This is a question we get asked often… “Do I need a wedding planner if my venue has a coordinator?” The answer… YES! There is a big difference between what the venue coordinator’s job is and what a wedding planner will do.
We reached out to one of the best planners we know, Michelle of Michelle Garibay Events, to get the scoop.
Here is what she had to say about the differences, plus one major reason it’s always a good idea.
In basic terms, a venue coordinator works for the venue, a wedding planner works directly for the couple. However, they have equally important and complimentary roles. Planners need venue coordinators to oversee their venue team and to ensure things they are providing are taken care of.
Venues need planners to help keep the day moving forward, running smoothly, oversee vendors, and be proactive in addressing any potential issues. Wedding days are simply better with both when they are able to work together. This is especially important when the venue coordinators need to step away for site tours, oversee venue set up or oversee food and beverage service with their banquet captains, if they are still on site to manage that. Often times venue coordinators depart once meal service begins, but that’s OK. They aren’t supposed to be there to actually coordinate the wedding. That is your planner’s job to manage the vendors, the details, and timeline from start to finish.
To take it one step further, planners are also the professionals who can offer:
- etiquette advice and logistical counsel
- design guidance so you aren’t a cookie-cutter replica of the multitude of weddings before yours
- streamlined (read: non-frustrating) communication with vendors
- and reputable vendor recommendations if you have specific needs outside of the venue list
A venue coordinator does not have time for this type of personalized service. And to be frank, it’s not their job to be that involved in the planning process. You can’t in good conscience give the venue a bad review if you keep piling on the responsibilities and assumptions when they weren’t contractually obligated to handle them in the first place. That’s not fair to them. But, don’t take our word for it. Ask your vendors how much they are able to focus on their responsibilities when a reputable planner is at the helm. In the end, we are comparing two full-time jobs and one person can’t realistically do everything – and do it well. And when venues promise they “do it all,” seriously consider what this really means for you and your day to ensure your expectations are met.
What happens if your venue coordinator leaves the venue?
First, refer to the point above then read on. You’ve just been thrown a curve ball in the middle of the planning process. We empathize. But just like in any line of work, people sometimes move on to better opportunities, they physically move, and burnout is a real thing when volume and sales is the baseline expectation of the job description.
Even though this is one of the most important days of your life and emotions can run high, venues are no different than any other industry when it comes to staffing changes. So, the person who had been assigned to oversee your day is no longer there and you might be introduced to 1, 2, maybe more venue contacts. We’ve worked with couples who have had upwards of FIVE to SEVEN different venue contacts in the course of their planning. It happens all the time. There is no guarantee they will be there to see your day to completion because you contract with the venue, not the person.
Planner to the rescue.
When it happens to couples who hire planners they know they really don’t have as much to worry about. Those planners are the “glue,” continuity, and peace of mind throughout the process. It makes the transition between staff members much less stressful because those couples know their planner can make sure the new contact gets up to speed and nothing is missed. Win-win for everyone, including the venue.The venue-planner relationship is like peanut butter and jelly. Planners just sweeten the deal for everyone involved.
The good news, these stress-inducing scenarios can be avoided with a clearer understanding of what a venue coordinator’s role is. Venue’s might differ slightly, but this ensures you make the best decision for your wedding day, especially when unexpected changes occur. Here is a link to a comparison sheet. It will help clarify roles and expectations so you can ask the right questions as you begin your planning journey.Michelle- Michelle Garibay Events
We also dug up this great little article that will help you determine just how much planning you will need. If you’re still asking yourself, “Do I need a wedding planner?”, find out just how essential planners are by checking out this blog over on Real Weddings of Temecula.
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