Venue coordinators, sales & planners manager (and directors) – have you ever been asked if your client needs an event or wedding planner and answered that they had everything they needed – they had you! I’ve been there, thinking that I was the end all be all of event planning in my Hotel. And most of the time, I can handle it – although I do my fair share of running around from location to location to ensure that everyone is doing their part, running on time, and that my couple is happy with how their day is shaping up. I always have and always will look up to planners who make things happen, plan each stunning detail & who are there to see it through on the day. But when my clients tell me that they really just want someone who is there on their day to see it all through my first thought was usually, well you have me, you’re good!
Then this past year I was lucky enough to be asked to be a day-of coordinator for a friend’s wedding at the exclusive JFK Library. I thought WOW am I lucky to be a part of the 2nd wedding that has ever taken place in this spectacular venue. And then I thought – hmmm, what have I gotten myself into? What is the difference between what I do daily, and what I’m going to have to do on this day? I know that I am really great at what I do at my Hotel, but what about going into a venue that’s not set up with a housekeeping supply closet, not a spare bobby pin or safety pin in a time of need, or really anything for that matter?
What did I do? I asked for help from Tammy Golson of Tammy Golson Events, a new and wonderful connection and friend made through NACE. Tammy told me the first thing I needed to do was to find someone to help me on the day, and I thought YES – I always have my trusty assistant on hand so why would this be different? And then she started really diving into the details, and this is what she had to say about not just my experience but why I should always recommend a planner to each and every client, and exactly what I should say:
“Even when the most high end wedding venue assigns you a member of their team to coordinate your wedding day [or event], there are still huge benefits to hiring your own wedding planner for at least, month of coordination. When a planner partners with a wonderful venue and catering team, the wedding goes from good to great.
The representative from the venue is key! He or she is the expert at the space, knows it best and often the catering and service (if those services are included in house) and the personalities of the staff and quirks of the neighborhood. The best wedding planners know the value of the venue manager’s role and expertise and vice versa and together the two work seamlessly to ensure their shared clients have their very best wedding and experience over all. Venues could host between 50-100 weddings a year [where planners pick and choose in order to be able to focus on each and really dive in to the details].
An experienced and professional wedding planner will quickly become the expert on your wedding. This gives you an extra layer of service, knowledge, experience and support through the process and on the wedding day. He or she will help couples build their dream team and manage their time wisely. A good planner absorbs their clients' stress, advocates for their clients wishes, manages family dynamics, and coordinates the complicated logistics and/or multiple locations for couples blending cultures, religions and families. Planners work with considerably less couples each year, so they have more time to devote to the couples that enlist their services.
Based on careful collaboration, multiple conversations and open communication between the venue and planner, together we aim for food to be served at the right time and temperature and the service be impeccable. The planner will take the lead on creating a detailed timeline of events for the entire wedding weekend— one that is accurate, fair, complete and realistic for all the vendors involved because the venue and catering team has been consulted and has weighed in on what their staff needs to do their job best. The goal is to make sure all your wedding professionals are on the same page, prepared, have clear expectations and that nothing important to you be rushed or overlooked especially toasts and special dances.”
And what does that mean for the venue? More time back to sell & plan, and an ease in the wedding day where the focus of the day changes from a one stop shop taking care of everything, and returns back to being able to be the expert on the venue and all of the people and moving parts that need to be organized to ensure event success. A big sigh of relief, that’s what having a planner on your team means.
What did I learn from being a “day-of” coordinator? Being a day-of coordinator was so much fun; I loved every minute of it, but it was also a ton of planning, preparation, and even more running around on the actual day then I do now. Here are some key takeaways from my day of fun:
So venues, maybe it’s time to step a day in the life of a planner, at a venue that you DON’T know like the back of your hand. And then you’ll realize how much they take on, and how much weight they could truly take off your shoulders when you form that amazing partnership. At the end of the day, we just want our couples to have an unforgettable experience, so why shouldn’t we have all the key players there to work together and guarantee success for all? At the next NACE meeting, chat with one of our amazing event planners and hear from them why they should be at each one of your weddings and events, no matter how small or large.
We at NACE would love to hear from you. In the comments below, let us know if you have any ideas on how else an event planner will add to the value of a venue coordinator, and why you recommend a planner for your events. Thank you for sharing!
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Ashley Kirouac has been an Event Sales Manager at Hyatt Regency Cambridge for three years, primarily selling and planning weddings along with other social events. She won Manager of the Year and was one of 100 Hyatt Hyachievers in Event Sales & Planning for 2016. A NACE member for 1 year, Ashley is now a proud Social Media Committee Member for NACE and enjoys blogging by uncovering knowledge and experiences from other NACE members. When not working she enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends and family. Contact Ashley with ideas for upcoming blog posts!