This is a question I’m asked pretty frequently, and having managed wedding venues for years before starting my Houston wedding planning company, I have a lot of insight into the answer! Let me start by saying, I LOVE Venue Coordinators. They work their tails off and play an important part in your wedding, but when it comes down to it, they don’t have the same job as a Wedding Planner.
For the sake of clarity in this post:
“wedding coordinator, day-of coordinator, wedding/event manager” = “Wedding Planner”
“venue host / venue attendant” = “Venue Coordinator”
While a Venue Coordinator may offer some advice and vendor referrals, their main focus is to ensure their policies are being followed and handle the tasks and amenities the venue provides (I.e., processing your payments, answering questions about their policies, setting up what they provide in-house, monitoring the temperature of the venue, and keeping up with the cleanliness of facilities throughout your event.) Essentially, if it has to do with the venue itself and/or what it includes, the Venue Coordinator is responsible for it.
Your Wedding Planner/Coordinator on the other hand, is the person making personalized vendor recommendations, reviewing your contracts, designing all the aesthetics, adding every little moment into your timeline, and communicating all the details with your team of wedding professionals in the months leading up to and on your wedding.
We stay by your side from the time you’re getting ready until you leave at the end of the night. We know that the pearls around your bouquet are a family heirloom and need to be photographed with your “Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue” items (which we’ll communicate to your photographer.) We know every minute of your timeline and just how you want your welcome table set up. We are coordinating your ceremony processional, and communicating with five different people when it’s time for special moments like cutting the cake or giving toasts, and making sure all the moving parts flow together. These are just a few things we make happen on your wedding day.
So even though most Venue Coordinators will jump in where needed (because they’re awesome people), frankly, asking them to split their focus by handling tasks outside their scope of work could result in less-than-perfect performance all around.
Both a Wedding Planner and Venue Coordinator are vital to the success of your event, but at the end of the day, we have very different roles and responsibilities! Your Wedding Planner represents YOU and your best interest, while your Venue Coordinator answers to their manager, and represents the venue itself.
Still not sure if you need a Wedding Planner? Here are some questions to ask your venue coordinator:
- Do you create the full wedding day timeline (even if we’re getting ready or having our ceremony off-site), and will you confirm that timeline with all of our vendors prior to the wedding day?
- Will you be checking in with the wedding party and vendors to make sure things are running on time?
- Will you oversee vendor set up and make sure tables have the correct linens/centerpieces/decor?
- Do you coordinate the reception schedule by communicating with the newlyweds/wedding party/vendors about what’s coming next?
- What of my personal decor will you set up and break down? (welcome table, escort cards, toasting flutes & cake knife, etc.)
- Will you coordinate the ceremony rehearsal, processional and reception entrance?
- Do you pin on boutonnieres and make sure bridesmaids have their bouquets?
- Will you distribute final payments and gratuity to vendors at the end of their service?
- Will you coordinate with the transportation company to make sure guest shuttles & our getaway car are on time?
- Will you load our overnight bags and to-go food and cake into our getaway car?
- Do you have a list of exactly what coordination tasks you do and do not handle?
Remember, these tasks are not commonly a venue coordinator’s responsibility, so if they don’t say “yes” to handling them, THAT’S OKAY! It just means you now know what to expect, and can avoid confusion down the road.
I hope this helps you navigate the planning process, prompts you to ask questions, and inspires you to hire a Wedding Planner! If you’d like to find out more, inquire here!
Photo by Ryan R. Jones Photography