I hear this sentence all the time
"I don't need a coordinator, my venue already provides one"
Here is what your venue isn't saying
Believe it or not, a wedding venue coordinator in most cases, is very different from a hired day of coordinator. For a lot of couples, it's easy to not know the difference between the two.
I myself, when planning my wedding, didn't realize until a few weeks leading up to the big day, that my venue's "coordinator" listed on their package, did not provide the services I was anticipating. As a result, I had to find a day of coordinator at the last minute, which was quite stressful.
In the months following my wedding, I began working full time as an in house coordinator for a wedding venue in South Carolina. I learned exactly what a venue provides in the way of coordination services, and what makes for an excellent hired day of coordinator. The venue I worked for provided both services, making it easy for their couples to have an all inclusive experience. Most venues, however, do not.
To make your wedding planning a little easier, here are a few ways to discern between a venue coordinator and a hired day of coordinator. This is based on MOST wedding venue's services.
Know the difference
A wedding venue coordinators main responsibilities involve the property itself. So, if your venue provides tables, chairs, linens, and decor, it would be part of the venue coordinator's responsibility to put those items out and make sure everything venue related looks up to standard for the big day.
Their main job, and I say this from experience, is to make sure the venue is holding up their end of the contract. Throughout the wedding day, they can be expected to check in on you and see if you need anything, but does not act as a liaison between you and your other vendors. They will not handle most decorating or keep things running on a timeline. They're there to be a very extra friendly version of a landlord.
They're NOT usually responsible for following up on these scenarios:
-Your guests don't know where to go
-Your vendors are running late/are lost
-Your decor needs to be set up
-Your wedding day timeline
-Someone needs to direct your wedding rehearsal
-Someone needs to answer questions for your vendors
They are responsible for these scenarios:
-Answering your questions about the venue
-Giving you a tour
-Keeping the venue clean
-Making sure you have access to the venue during the contracted time
-Providing any items listed in your contract
This, by the way, is not a bad thing! All venues need a coordinator to keep up with these responsibilities. What you want to avoid, by hiring a planner or a day of coordinator, is relying on the venue's coordinator to do everything you expected but didn't realize wasn't automatically provided.
Day of Coordinator
A day of coordinator is like having your own personal assistant for your wedding, specifically on the day of the wedding. A day of coordinator, unlike a wedding planner, usually comes into play after you've hired the majority of your vendors, but can help you find anyone you haven't been able to source yourself.
The main job of a day of coordinator, is to make sure that the wedding day YOU have planned, is executed in every detail. Even if you have hired your vendors and ordered all of your decor, you will need someone to help set things up while you get ready (which takes hours!).
- side note: While some couples ask for help from family and friends, a day of coordinator is highly recommended because anyone's plans to help can fall through. If you have a hired professional who is under a contract with you, your wedding will be that person's priority without question.
What you can expect from the average DOC:
-Setting up any DIY decor
-Keeping everyone on a timeline
-Showing your vendors where to set up
-Acting as a liaison for the entire day (so you don't have to be bothered)
-Making sure your venue has held up their end of your contract
-Checking in with all of your vendors before the wedding day
-Helping with anything unexpected that may arise
-Showing your guests where to go for all events
(and sometimes much more based on who you hire)
While the average wedding venue can provide you with excellent service, it would be going above and beyond to say that a venue provides this level of service. While I'm happy to know a few that do in this area (Huntsville, AL) it is a lot less common than you may think.