Friday, January 29, 2010

The Perfect Pair: Wedding Coordinator + Venue Coordinator

Full post on the Morgan Creek Wedding Gala to come, but in the meantime I had to re-post two fabulous articles by some of my fave LA based planners Amber Events and Jesi Haack. I found that many of the awesome brides who stopped by our booth last night were confused about the difference between the banquet coordinator provided by their venue, and what it is that we do. Although your venue coordinator is a vital piece of the puzzle and will be of endless amounts of help to you, what they do and what we do are entirely different! Working together with both a wedding co-ordinator and a venue co-ordinator is probably one of the best insurance policies you can get! If you're unsure of how the both of us can make your day run absolutely perfectly, then read on!

Venue Coordinator vs. Independent Coordinator By Amber Events

"Recently a potential bride with whom I felt that I clicked with emailed me to say basically: "thanks for your follow up, but we booked Venue X and they provide a wedding coordinator and so I don't need your services." I was sad for her because I really liked her and she has no way to know that the wedding coordinator promised to her is a venue coordinator, not a wedding coordinator. I'd like to explain the difference between the two.

A venue coordinator works for that venue. That is where their loyalties lie, and that is not a bad thing or a good thing, it just is. Their job is to sell the venue to brides, give out a list of preferred vendors, answer questions about the venue, assist with room layout and tasting, and make sure that your wedding follows the rules and regulations of the space. They may or may not help with the master Timeline of the wedding day and rarely do they help decorate or design for your reception. They do know what works and what doesn't in a space, so trust them if they say "that won't work!". Depending on how large the venue is, they may have four or more weddings they are juggling that weekend. On your wedding day, they may not even be the person you have been talking to all of these months, as it is a very challenging job and some venues tend to have high turnover.

Don't get me wrong, a venue coordinator's job is very, VERY important, but they are not your wedding coordinator. Neither is your DJ, a photographer, or florist. Yes, they all coordinate things that directly relate to them (a photographer will help with the Timeline as that affects pictures, etc), but they are not orchestrating every single detail of the event like an independent coordinator will.

As an independent wedding coordinator, our loyalty is to you, our client. Not your parents, photographer, videographer, DJ, florist or venue. An independent coordinator's job is to assess what level of service you need and to go above and beyond that. And to do it in a timely manner, with patience, and with a smile. Whether hired for "month of" coordination or full production, an independent coordinator will become the adviser and orchestrator of the entire production and how all of the vendors tie in together, as well as all of the millions of details that need to be dealt with. And this is just the logistical stuff. Then we have the emotions that come into play during the planning of a wedding. I'm not kidding when I say that half of what I do as a wedding coordinator is to act as a good old-fashioned shoulder to cry on! An independent coordinator will help you with wording of your invitations, encourage you to let your personality shine through, debate the pros and cons of the shades of Bashful vs. Blush roses, give you advice on sticky budget questions, advise you how to seat your divorced parents during the ceremony, remind you to hold your bouquet low as you walk down the aisle, and hug you goodnight at the end of the day.

A venue coordinator and an independent wedding coordinator are both extremely important as they each have a specific job that they are good at doing. A wedding with strong coordinators working hand in hand usually provides a seamless and stress free wedding day for all involved!"

And just in case you're still confused, here's a couple insightful scenarios from the incomparable Jessi Haack:


The blushing bride swells with excitement as her newly adorned groom dips her ever so gently, just at the precise moment their song chimes the last tune. They take a humble bow to their guests. The father of the bride grabs the mic. Everyone is smiling, anxiously awaiting what kind and funny words the proud father will share. Everyone, that is, except for the bride. She knows her father too well and knows that he has enjoyed one too many Marry Mojitos(her talented wedding planner came up with that one). The bride stands frozen in place, a solid yet uneasy smile on her face, completely unsure of how to put out this impending fire. Luckily, her trusty wedding planner is standing by with a fire extinguisher. Because of the intense planning sessions spent together in the 12 months preceding this moment, her planner has learned priceless pieces of information. At this moment in time, she holds this valuable golden nugget: the father of the bride has a tendency to over-indulge in the special sauce. She swoops in and gracefully sneaks the mic away from the FOB and transitions the toasts over to the Best Man. Fire extinguished.


The party is in full swing. The cake has been cut. The lovebirds are slow-dancing seventh grade style in the center of the dance floor…to a fast song. The guests’ attention is ushered toward the screen. The slide show, cleverly staged by the brother of the groom, is cued. As the opening photos flash across the screen, the music begins to garble. It sounds as though the speakers are playing a mean game of “Chubby Bunny." The guests glance around uncomfortably. The bride and groom look up at the screen with a frozen smile. The feedback in the speakers growls louder and more intrusive. The wedding planner is frantically flipping switches and jiggling wires. The sound check went flawlessly! Why is this happening? As organized, trustworthy, and together the wedding planner has proven to be, this unforeseen complication could happen at any time. Just when the crowd’s attention span was about to run out, the venue coordinator rushes into the audio room and flips a switch. All of her years of experience in one venue taught her that there is a specific electrical complication that acts up unpredictably. The music smoothes out, and the slide show plays on. The guests laugh in all of the right moments, the bride and groom kiss each other sweetly as they remember their childhoods.


Of course being a wedding planner myself, I want to persuade you of the extreme importance of hiring someone to walk with you through the planning process from day 1. Someone who will get to know you on a personal level and use your personality in the planning and design of your day. But let’s be honest. I am a bit biased. The truth is, the partnership between your Wedding Planner and the Venue Coordinator is the ultimate unbreakable defense system. Armed with personal knowledge, your planner acts as the advocate of your personal preferences and needs. Armed with knowledge of the facility details, the venue coordinator covers the gaps the planner cannot fill. You see, your planner spends the time with you the venue coordinator can't. And the venue coordinator spends the time with the venue that your planner can't. It’s a brilliant collaboration!

From Hello Bella: I hope that these great posts help clear up some confusion, and of course if you ever have any questions, don't be afraid to ask!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the re-post! I firmly believe that educating our clients on the who, what, why's of things makes for happier brides and better weddings!