Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Coordinator: Is there really a difference? (the answer is YES!)

I am not sure where all the confusion comes from, but I have had so many couples and family friends who have fallen in love with a venue for their wedding, and made plans to hire a coordinator for their big day, only to be told they don't need one.

Old Mill Wedding

This actually happened to me when I got married many moons ago, and I wish I had just met with the wedding coordinators I had shortlisted to hear about what they could have done for me (some examples on why coming right up).


Many venues have teams of experienced on-site Venue Coordinators who provide a high level of service to their wedding couples, and I love working with them to make a couples wedding the absolute best it can be.


It is good to know that there are some key differences between the roles of a Venue Coordinator and a Wedding Coordinator before deciding if making a Wedding Coordinator part of your team is right for you.


Here are the major differences that I see in the roles of a Venue Coordinator and a Wedding Coordinator:


Venue Coordinator

  • Is an employee of the venue. The person you book with may not still be working there by the date of your wedding

  • Will advise a couple based on the policies and procedures of the venue, and act as a liaison between the couple and the venues catering team and managers

  • Are responsible for showcasing the venue and ensuring all services and items in your contract (meal/bar choices, table settings, room set up etc.) are delivered on your wedding day

  • Their main focus is on managing the venue staff and kitchen to ensure the timing and quality of the food

  • Venue Coordinators are present for a portion of your wedding reception, and often leave once dinner is served. A Catering Manager is in charge of managing your reception until the end of the night

  • Your wedding may be one of 50+ at your venue that year that your Venue Coordinator is managing. You may be one of 2 or 3 weddings happening that weekend alone (or even that night) depending on the venue

Wedding Coordinator

  • Works for you, the couple

  • Will work with you and ALL of your vendors weeks in advance to solve any potential issues ahead of time, and finalize a realistic and comprehensive timeline for the entire day

  • Are responsible for ensuring that all products and services are provided by all vendors involved, and that the day runs on time. They act as a liaison between the couple and their vendors to communicate the couples wishes on their behalf

  • A Wedding Coordinators main focus is on making sure the couple looks and feels their best on their wedding day. They work behind the scenes to allow a couple and their families to be present and enjoy the big day

  • Wedding Coordinators are present for the entire wedding day from before your ceremony until the very last event of the night

  • Most Wedding Coordinators take on a select number of weddings a year


My own personal experience as a Bride is what kicked off my passion for the wedding industry, and I am committed to educating people on the all the little things that professional Wedding Coordinators do for you that a Venue Coordinator just isn't there for. So here are a few examples from my own wedding day to give you a bit of perspective into what I am talking about:


The Ceremony:

I was waiting in the limo with my Dad at the church waiting for everyone to go inside so the ceremony could begin. My bridesmaids were lined up in the lobby of the church, and no one was there to give us a heads up that we were ready to start the ceremony. It is a really good thing that the place had windows because we saw the processional start (yes, without the bride in the building)!!! So we hopped out, ran to the church doors, and asked the lovely limo driver to straighten out the train of my dress just as the ushers opened the church doors for us! It felt way more rushed and stressful than it needed to be and didn't allow for my Dad and I to take a breath together before it was go time.


A Coordinator would have been there to get us out of the car, lined up and ready before any music was cued to start the processional, not to mention fixing up my dress and making sure I was ready.


Photos:

During our photo session, I took my veil off, and had a stray piece of hair flapping around and no one bothered to tell me. This sounds weird because I had parents, and bridesmaids around me during this time, but after working 60+ weddings, I have realized that wedding days are hectic and stressful for everyone involved. People are trying to keep track of time, be good hosts to the friends and family around them, while also trying to look good in photos themselves. They are likely not going to notice the little things, so you really want an objective outsider there with you who will notice these things and just let you know.


A wedding Coordinator would have asked if I wanted my hair like that, then pulled out an extra pin and some hairspray from their emergency kit and fixed it up on the fly.


Reception:

We chose to have a family member (my Brother) MC the evening, and he did a fantastic job. He was energetic, funny, never inappropriate, and stayed sober until his duties were done. I could tell he wanted to do the best job possible for us, and spent most of the reception paying attention to what was happening around him and worrying about getting the timing right for every speech and announcement.

A Wedding Coordinator would have liaised with him and the Catering Managers and cued him when it was time to go up to the podium next so he could sit back and enjoy his dinner otherwise without worrying.


We also had a DJ who seemed to forget everything we talked about in our meeting prior to the wedding and started running a bunch of weird games (I got married during the height of the "interactive wedding" with wacky kissing games and guests interaction) which we specifically said we wanted none of. He literally started an Elvis Impersonating contest during the reception which had nothing to do with us, our interests, or anything to do with the vibe of the wedding. Not one Elvis song was on our song request list, so I have no idea where he got this idea from. During a break his little routine, we sent the best man to talk to him to drop the games, but they had already run on way longer than than they should have.


A Coordinator would have pulled the plug on his nonsense the second it started.


As you can see, these are all examples of little things that have nothing to do with the venue, but make a big difference in the flow of a wedding day, and how the couple, party, and guests feel.


Questions or comments? Let me know!


Janis



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