Wedding Producer Vs. Venue-Enforced Planner

Recently, I sat down with a couple, to talk about all of the details of their wedding day. As an Entertainer, who also frequently handles Production and Direction, I always try to be sure that everyone involved in the wedding day, is completely clear on who is doing/responsible for, which specific tasks. As I started going through some questions, I noticed a few things I had asked them - they were not clear on, and could not tell me for sure who was responsible for, and openly/clearly agreed to doing many of the usual (and often seen as important) tasks - for their big day.

Questions such as:

“Who should we ask to take care of that?” “Who should we direct them to?” “How do we make sure that happens?”

After several more uncertain and puzzling looks from the couple, I asked “Have you hired someone to formally work with you as your wedding Producer, and on the day-of, as your Director?
To which they replied, “Well, the venue has someone on staff and and they are supposed to be doing some stuff… I think they are doing (this and that)”.

They looked at each other quietly, and then the bride turned to me sheepishly and said:
“Well, they’ve been very vague, and unclear so far. For example, when we asked if this someone - who would be performing (yet unknown) directorial services - would be lining our wedding party up and standing right there to cue them during the ceremony processional, they never gave us a straight answer. So, we basically stopped asking them to do anything.”

I estimate, out of the 30-40 weddings I Produce, Direct, and Entertain per year, there are about 25 of them who say that the venue has “someone” on staff, who will do “something” for them in an assumed directorial capacity. Out of that 25, I would say no more than 2 or 3 of the cases - are they able to confidently tell me who will physically be there on the day, what their contact information is, or, what specifically they are obligated to do (as should be clearly indicated in the contract with the venue).
After that, I began to explain the difference between using a venue’s “inclusive” coordinator versus a functionally, all inclusive Wedding Producer and Director that you contract with to provide definite and clearly stated tasks. It’s a conversation I’ve had with several couples, usually at the beginning of wedding planning, so they can hopefully avoid this type of situation. I thought I'd also share this knowledge with everyone, because I think it’s important to understand the difference.

 

Venue coordinators do not technically coordinate weddings

What they do fabulously is manage the venue, keep the kitchen operating at full capacity, and prevent any rule breaking. And, if you’re lucky, they might also help with overall setup and decor. What they generally don’t do is answer all the miscellaneous questions that pop up throughout the day.

  • What time will the makeup artist arrive?
  • When and where will the flowers be delivered?
  • Who will arrange the table settings?
  • Who will line everyone up and cue them, for our processional? What about the recessional?
  • Where should the families go for formal pictures? And what time should they arrive?
  • What time should the MC announce dinner after the cocktail hour?
  • Who will line up my wedding party according to the paperwork I have submitted to my planner, in order to do our Wedding Party Grand Intro into the reception?
  • Who’s going to release tables for dinner? Are there any fun activities to use in order to do this?
  • Who should sit where?
  • Who’s going to cut the cake after the bride and groom take the first slice?
  • When should the Entertainer open the dance floor?
  • Who will stay in contact with us throughout the entire reception, concerning what formality is next, and which remain, ie - toasts (who will find them and get them into position to speak); when is my dance with my dad/ his with his mom; etc..
  • Who will gather our guests for our sparkler send off?
I can tell you right now that a Wedding Director you hire — one that is not contracted through your venue — can and should answer all these questions for you and then some. Why?… 

Because that Director works for you, not for the venue

Their obligation is to you and no one else. They are on your team and not the venue’s team. And while they will respect the rules and regulations your venue has put in place (because they will review your contract with the venue beforehand ((if they don’t have a clear contract, please get out of there and don’t sign anything)), as that is part of their job in taking care of you), they will also do whatever they possibly can to execute your day, according to how you dreamed. 
You don’t have to take my word for it, and of course, as in all things, there are exceptions to every rule. But it is my personal experience that venue coordinators are not really Producers or Directors. They’re event managers, and they’re great at managing! But weddings are unpredictable, fast-paced, chaotic events, and like all my couples, each one is unique and comes with special quirks. So if you can hire someone who knows exactly what you want and isn’t afraid to take on an array of uniquely chosen tasks, isn’t that person exactly who you want to direct your day?


Do your research

If you’re in the beginning stages of planning your wedding, don’t assume every service your venue suggests to you is the best for you — whether it’s a service they offer or something on their “preferred vendors” list. Ask your married friends about their wedding experience, and if they would do anything differently.
And talk to your photographer! They’re loaded with experience, knowledge, and can tip you off to some of their favorite wedding professionals, ones they know who provide quality service and take excellent care of their clients.

In the end, throwing a wedding requires teamwork

If there is anyone involved in the planning, or service providing for your big day, who has a problem with communicating with, or collaborating with other vendors, it may be a big warning sign, to not hire that person - or at least, not rely on them to do more than what specifically they have clearly committed to do, as spelled out in your contract.
So build your team — one that is truly enthusiastic about every part of who you are and what you’re hoping to experience at your wedding. Begin your marriage journey by surrounding yourself with all those who love and affirm this incredible decision you’re making, including all the people you’ve hired to be there. Because they could turn out to be good friends, too.
 Visit our website to learn more about how our company will make your big day, as awesome as your vision for it:  https://www.CEWP.Wedding

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