Here’s a question I frequently get asked.. “So what’s the difference between a Wedding Planner and Venue Coordinator/Catering Manager anyway?” I absolutely love when clients and other industry professionals ask me this question. I love when I get the opportunity to explain our roles, the differences between them and how we compliment each other. Although our responsibilities may seem similar, and even overlapping at times, they are actually very different, but both have very important tasks. “Is a venue coordinator not the same as a wedding planner?” The answer is simply, no. Picture the best day of your life, picture a beautiful, clear, blue sky, cool, breezy weather, the birds are singing in the background and you are surrounded by all your favorite friends, family members and loved ones; you couldn’t be happier.. That light, carefree, feeling of the perfect day is exactly how it feels to have a Certified Wedding Planner and a seasoned Venue Coordinator coming together to create a situation where you get the best of both worlds to make sure you have the most perfect day imaginable..
PG_PostLayout2_1So many times Wedding Planners and other industry professionals battle with relinquishing control to Venue Coordinators and Catering Managers alike. Sometimes we even get a bad rap for being pushy and wanting things done “our way” for our brides and grooms and not the way the venue is used to. I am ALWAYS shocked when I hear these stories of Wedding Planners not getting along with Venue Coordinators. For us, this is the DREAM TEAM! The crème de la crème! The Rolls Royce of wedding day coverage! Okay, okay, you get the point.. What I’m trying to say is that having an experienced Certified Wedding Planner AND an equally experienced Venue Coordinator is truly the best of both worlds. I guarantee you that your Venue Coordinator isn’t going to accompany you to the restroom and help you lift your dress when all of your bridesmaids are M.I.A. or have maybe had one too many drinks and are not willing to part with the dance floor as their “favorite song” has come on for the last 5 songs in a row; your Wedding Planner, will. On the contrary, your Venue Coordinator would be much more proficient in finding the Maitre’ D if the silverware needs to be re-polished because the staff setting the table left finger prints all over it. Going back to what I said before, although it may seem like we have very similar responsibilities, there are just some things that a Wedding Planner will be more inclined to do for you that a Venue Coordinator wouldn’t and vice versa. This is where that beautiful, perfect, easy going day I described above comes into play. We both have our roles and an experienced, professional, confident Wedding Planner will run to a Venue Coordinator with open arms! I love when I have a colleague who’s job is specifically working the back of the house, making sure the food is going out on time, the bar is stocked, the a/c is kept nice and comfortable, the appetizer is cooked perfectly and that the vegan friend your little sister invited gets her veggie pasta, hold the parm, instead of a steak and mixed greens. This allows us to focus completely on you, your family, your bridal party and all of your guests. This gives us the opportunity to make sure you always have a full glass of champagne at your table and that your Best Man makes it back in time for his toast. When a Venue Coordinator is involved, the Wedding Planner gets to spend more time focusing on what truly matters, you and your needs as newlyweds on the most important day of your lives.

So to sum it all up, here are the biggest differences between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Coordinator:

Venue Coordinators

Venue Coordinators do not actually coordinate weddings

What they do fabulously is manage the venue and keep the kitchen operating at full capacity. And, if you’re lucky, they might also help with overall setup and decor which is always welcomed. What they generally don’t do is answer all the miscellaneous questions that pop up throughout the day.

  • What time will the makeup artist arrive?
  • When and where will the flowers be delivered?
  • Who will arrange the table settings?
  • Who will hit “play” on the slideshow of pictures of my dad and I while we have our first dance?
  • Where should the families go for formal pictures? And what time should they arrive?
  • What time should the DJ announce dinner after the cocktail party?
  • Who’s going to release tables for dinner?
  • Who should sit where?
  • When and where will the other wedding vendors eat?
  • Who’s going to cut the cake after the bride and groom take the first slice?
  • When should the DJ open the dance floor?
  • Who will gather our guests for our sparkler send off?
  • Who will make sure all our vendors balances are paid at the end of the night?

Venue Coordinators are employees of the venue. They act as a liaison between the bride and groom and the venue’s operations team. Their responsibilities are those pertaining to your experience with them, directly: showcasing the venue, consulting with you on your food and beverage choices, formalizing your catering needs, arranging menu tastings and processing the final invoice. On the wedding day, their focus is delivering their contracted services, exclusively: ensuring the venue set up is accurate {tables, chairs and place setting only}, the food is out on time and that tear down happens seamlessly.

