When we sit down to meet with couples to discuss their wedding dreams, not only are we giving the bride and groom a sneak peak into what we can do for them, but also we spend a good portion of our time explaining the value of an event stylist and planner. Our couples often tell us that their venue has a coordinator that will handle everything and while we have the utmost respect for venue coordinators and all of the hard work they put in to making your wedding a success (and for making our jobs much easier day-of), we cannot stress enough how different our roles are.
You know the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,”? We feel that way about weddings. Everyone’s role is so crucial to making the big day go off without a hitch, but we have those specific roles for a reason. Asking your caterer to arrange your flowers might not go as smoothly as you’d like and having your florist cook your guest meals may not be a good idea. The venue coordinator is just that – a liaison between the bride and groom and the venue. They work for the venue and are there to make sure everything runs according to your contract. This includes handling any issues that arise within the venue (blown fuse, anyone?), making sure set up and tear down run seamlessly (and that the venue is not used in any way that isn’t contracted), and, with in house caterers, helping to coordinate tastings and final menus. This is not to say that venue coordinators only do these things nor is it to say their job is invaluable (trust us, these guys and gals know the ins and outs of the venue and always are our go-to’s), but their main concerns may differ a bit from ours.
Take it from Lauren Stine, the venue coordinator at the oh-so-gorgeous Historic Shady Lane in Manchester, Pennsylvania. She puts it perfectly:
“Think about this: without a venue coordinator, you’re basically left with, ‘Okay, yep, you payed $7,000 to rent the space and that’s it! Now have fun setting up tables, making sure people know where to park, etc!’ We have a venue coordinator because we provide A LOT for couples – we provide parking attendants, we set up our tables and chairs, we set up the ceremony area, we are here in case a fuse blows or a light goes out, we are here to make sure your guests know where to go and can get a ride if needed, and the list goes on. Someone has to coordinate all of that, which is where I come in!”
As wedding planners, we are, without a doubt, team bride & groom. Our number one priority, above all else, is your happiness. We work with every vendor from the get-go to make sure everyone is on the same page. If we’re doing full planning and styling, we spend hours negotiating contracts, keeping you within budget, designing, creating, and working with you to make your vision come to life. We are with you at your final venue walk through and we run your rehearsal so you don’t have to worry about wrangling the rowdy groomsmen. The day of, we use our timeline as our guide to keep everyone on schedule and keep events running smoothly and on time. We know who is escorting who into the reception, the title of your first dance, the timing of your speeches, and every other nitty gritty detail in between. It is our job to know every single specification that goes into making your day perfect and make sure those details are executed exactly as you wish, from the ceremony to the reception.
If you’ve ever been to a wedding not run by a planner, you may notice at some that the cake is never cut, the garter never tossed. This is not to say that couples without a planner aren’t on top of their game, rather it likely means they were totally smitten with each other and enjoying their wedding (and hello, that’s exactly what we want). That’s where we come in, though. We want to take that stress off our brides and grooms and let them enjoy every moment of the most magical day without having to wonder when they’re supposed to greet guest tables.
Venue coordinators wear a different (yet still totally adorable) hat. Again, Lauren Stine from HSL hits the nail on the head:
“A venue coordinator knows the lay of the land. I’ve done over 100 weddings at the estate, so I usually know what works and what doesn’t in different situations. If a planner has never worked a wedding at our estate, they might not know what works best for certain situations, so it’s great to have BOTH a venue coordinator and a wedding planner working together to collaborate on decisions. The wedding planner is the face of the whole production; the venue coordinator does more of the behind the scenes things in terms of the venue.”
We could not agree more! And while we’re sure we’ll be spending many more meetings explaining the value of hiring a planner, we hope this post gives some insight into the difference between the venue coordinator and an event stylist and planner and, as Lauren puts it:
“At the end of the day, the wedding coordinator is there for your happiness, while the venue coordinator is there to make sure everything goes well, but also that the venue doesn’t get burned down in a couch burning celebration.”
Truer words have never been spoken.