I’m a wedding planer, and I get this question a lot, ” Do I need a wedding planner if our venue already provides one?”
Yes you do! Your venue doesn’t provide a planner. They provide a coordinator that will handle the venue only. The best weddings I’ve ever been to have had both a wedding planner and a venue coordinator. We work really well together because we’re both doing different things.
Some venue coordinators offer a “day of ” service which I think is even more confusing for engaged couples. This isn’t a rant against venue coordinators. I love venue coordinators, and I used to be one when I worked for The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. I just want to clear up some confusion.
Here are some reasons why your venue coordinator can’t also be your wedding planner or your Day of Coordinator.
It’s not Their Job
Your venue coordinator specializes in food and beverage and service. They are only responsible for services provided by the venue. I can’t speak for all venue coordinators, but they don’t have their CWEP certification, know anything about vendor management, or ceremonies. Not that they couldn’t, it’s just not their job. Venue coordinators are also really busy. Popular venues can do 100 weddings a year. It takes a month to coordinate a wedding, and a venue coordinator isn’t going to be able to drop everything else they’re working on to dedicate a month to your wedding. Their office hours are typically 9-5, so if you work during the day or live in a different time zone, it may be hard to find time to speak with them as often as you need to.
They aren’t There for The Whole Day
The venue coordinator usually arrives to the wedding at the start of setup, and leaves after dinner because those are the busiest times of the day for them. For a wedding planner the busiest times of the day are opposite. They are busiest pre ceremony and after dinner. I usually bring 1-3 additional planners with me on the wedding day because it’s a lot of work, and I can’t be 3 places at once. If you hire your venue coordinator to be your wedding planner, it will just be 1 person which isn’t going to be enough coverage. Especially because the venue coordinator will also be busy doing the job of the venue coordinator! If your ceremony is off site they won’t be there for that either. If you hire a real wedding planner they will be the first vendor to arrive in the morning, usually around 9am, and the last one to leave, usually around midnight.
They Work for The Venue, Not You ( sorry if this sounds harsh)
A wedding planner is hired by you, and is your advocate. We do whatever it takes for our clients. A venue coordinator works for the venue, and the venue has to be their top priority, because that’s where they’re getting their pay checks. Not to say the venue coordinator isn’t going to give you the best service they can.
Venue Coordinators Turn Over Often
We are based in Vail, Co and it’s a very transient area. If you count on your venue coordinator to be your wedding planner, and they quit, or get fired then you’re SOL. A wedding planner is guaranteed to be there for your wedding, unless something really crazy happens. In the 5 years I’ve been in business I’ve never missed one.
If you are still considering hiring your venue coordinator to be your wedding planner my advice is to make sure all the “day of” services they promise to provide are in the contract to ensure all of your expectations are met, and I would also ask your venue coordinator to see reviews from other happy couples who have used the “day of” service.
If you are a venue coordinator who is considering offering a “day of” service, I welcome you to shadow me for one of our weddings. I have a feeling you don’t fully understand what we do. You’ve seen us in action at your venue, but that’s only 1/3 of our day.