In addition, a Venue Coordinator often departs once the meal is served. This may be an important consideration if you’re looking for support for the remainder of the evening or need any assistance with the tear down of items that the venue is not responsible for {DIY items, pictures, candles, anything provided to the venue for the wedding etc}.

Also, keep in mind that while you may have worked with one individual throughout the planning process, there is no guarantee that you will be provided with that same individual on your big day! They typically have a large team, and although they are all able to help you on the day of, if you are looking to have the same person you chose your salad with be the same person that will be there to make sure your coffee stays hot for your guests, you may want to get clarification on this and have them guarantee that they, themselves, will be there on your big day.

Certified Wedding Planners

Planners & Day of Coordinators work for YOU, not for the venue

Their obligation is to you and no one else. A professional, Planner/Coordinator is your personal consultant, with a wide stemmed focus on every detail in curating your dream wedding. They are there for every decision, from the early stages of scouting venue options, looking over vendor contracts, advising on invitation wording, to rehearsal coordination and run through the night before the wedding, your Wedding Planner is there with you each and every step of the way. From the initial planning stages {providing venue options, reviewing contracts, researching and recommending suppliers} to wedding day preparation, {creating an itinerary/timeline, organizing your ceremony rehearsal, confirming details with all contracted vendors} your Wedding Planner is right by your side for every decision. Come wedding day, they will be there to ensure quality and correctness of set up, including favors and any personalized details and decor you may be providing yourself etc. They will manage the timeline for all important events {ceremony, processional, recessional, cocktail hour transition, grand entrance, speeches, toasts, dancing, etc.}, prompt the MC and other vendors and be there to help you pack it all up at the end of the night. In addition, a Wedding Planner will prepare valuable tools for you, such as vendor contact forms, floor plans, set up outlines and MC scripts {if needed}.

Day of Wedding Coordinators, or as we call them, “Month of Coordinators” {because who can really ensure your day goes off without a hitch without some level of involvement in your final weeks?}, will begin working for you about a month out to familiarize themselves with your venue and all your vendors, allowing you to be fully focused on being a bride {or groom} and enjoy your last few weeks of stress-free life together!

Weddings are unpredictable, fast-paced, chaotic events, and like all my couples, each one is unique and comes with special quirks. So if you can hire someone who knows exactly what you want and isn’t afraid to take on an array of uniquely chosen tasks, isn’t that person exactly who you want to coordinate your day?

The Nitty Gritty
The main difference lies in this: A Venue Coordinator works for the needs of the venue, acting out the requirements of your contract in a smooth and timely manner. A Wedding Planner works for you, ensuring every detail of your day is flawless, orchestrated exactly as you’ve envisioned and making sure you don’t want for anything.

Now, don’t be fooled. This is not meant to demean the role of on-site Venue Coordinators. They are a seriously valuable asset to the wedding planning process and I thoroughly enjoy liasing with them myself, but it’s important that couples understand what they are getting into, avoiding hardship, frustration and disappointment come crunch time! Take time to consider your needs and concerns and weigh your options accordingly.

The primary difference is that a Venue Coordinator focuses on the venue’s need and acts out the requirements laid out in your contract. A Wedding Planner works for you, directly, making sure each piece of the day is perfect and just as you wanted.

In the end, throwing a wedding requires teamwork

So build your team — one that is truly enthusiastic about every part of who you are and what you’re hoping to experience at your wedding. Begin your marriage journey by surrounding yourself with all those who love and affirm this incredible decision you’re making, including all the people you’ve hired to be there. Because they could turn out to be good friends, too.
planner vs venue coordinator

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Top 10 Reasons to hire a Wedding Planner or Day of Coordinator

