestrate logistics if needed.
- Oversee the set up of any personal items on the welcome table, head table, venue bridal suite etc.
- Adjust the schedule and coordinate all vendors, including the venue, should plans be ahead or behind schedule.
- Solve problems preemptively on your behalf without needing to bother you during the day, because of planner/vendor relationships that have been built.
- Oversee essential and special moments during the reception such as MC welcomes, queuing speeches, and making sure video and photo are in place to capture it all!
- Assisting the kitchen and event management with serving and clearing schedule
- Stop ‘special moments’ from being ruined if you’re out of the room.
It’s not either-or, it’s teamwork. We need each other – planner and venue coordinator – to make sure you have the best experience on your wedding day. We are an extension of each other, working together to serve you.
The Wedding Planner is responsible for the emotionally motivated essentials on your wedding day “must-have list”. We are the ones chasing a late cake delivery. Or checking on the ETA of the bridal bouquet that was supposed to arrive at your house before the first look. It is our job to stop the DJ from playing that surprise song you scheduled to honour your late uncle, while you’re with your photographer or using the bathroom.
While we’re caring about the little details. Your venue coordinator is supporting us by setting up the tables, putting linens out, making sure the allergies list is up to date. Not to mention working with our assistants to place linens, making sure internal AV is working, floors are swept, on-site flowers are pristine, and the venue staff is where they need to be.
Most venue coordinators are happy to work with a planner they can trust. It means they can focus on doing their job to the best of their abilities. Especially when they have serval different events happening at the same time.
Wedding Planners are happy to work with an efficient venue coordination team to create a seamless customer service experience.
I do my job so that they can do their job, and they do their job so I can do mine. Together we produce an ideal day for our couples.
This is why building relationships are crucial! For more information about Nóbl’s Philosophy around building relationships check here.
For a look at what vendors feel about hiring a planner, Toronto based photographer Kayla Yestal gives some awesome insight in her blog post here.
“Wedding Planner vs Venue Coordinator”, Kirsten Rezek, “Nóbl Essentials”, Copyright ©2020, Nóbl Events, Nóbl Journal
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