Wedding & venue coordinators: cooperation, not fight!
The following post was inspired by a video I recently found on Facebook and was completely shocked at. For some reason, this video was already removed, but I’ll try to tell a long story short: a venue coordinator walks through the shot during the first look of a couple. When a videographer asks her to wait because it is a super excited and important moment, she replies in a curt way: "I know it is, I can see that, I'm stopping it”. Needless to say, it was absolutely rude and a couple was devastated.
So, today I’d like to discuss the relationships between venue managers/coordinators and wedding/event coordinators.
The main and the most important goal is not to belittle the importance of a venue coordinator, but, instead, emphasize the crucial role of the COOPERATION between a venue coordinator and a wedding/event coordinator.
If you ask me who is more important on the wedding day, I’ll definitely tell you “Both”!
Let’s be realistic. You hire a wedding coordinator and she/he joins you in the morning, helping with all the wedding day chores. She knows the timeline - when a make-up artist and a hairstylist come, when and where your bouquet is delivered, etc. These are the regular tasks handled by your wedding coordinator. You can’t involve your venue coordinator in here and, hopefully, you don’t want your MOH/bridesmaid/Mom or, God forbid, yourself to handle these actions during the most important morning in your life! So, right, a wedding coordinator is essential.
On the other hand, can you imagine to work with a venue without a venue coordinator? Even though you have a wedding coordinator. It is possible (and we did have such experience), but it’s more complicated. There must be 1 or max. 2 contact persons on the spot a wedding coordinator can deal with. It’s not acceptable to ask waiters when entrée is ready or to turn up the air conditioning. It is not a regular dinner in a restaurant, it is your celebration and you deserve a special treatment and attention!
There must be! a point of contact at the venue your wedding coordinator will work with.
A controversial question is how to set good relationships between a wedding coordinator and a venue coordinator. A venue coordinator is responsible for a venue – food, venue in general, setup (occasionally), etc. A wedding coordinator stays by your side throughout the day and night and cares about the whole cohesive picture of the celebration. A wedding coordinator is obliged to you, Bride and Groom, and no one else. He does whatever he possibly can to execute your day, according to how you dreamed.
That’s the exact place where arguments begin. Aka “you don’t need a wedding planner, we’ll coordinate your wedding”, “wedding coordinators don’t allow us to do our work” or, “I asked a venue coordinator and he didn’t do this or that…” and so much more.
I’m not going to enlighten the aspects of hiring a wedding coordinator or staying with a venue coordinator only. It’s another subject and as I told before – they are both essential. As of me, this is exactly the place where cooperation MUST start.
It should work as relationships – opposites attract. The happiest couples have the best understanding of their differences and try to benefit from that. Despite all the differences, statuses, positions, there must be one common goal – to make the celebration seamless and perfect so the couple is happy. These people (a venue coordinator and a wedding coordinator) should complete each other, not fight, and even cover each other, if necessary.
For example, an emergency happens (something completely not predictable that can’t be fixed with a survival kit or help of your assistants - a bride asks you to do something for her asap) and a wedding coordinator has to leave a celebration for a short period of time. Unless you have an assistant (that is always super cool and helpful), who will stay on the site and make sure everything is running smooth? Your venue coordinator should. NB! It is common that a venue coordinator doesn’t stay the whole night and leaves as soon as dinner/cake is served. In this case, it has to be discussed in advance.
Now, consider another situation. A venue you are organizing a wedding at has 2 weddings at the same time. Ohhh, God, honestly, I don’t like this so much, and I always recommend to choose another day. Still, let’s say a couple is ok with that and there is a second wedding. Imagine your venue coordinator is the one who handles both celebrations – it is tough. It can cause a situation when a couple arrives at a venue, but some details (that had to be prepared by a venue) are not ready yet. As a wedding coordinator, you have two options. The first, you can find a venue manager (who is, obviously, in a rush, so consider to spend extra time to find him - call him, at least), yell at him and share your complaints. As a result, you’ll waste time, a couple will see you’re nuts and a problem will possibly remain. The second option that I call a wise approach is to fix it by yourself/staff. Now! You can have long talks with a venue coordinator afterwards, but just fix it now! That’s it! Remember the main goal of your work here is to make your couple happy!
I can give you a vivid example from my experience. I had a conference in a huge hotel. There were plenty of conference rooms, but the schedule was so tight that we had literally 40 minutes to clean and make a setup after the previous conference! The conference hall had to be transformed while all the guests were arriving at the venue and enjoying welcome coffee. Can you imagine my face when I came to that hall 20 minutes before my guests were supposed to be invited in there and nothing!! was changed yet from previous guests. There were 2 or 3 employees who were trying to move huge tables and clean the space at the same time. I assumed that arguing was absolutely useless, so I chose another approach. I came to these "poor dear guys" and offered them our help. Should I tell you how surprised they were? We did it. We completed the setup within 15 minutes and client didn't have a clue what issue had occurred.
Working as a wedding and event planner/coordinator for a long time, I can tell that most of venue coordinators are extremely helpful and try to work together to ensure a successful day. My point is to emphasize the essence of creating a team with the mutual goal of running a successful event for a client.
Only by working together and going hand in hand, we can create a really spectacular day.