So often we hear that Wedding Planners are for the elite, high-society couple, the “daddy’s girl” or the debutant. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While different Planners have different pricing, a great Planner will benefit your more than be a financial burden to you. Wedding Planners and even Day of Coordinators {or as we call it, Month of Coordinators}, can offer not only peace of mind, experience and endless advantageous relationships, we can often times save the couple so much money, that it exceeds or at least comes close to the cost of hiring us in the first place. I know, it sounds crazy, but with the years of experience and relationship building that any good Planner has, we get very special perks that otherwise wouldn’t be available to you. For instance, I do not accept referral fees from the vendors I work with, in turn I ask them to please take any monetary amount they would be offering me for the business, and pass that along as savings directly to my clients. Here’s how I look at it.. YOU hired ME to be your Planner, to have your best interest in mind, to always look out for you, your needs and pass along any and every “deal” I have or can get. I also feel that it offers extreme peace of mind knowing that when I refer a vendor or venue to a couple, it is because I truly feel that they are the best fit for my client and would benefit them the most, not because I’m receiving a “kickback”. As a Certified Wedding Planner, I understand the importance of honesty, transparency and trust and value my relationships with my clients and will do anything and everything to get my couples the best of the best; isn’t that one of the main reasons why you chose to hire a wedding professional to begin with?

top 10 reason to hire a wedding planner

10. SAVES TIME – Planning a wedding takes enormous amount of time. In fact, the average couple spends well over 200 hours planning their special day. A good Wedding Planner will save you time and energy by researching vendors, taking care of the many, many details, and coming up with various creative ideas to make your wedding amazing!
9. SAVES MONEY – Weddings can be extremely expensive. However, by hiring a Certified Wedding Planner, couples can save a great deal of money. That’s right, a Wedding Planner can SAVE you money! Because Wedding Planners provide so much business to vendors, they are often able to negotiate discounts for their clients. Wedding Planners are also well-versed at helping couples set budgets and encourage their couples to stick to them.
8. SAVES RELATIONSHIPS – Weddings are very stressful. This stress often results in many arguments for couples as well as with family members and friends. Wedding Planners have been there time and time again and know how to avoid such problems before they begin as well as act as a buffer when there are conflicts. Wedding Planners are also able to take on the responsibilities often assigned to loved ones so that everyone is able to enjoy the wedding. Remember, you still want a relationship with your mother well after your wedding!
7. ENSURES DREAMS ARE MADE REALITIES – Most have been dreaming of their wedding day their entire life. Wedding Planners work for the couple and ensure that all desires are met {and often surpassed}!
Top 10 reasons o hire a wedding planner
6. OFFERS ADVICE – Wedding Planners have planned countless weddings and know exactly what works and what doesn’t. They’re also knowledgeable on wedding etiquette. Furthermore, wedding planners are able to recommend competent vendors, based on personal experience and tell you who you should probably steer clear of.
5. ACTS AS THE “GO TO PERSON” – The average wedding has at least 22 different vendors. Combine that with the entire wedding party and all of the guests and that is a lot of people with questions and concerns! By hiring a Wedding Planner {preferably a Certified Wedding Planner}, couples can simply tell others “talk to the Wedding Planner!”
4. CREATES SCHEDULES – There are so many events leading up to the big day! Couple that with the many things that happen during the wedding and who can keep track? The Planner/Coordinator can! Certified Wedding Planners are well-versed at making detailed itineraries for everyone involved {including other vendors} and making sure that everything happens on time so you can truly get the most out of your one special day.
3. HANDLES CRISIS – Whether we like it or not, most big events involve crisis. Who really wants to deal with the bakery not delivering the cake on time or the DJ decided to no show or cancel on you hours before your wedding? No one {except your planner, that is}! Wedding planners know how to handle all unforeseen circumstances and make sure to shield you from all the stress associated with the unknown.
2. ORCHESTRATE DETAILS FROM REHEARSAL THROUGH THE END OF RECEPTION – Do you want to be responsible for organizing rehearsal or making sure the bridal party is properly lined up? How about making sure that the guest who had a little too much to drink departs safely? Wedding Planners orchestrate all the details from the rehearsal through the end of the reception, ensuring everything goes off without a hitch!
1. MINIMIZES STRESS AND MAXIMIZES FUN! –Let’s face it, wedding are expensive, wouldn’t you like to know that you are maximizing every single minute of this whirlwind day and have the opportunity to enjoy each and every detail with your friends and family without a care in the world? Hiring a Wedding Planner/Day-of Coordinator ensures that you will have a worry-free and stress-free day, thus, allowing you truly to enjoy your day as a superstar guest!

