A Venue Coordinator and a Wedding Planner: The Difference
Recently a potential bride with whom I felt that I clicked with emailed me to say basically: "thanks for your follow up, but we booked Venue X and they provide a wedding coordinator and so I don't need your services." I was sad for her because I really liked her and she has no way to know that the wedding coordinator promised to her is a venue coordinator, not a wedding coordinator. I'd like to explain the difference between the two.
A venue coordinator works for that venue. That is where their loyalties lie, and that is not a bad thing or a good thing, it just is. Their job is to sell the venue to brides, give out a list of preferred vendors, answer questions about the venue, assist with room layout and tasting, and make sure that your wedding follows the rules and regulations of the space. They may or may not help with the master Timeline of the wedding day and rarely do they help decorate or design for your reception. They do know what works and what doesn't in a space, so trust them if they say "that won't work!". Depending on how large the venue is, they may have four or more weddings they are juggling that weekend. On your wedding day, they may not even be the person you have been talking to all of these months, as it is a very challenging job and some venues tend to have high turnover.
Don't get me wrong, a venue coordinator's job is very, VERY important, but they are not your wedding coordinator. Neither is your DJ, a photographer, or florist. Yes, they all coordinate things that directly relate to them (a photographer will help with the Timeline as that affects pictures, etc), but they are not orchestrating every single detail of the event like an independent coordinator will.
As an independent wedding coordinator, our loyalty is to you, our client. Not your parents, photographer, videographer, DJ, florist or venue. An independent coordinator's job is to assess what level of service you need and to go above and beyond that. And to do it in a timely manner, with patience, and with a smile. Whether hired for "month of" coordination or full production, an independent coordinator will become the adviser and orchestrator of the entire production and how all of the vendors tie in together, as well as all of the millions of details that need to be dealt with. And this is just the logistical stuff. Then we have the emotions that come into play during the planning of a wedding. I'm not kidding when I say that half of what I do as a wedding coordinator is to act as a good old-fashioned shoulder to cry on! An independent coordinator will help you with wording of your invitations, encourage you to let your personality shine through, debate the pros and cons of the shades of Bashful vs. Blush roses, give you advice on sticky budget questions, advise you how to seat your divorced parents during the ceremony, remind you to hold your bouquet low as you walk down the aisle, and hug you goodnight at the end of the day.
A venue coordinator and an independent wedding coordinator are both extremely important as they each have a specific job that they are good at doing. A wedding with strong coordinators working hand in hand usually provides a seamless and stress free wedding day for all involved!