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Wedding Coordinator vs Venue Coordinator

Wedding Planning Tips

If you are planning a wedding, no doubt you’ve heard many times that the venue manager/coordinator/planner is not the same as having your own outside manager/coordinator/planner that you hire yourself. While this is true and there are a lot of different ways to think about it, we wanted to break it down into one easy concept: 

Proactive vs. Reactive 

We’ll get into that more later,  but for now, let’s go over the basics. In general, it’s fair to say that most representatives at venues are not, nor do they want to be, your wedding planner. More often than not they are so relieved to hear that our clients have hired us and that we will be handling things. Plus we will be there on the wedding day as the coordinator, main point of contact, and will be up to date on all the details.

wedding coordinator chatting with client about details

Depending on your venue, it’s quite possible that the person you have worked with there during the entire planning process will not be on-site at all on the wedding day. Many of them are in the sales departments and work Monday-Friday. At the same time, an Events Manager is the one executing the wedding while following what’s called a BEO, or Banquet Event Order. The Event Manager relies on this document they receive from the sales department to provide them with every detail about the day they should know. This usually works out just fine but because there’s a change of ownership of these documents from sales to events, it’s possible for something to get lost in communication. 

Then there are venues where the person you are working with might be on-site the day of the wedding,  but will leave after dinner because their main focus is making sure dinner service is executed correctly. This is more common for venues that do the catering in-house. And then there are some venues where the person you have been working with is there from start to finish, which tend to be the owners of a venue who like to be more hands-on. 

No matter what the situation is with your venue representative they all have one thing in common: none of them will be as invested in ALL the details and timeline for the whole day as someone you hire on your own. Also at the end of the day, the venue representative is there to advocate for the venue, while an outside manager/coordinator/planner is there to advocate for YOU!

just married marquee sign at wedding
Photo by: Life and Art Photography

A sales manager at a hotel we were working with put it best when we asked them about how much they get involved with the planning or execution of the parts of the wedding that didn’t involve what they do. She said while they were not there to be the wedding planner, they weren’t going to let a wedding fail. They would step in if needed to solve a problem if there wasn’t anyone else to do so, but it’s better if they have someone else who knows all those details better. 

This is where the Proactive vs. Reactive comes in. In everything we do with any of our wedding couples, it’s our goal to be as crazy proactive as possible. We do this through our Details Tracker (which is way more than just asking who your vendors are), your online timeline planner (which goes into a lot more detail than just what times things are happening and starts the day before the wedding), and our final details meetings where we talk about ALL the things! 

The venue manager/coordinator/planner may get some of the details ahead of time, but they are there to solve problems as they come up, not to spend as much time as we do to prevent them. Also, they may not have the background or relationship with the couple as we might so it can be harder for them to know the right decisions to make or who to go with problems, and that is preferably not the couple! They are there to be reactive.

grooms hands reaching for one another in artsy wedding photo
Photo by: Rachel Lahlum Photography

Don’t get us wrong, some venue representatives are very hands-on and get into a lot of details, but those are far and few between. One of the best ways to determine what type you have is to ask them a few key questions: 

  1. Who will be the venue representative on the day of the wedding? 
  2. How long are they on-site and who takes over for them when they are not there? 
  3. What duties, if any, will they perform outside on managing the venue, food, and bar (if applicable)? 

Some venues make it very easy on you by telling you that you have to have another professional on-site to manage the day, or at the very least someone not a part of the wedding to be the responsible party. If the venue doesn’t specify one way or the other, ask them if you would benefit from having outside help. Most will probably tell you that you would, but you might come across a few that will tell you it’s not needed. If that’s the case, refer again to the list of questions to ask and get something in writing if they said they will manage things for you. 

bride and groom artsy photo hands on top of each other
Photo by: Rachel Bigej Photography

We can’t stress enough that having outside help that you have on your own is such an investment in your sanity! To know you have someone on your side at all times who is there to look out for your best interests and to help you get the most value out of your other vendors is priceless. Send us a message today if you want to chat more about the services we offer!

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