10 reason to hire a wedding planner

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  • Maureen Brady - Got your name from Stephanie Thomas Marcoux. My son & his fiance are getting married 5/26/18. We were hoping to talk to you Wednesday 10/11 if you are available.ReplyCancel

So, you’re engaged {CONGRATS!}, now what? If you’ve decided you’d like to explore the idea of hiring a Wedding Planner, you have a very important, exciting decision ahead of you! Here are a few tips and some questions to ask a Planner to help make sure you are covering some important topics to ensure you are choosing the right professional for you. Personally, I believe it is EXTREMELY important to look for a Certified Wedding Planner. That would be my very first question before even meeting a Wedding Planner for a face-to-face meeting. Read more about what a Certified Wedding Planner is and why you want one here
wellington proposalAnother VERY important detail to consider is whether or not the individual you are considering is insured. A good Planner will likely require that you acquire your own wedding insurance for your complete protection, but down to the fact that some venues won’t work with Planners who aren’t insured is reason enough to steer clear of a “professional” who isn’t. Imagine losing out of your dream location because your Planner, whom you’ve already made a significant deposit to, doesn’t have the credentials to perform a wedding at that location? It’s just not worth the risk. Wedding Planners are there to make the process better, easier and more convenient, not hinder the process. Keep in mind, this is meant to be a guide. If your Planner doesn’t have all the answers right on the spot or needs a few days to put all the requested information together in an email for you, I would suggest giving them the opportunity to do so before writing them off.
questions to ask a wedding plannerKME certified questions- wedding plannerFeel free to Pin that and take it with you! You are giving yourself the absolute best gift you can for your wedding by considering working with a Wedding Planner as it is, so make sure you choose someone you are comfortable with. This person will basically be your other half for the next 6, 12, 18+ months, will be there with you every step of the way and will likely turn into a lifelong friend..
polo club wellington proposal

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What is a {Certified} Wedding Planner and Why Do I Want One?

With so many options available to you when choosing a Wedding Planner or Day-of Coordinator, it can be hard to sift through the endless possibilities that are shown to you through popular wedding sites like WeddingWire, The Knot and to name a few. Personally, I believe it is EXTREMELY important to look for a Certified Wedding Planner. That would be my very first question before even meeting a Wedding Planner for a face-to-face meeting. Wedding Planners can transform weddings into something extremely imaginative as they bring to life all kinds of themes! Dependable and trustworthy, wedding planners are essential help to any wedding and proved to be a constant strength for any bride-to-be. As wedding planning gets more popular these days, Wedding Planners are also trying to gain more experience and recognition by getting certified by well-established Wedding Planner associations, such as The Bridal Society. certified vs non certifiedIt is a very important detail to keep in mind when considering your choice. A Certified Wedding Planner is an individual who is a industry leader, someone who has gone above and beyond to learn, train and gain an elevated level of education and involvement in their profession. Is it required to become a Wedding Planner? No. There are no set requirements that one needs to become a WeddingPlanner, therefore, why not offer yourself that extra layer of security? The only person who will tell you that being a Certified Planner “isn’t that big of a deal”, or that it’s “really not important” or discredits it in anyway, is someone who is not Certified themselves, so pay close attention to this topic and be cautious of any rebuttals.certvsnoncertCertified Wedding Planners see the value in investing in the hands-on training we receive from industry leaders each year. They will always be up to date on the latest trends and have formal training on creating and executing timelines, creating and managing budgets, maintaining vendor relationships {which will in turn help you when it comes time to booking your vendors and being able to take advantage of special pricing and offers due to this well maintained relationship}, how to properly word invitations, how to create seating charts, amongst a plethora of tricks and tips acquired through personal experience over decades in the business. This is not to say that there aren’t some great Planners out there that aren’t certified, but when you don’t even legally need a business license or an insurance policy to be a “Wedding Planner”, why not take the extra step and hire a Certified Planner and offer yourself the peace of mind of knowing that you are investing in a professional that has already invested in themselves to gain hands-on training, knowledge and experience to better serve you and to offer you a better, higher quality of service? It’s the little-something-extra that sets us apart that can be what you need to make a decision you feel good about.

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