Posted By Darlene on January 29, 2013
I’ve been wanting to get this blog post out for quite some time. I’ve struggled with what to say and how to say it politely…but you know what? There is no way to be “polite” about it so I won’t try to sugar coat it. So I’m just going to say it…There IS a difference between wedding coordinators who own their own businesses vs. coordinators who are employed by a church, hotel, estate, or other event location. A BIG difference! A wedding coordinator (that’s ME) specializes in planning, coordinating and managing everything involved in your wedding. I am hired by you and I act as YOUR representative with YOUR best interests at heart. In a sense, YOU are my boss. On the flip side - The venue coordinator coordinates all the elements at their venue: the set up, the service staff, possibly catering, and the property in general. Contrary to what you might believe, you are not their boss. A venue coordinator is employed by their company and whoever hired them from the venue is their boss. Though they care about providing you with exceptional service and they want your day to be grand, ultimately their responsibility is to oversee the venue to make sure the venue operates and fulfills its contractual obligations with you.
Recently, at a bridal show, I met a bride who told me, “Oh I don’t need you,” because she had a coordinator at her church and there was a coordinator at her reception venue. “Wonderful!” I replied. “Can I ask you a question?”
“OK,” she said.
“Who is going to make sure all your decor is in place and make sure your vendors show up on time and get everybody from point A to B?”
“Oh I have a friend for all that,” she confidently replied.
“Will your friend be able to take care of a situation with a particular vendor not showing up or if there is a problem with…say… your flowers arriving to your ceremony?”
“Will your friend be able to take care of contract/legal issues with your vendors or your venue should there be a problem on your wedding day?”
“Will your venue coordinator set up your favors and table decorations, hang lights, or be able to handle an issue with the DJ should they try to end early or drink on the job?”
“I don’t know!” she says.
“You *NEED* to find out!” I told her. “Ask your church coordinator exactly what he/she will do on your wedding day. Ask your venue coordinator what he/she is exactly going to do on your wedding day.”
The answers might surprise you! And
if there are problems when the problems occur on your wedding day, guess who everyone is going to run to? YOU! Or, rather, they will run to your friend first who will then run to you because she doesn’t have the answers. And she will hype it up because she will be so worried for you. “OMG! This is so BAD. I feel so sorry for you.”
That’s why there’s ME! I am not your family member or your BFF. I am not employed by a company where I have to represent them. I am employed by YOU and I act as YOUR representative. I am there solely for YOU. To look out for YOU. I don’t know about you, but having a bunch of vendors, or my mom, or my friends constantly coming at me, while I’m getting hair and makeup done, to ask me questions about what goes where…or what to do about the groomsman who forgot the right socks… that would drive me nuts! Not to mention make my blood pressure go up. Who wants that stress? And WHY would you want your mom or your friends going crazy with wedding stuff when they should be hanging with you, having fun, and enjoying those special pre-wedding moments? Sorry…I digress.
Don’t assume anything. Don’t go on with your wedding planning assuming that the staff at the venue will set up your linens that you’ve rented. A good rule of thumb: If it doesn’t belong to the venue it’s not their responsibility. Don’t assume that they will set out your favors for you, or candles, or mirrors….again…it’s not their stuff so it’s not their responsibility. Also, the venue is paying their staff to set up the venue (which does include getting chairs and tables set up according to your layout) but not to decorate the venue. Those chair covers you rented? YOUR responsibility. However, IF you decide to delegate the wedding decor to your friends or your mom, there will be confusion and craziness and things left undone. Your friends want to be having fun…not throwing together centerpieces (and they will THROW them together) and trying to put together an escort card display. That’s why there’s ME! I’m there to tie it all together. All the vendors. All the point people which includes the church coordinator and the venue coordinator. I’m there to be ONE point person for THEM! Did you get that? Read it again. I am there to be the ONE point of contact for ALL the wedding vendors to talk to. Remember – I am YOUR representative! Would you rather have all these people checking in with ME and asking ME questions on the day of your wedding…or calling/texting/knocking on your door all morning long?
Now, you will find event venues that have extremely nice staff and they will do some things for you. For example: Maybe you’re using all the hotel china and stemware but want a different linen to use beside their standard white. Most venues would probably go ahead and put the linens on the table for you and proceed with the rest of the table set up. Basically they’re doing their regular set up just using a different linen. No problem. But bottom line for venue coordinators…their only responsibility is to set up the venue according to your layout, get your food ready if they have in-house catering, hire staff to serve/assist guests and provide you with excellent service on your wedding day. In other words, their only real responsibility is to the venue. Do they care about you – of course! BUT, they are not required to decorate for you, tie chair sashes on chairs, nor deal with a cake problem, nor deal with your DJ drinking on the job…or whatever else happens on your wedding day. If there is a problem with the hotel service, equipment rented from them, electrical hookup for the DJ, then the VENUE coordinator or banquet manager will take care of that. That IS their responsibility.
YOUR responsibility is to know the difference. And NOW you do!