No matter which part of the wedding industry I've worked in (wedding planning, wedding coordinating, event design, consulting with wedding professionals on marketing and social media, promoting destination weddings in the Berkshires, etc.), I have found that there is always an educational component when it comes to planning a wedding, large or small. Whether it's educating the parents on the real costs of weddings, educating the vendors about just how important Pinterest and Instagram are, or educating the brides why they need to secure the right amount of guest accommodations, there seem to always be a list of questions coming from each direction.
Don't get me wrong...I never mind helping a couple plan their perfect wedding! But hearing the same questions time and time again have made me realize that we wedding planning "experts" aren't really doing a great job of getting accurate information out there. I can't even tell you the number of times I've gotten an apologetic phone call or email beginning with, "I'm so sorry for all the questions...we've just never done this before!" And I usually tell them, "You SHOULDN'T have all the answers...that's OUR job!"
And this particular topic of wedding coordinator vs. venue coordinator is no different. So I thought I'd take a few minutes to explain just what the differences are. Many times, when discussing our various packages with a couple, they'll say, "Well, we don't know that we really need a planner because our venue has a coordinator on property." But here's what they don't know...the venue coordinator is advocating on behalf of the venue, NOT the couple. A venue coordinator is on location to make sure that no harm is done to the exhibits (if having a museum wedding or historic property wedding). They are usually working closely with the kitchen staff to be sure that each course is served on time. A venue coordinator is not there to help the bride get bustled, or to make sure that the flowers have all arrived on time. A venue coordinator will not go to check if the seating chart has been set up or find out what time the photographer is coming to shoot the first look. He or she will not set up your luminaries or set out a basket of flip-flops. And s/he will definitely not stick around until the party is over...typically, they leave after the last course has been served.
If you want a wedding professional to be with you every step of the way--from vendor referrals to guest lodging, from make-up trials to packing up your grandfather's tallit--you need to hire a wedding planner, and have her there to make sure your day is running smoothly.
A wedding planner will take the time to sit down with you and your families to discuss the vision you have for your wedding weekend, and to determine what you have in place for your budget. A wedding planner will match you up with the perfect wedding photographer, floral designer, caterer (etc.), based on your preferred style, personalities and allotted funds. A wedding planner will advocate for YOU at every step of the way, negotiating best rates with venues and vendors, making sure that YOUR needs are met as you get closer to ceremony time, and keeping your schedule on track. She will help you create a cohesive design, from the very first save-the-dates and wedding websites, to the guests' welcome bags and the cute signs you use for your signature cocktails. She'll be your best friend for a year, your sounding board (about your future mother-in-law!) and your bossy personal assistant all at the same time!
Are you in the process of planning your CT, NY or MA wedding? Promise me this...before you rule out hiring an actual MA wedding planner based on your venue having its own coordinator, give our office a call. I guarantee our team will save you hours of frustration and probably quite a few bucks! And I don't think ANYONE needs to be educated about how awesome it is to get the most value for your money!