What's the difference between a wedding planner and your venue's coordinator? Aren't they the same thing?
Don't worry! This is confusing! If you didn't know the difference, we get it! Most people don't know there is a difference. If your wedding venue offers on-site coordinating services you may be tempted to not hire an outside wedding planner to save on costs. But there’s a good chance that you could end up frustrated and stressed out on your wedding day when the venue coordinator fails to “perform”.
Simply put, the venue coordinator is coordinating between yourself and the venue staff only.
Even though, there are many venues who offer full-service planners for your wedding day. Their full-service may not be exactly what you are expecting. These services will focus mainly on what the venue provides to you only. For example; the banquet staff, food service, table and chair set up.
So how does that happen? Maybe you hear the venue coordinator say things like, "I'll be here to help with anything the day of." YOU HEAR, she will take full ownership of anything happening on the wedding day, coordinating with other vendors, and playing catch all with every small thing that may come up. I am certain that in any emergencies your venue coordinator will be there to help, but they won't be there to take full ownership of all the moving parts on that day, simply because it isn't their job.
So, the venue coordinator ends up getting a bad reputation for not doing things you thought they were handling. And you as the bride start to freak out about things that you just shouldn't have to on your wedding day!
So who takes care of all the "other" stuff?
You may be wondering, what other stuff is there to worry about?
Let's start with our FREE TO-DO LIST for anyone planning a wedding! This list may help you define what small things may need to be attended to, while you are getting married, just in case.
But, there are so many possibilities that can and will arise that can be stress-free for you if you are working with a wedding planner.
So here are 5 wedding fails you want to avoid when working with a venue coordinator.
A wedding planner is your biggest advocate! They are working WITH you to create the wedding of your dreams. There are times in-house coordinators are there to support their staff and sell you something more. A wedding planner hired by you is not going to try and add on upcharges. They will be fully supportive of your vision, ideas, and plans. And only there to help you communicate that to all your vendors. A venue coordinator will have the venues best interest in mind above all. So keep this in mind.
A venue coordinator may have multiple events that day or weekend at their venue. This will divide their attention between you and other clients. They will likely have limited availability for questions or assistance during the time of the other event, this could cause stress on your if were expecting decor to be unpacked or, even worse still, when the morning wedding is vacating the ballroom you booked so that you can access it!
An onsite coordinator is most likely not going to set up your wedding decor. They're main concern is going to be to make sure the tables, chairs, place settings and dishware are where they need to be. You cannot expect them to set up your centerpieces, name cards, or chair covers. Those duties belong to your wedding planner. Make sure to get a detailed list of things the venue coordinator plans to handle. Then create an additional to-do and work with your wedding planner to make sure these things get taken care of.
A wedding coordinator will not ensure vendors are doing their job. Their primary focus will be that the venue is providing what they contracted to you. So, if you need someone to make sure your DJ is sticking to the playlist you agreed upon, your venue coordinator will not take that initiative. There may be logistics they have to manage during the timing of your event to accommodate other guests and their contracts.
The venue coordinator will not carefully deliver your timeline. With the exception of deliverables that the venue is providing, the venue coordinator is not obligated to make sure that things are happening smoothly and according to your schedule. Some examples: Are photos taking longer than expected? Are one of the bridesmaids missing in action? Is decor set-up running way behind schedule? Here a wedding planner is pretty much a life saver! Your wedding planner will be acting as a behind the scenes director, making sure that all the players know their parts, and that they are on cue, too.
And remember, every venue will have specifics for their spaces. Make sure to ask the right questions, and don't be afraid to ask for things in writing!