Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What is the difference between an independent wedding planner and an on site venue coordinator?

Many wedding venues provide clients with an on site venue coordinator or banquet captain on the wedding day. We love working with venue coordinators because they know all the ins and outs of the venue. No matter how many times we work at a venue, we can't possibly know as much as someone who works there every day. A good independent wedding planner will work seamlessly with the venue coordinator to deliver the best event possible.

I often hear that a potential client may not need my services because their venue is providing a day of coordinator. I want to outline some of the fundamental differences between venue coordinators and independent wedding planners. Hopefully this will help you make an educated decision on what is right for you and give you some questions to ask your venue coordinator to get a better idea of what the provide.

On site venue coordinator
  1. Works for the venue. The venue is their priority. Making sure food comes out on time, tables are arranged correctly, and the bar is fully stocked is their job.
  2. Has many many other clients. Most venues in my area do 3 or 4 weddings a weekend during the busy season. They will do their best to make you a priority, but they are super busy dealing with everyone else too.
  3. May not be the person you know. Often times the sales person that gave you the venue tour and answered your questions throughout the months approaching the wedding is not the person there on your wedding day. The sales team usually works a regular schedule on weekdays and the on site coordinators work the events.
  4. May not be there through the entire event. Banquet captains often leave after entrees or cake has been served.
  5. May charge for set up. Some venues include complete event set up, but some don't. Be sure to check if there is a charge for things like chair covers and sashes. The venue coordinator may say, "Oh ya, we can set up the chair covers", and then charge you $2 a chair on your final bill.

Independent wedding planner
  1. Works for you. Bride and groom are their priority. Ensuring their client's happiness is their job. They will have lots of tasks, but keeping the bride and groom happy is most important.
  2. Smaller client list. Each planner takes on a different number of clients, but in general an independent wedding planner will only have 1 or 2 weddings a weekend so they can really focus on delivering the best service possible.
  3. Same person on your wedding day. In my opinion, the planner you have been working with from day one should be the person with you on the wedding day. It is important to double check this with planners when doing initial interviews.
  4. Will stay throughout your event. Every planner is different, but you should have a contracted time when the planners will be leaving. Typically this is either after the entire event space is cleaned up or the final timeline note has been completed (send off photo, something like that).
  5. Set up is included. Most planners include full set up in their price so you don't have to worry about a charge for each detail.
It is important to know what your venue coordinator's duties are to make an informed decision on whether or not you need an independent planner. Hopefully this provided some clarity into the complicated and confusing world of weddings.

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