The short answer is ‘no’. We often hear couples say that their venue has its own ‘Wedding Planner’, when in fact what they mean is a ‘Wedding Coordinator’, which while being a very important role is in fact very different.
We’re lucky enough to work in partnership with some of the best venues across the country, and while a Venue Co-Ordinator may be able to provide support in some areas, if you’re looking to have a complex celebration with bespoke support across every aspect of the planning process then an independent planner maybe a better choice for you.
It’s important to say that we work very closely with the in-house co-ordinator to ensure they have all the required information they need to manage the venue responsibilities, whilst working as a team to ensure the day runs like clockwork.
My aim of this article is to highlight the differences between the two roles so that you can make an informed decision about which option is right for you.
Photographer – Pippa Mackenzie
In a Nut Shell…
THE VENUE CO-ORDINATOR
Venue Coordinators work for the venue in which they are employed and their main role is to liaise with the bride and groom and the on-site operations team. They will work closely with you on the areas that specifically relate to the venue such as showcasing the space, menu tasting and ensuring the venue’s payments are made on time. The reality is that most venues host a large number of events (not just weddings) a year so it’s physically impossible for them to hand hold you through the process of planning a wedding as we do, as they simply don’t have time.
On the wedding day itself, their responsibility is to provide the service that they are contracted to, such as ensuring the venue is set up correctly (tables, chairs and place settings), the drinks and food are served on time and suppliers vacate the premises at the allotted time.
It’s also worth remembering that a Venue Coordinator often leaves after the meal is served. Although they would hand over to an Operations Manager on-site, their main interest will be to finalise service and manage the bar, whereas a Planner is there solely for you to deal with whatever is required, right up until the end of the night.
Photographer – Alex Beckett
THE WEDDING PLANNER
An independent Wedding Planner works for you and is there to ensure that you have a perfect day from start to finish and it’s exactly as you’d envisaged. We will work with you on every aspect required to plan your day from putting together personalised timelines and budget plans to selecting and managing all suppliers, dealing with the back and forth communication, organising samples, arranging cake tastings, dress appointments, creating the design concept and bringing it to life, through to collating detailed production plans and running orders to manage the day effectively.
On the wedding day we will be there early in the morning to over-see the set-up of the venue and provide that extra level of detail required ensuring the rooms look perfect. We rigorously check the seating plan has been followed correctly, make sure the table cloths have been pressed and cutlery is lined up perfectly etc. Having created highly detailed schedules of the day we then manage the proceedings – timings of the drinks reception, the bride and groom’s entrance, speeches, first dance etc. We prompt the MC where required, deal with any problems that arise behind the scenes and stay late into the night to ensure everything goes as planned.
Photographer – Mark Bothwell
DELVING DEEPER…PROBLEMS ON THE DAY
What happens if something goes wrong – someone spills foundation on their dress, a supplier doesn’t turn up or your cake is damaged? A good Venue Coordinator will offer some assistance but a Wedding Planner will go one step further and do whatever is required to fix the problem. We have ‘emergency kits’ on hand to remove the makeup, we can call in a favour from another supplier or use some cleverly placed flowers to disguise a cake mishap – we will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure a problem is rectified, usually without you knowing there was a problem to begin with.
Photographer – Pippa Mackenzie
Most venues have a recommended supplier list and they can certainly suggest some that might match with your requirements, but these haven’t been handpicked specifically for you of course. Having spent years building up close relationships with our range of high calibre, global suppliers, an independent Planner will select the suppliers who we feel would be most suited to you. If necessary then we’re happy to invest time thoroughly researching more options to find that perfect partnership.
Some people sadly still view a Wedding Planner as a luxury, whereas all of our clients see us as an essential. A wedding is undeniably an expensive occasion where costs can easily escalate. We’re keen to obtain value for money whatever a client’s budget so we’re always suggesting clever ways to maximise it. Due to our close relationships with suppliers we also regularly obtain added value for you.
Wedding planning is a complex task and it’s easy for couples to under-estimate the time it actually takes, especially with long working hours and hectic social lives. With so many things to arrange it’s hard to know where to begin which can at times make you feel completely over-whelmed. There can be no better investment than knowing you have someone entirely on your side, ready to jump in to any situation to ensure your day is exactly as you’d imagined (if not better), and after all with such a momentous occasion you don’t want to look back and wish you’d done things differently.