Posts tagged ‘why hire a wedding planner’

January 22, 2012

Wedding Planner Vs. Onsite Coordinator

Often we get asked what the difference between an onsite coordinator/Venue Manager and a certified wedding planners is?

Your hair was loose, you needed an extra hair pin…dont worry we got some in our pockets.

This is a great question, and we love to help people understand the difference that most seem to overlook or assume otherwise. This is why we have finally decided to do a little write up to help everyone clearly get this question answered- we hope this helps you all better understand so you can properly access your needs for your special day.

Wedding Planner setting up decor, even attaching the little rhinestones to that ribbon you wanted around the cake base.

The finished product. Your wedding planner will set the cake table up piece by piece. From the base, cake, monogram &/or flower placement and candles. In some cases an excellent cake delivery person will be quite helpful.

How is a Wedding Planner’s role different from a Venue Coordinator or a Catering Manager/Coordinator?

Our roles are actually hugely different, with just some minor overlaps. As your Wedding Planner, I work alongside you on all facets of your wedding. Everything matters to me, including the way your grandmother is going to arrive to the venue, and whether your mom’s corsage will have a pin or be tied on.

Day of timeline and vendor less thing for you to worry about

On the day of the wedding, I represent you, the bride and groom, and will act on your behalves to execute the wedding the way that you envision it to be. All questions will be directed to me, and between my assistants and I, we will provide hospitality for the bridal party and families, management for the vendors, styling for the decor and details, and full control on the timing and production of your event from start the finish.

Is all in the details- dont worry we can help the groom too.

Your Venue Coordinator’s role is to ensure that the site itself is protected from harm and destruction during the event, especially as vendors are coming and going with their trucks and setup. They represent the site, and will field questions that pertain to the site itself.

This onsite manager was there to let vendors in, turn lights on, the heat on etc. He was onsite..somewhere, not always around during event.

Your Catering Manager’s role is to ensure that the food and beverages are brought out in a timely manner, that the catering staff is providing exceptional service to the guests, and to partner closely with the Wedding Planner for all setup components.

Catering Manager will work closely with wedding planner, and often check in with them to ensure proper timing


From all of us at La Vita Bella Events.

April 23, 2011

A Wedding Nightmare: Why You May Want to Hire a Professional Wedding Planner

The Stressed Out Bride

Are you on the fence about hiring a wedding planner/coordinator?  As a planner, of course, I recommend that you hire one, and do it soon.  I could go on to list the obvious pros for hiring a planner, but I’m sure you’ve already seen that list on every other major wedding site.  So, let’s take a look at things from a different point of view.  A dear friend of mine who is an on site venue coordinator, not a wedding coordinator shared a great story about a bride and groom who did not have a wedding planner.

“I am the venue on site coordinator, this means that I handle rental requests and walk clients through the process of using our facility for special events.  From this vantage point, I am responsible for having the venue ready for the client’s set-up team and then monitoring the facility during the event, not their wedding.  I don’t really have any responsibilities as a planner in these instances.

Here’s my account of a wedding that I witnessed first hand as the venue coordinator.  Guess what, the bride and groom didn’t hire a planner! They are a perfectly lovely couple.  Sweet, in love, and blissfully unaware of what happened (and didn’t happen as they wished) at their reception venue while they were at the church.  (Let me preface my story by saying it’s very hard to stand by and watch things fall apart, I like to have my ducks in a row.)


It’s a beautiful Saturday in August.  The lovely couple has planned a late afternoon ceremony and the guests are scheduled to arrive for the reception at 5:00 p.m.  I arrive at the venue at 12:30 p.m. to do a walk-through and check thermostats, turn on lights, etc.  (The venue policies allow clients to have access to the facility 4 hours prior to the event start time.)  I’m expecting vendors to begin arriving at 1:00 p.m.  The bride confirmed with me the week before that everything is all set and everyone knows when to arrive and where to deliver.

The tables and chairs are all set up but design elements like linens, floral, candles, etc. still need to be set up.  This is perfectly normal in terms of event set up and nothing seems out of place at this point.  Until I walk into the office and find a conference room full of flowers.  Hmmm.  A few questions later and I learn that the florist was told to bring the flowers over “sometime in the morning”.  Since the linens had not yet been delivered or placed, she couldn’t set up her centerpieces.  So, into the conference room they went.  Where was the florist now?  She had to go to her next delivery.  Who’s going to move all these flowers? Seems no one knows.

Disapointed Groom

Another hour goes by and we still don’t have linens on the tables.  I decide to make some calls and track down the caterer.  There’s no one else around from the family or wedding party, so it appears that no one has been given the task of checking on the reception set up.  The caterer tells me that yes they are providing the linens but had planned on bringing them at 4:00 p.m. when they arrive to set up.  Do you see the problem yet?  We now have two vendors (the florist and the caterer) that are dependent on each other who do not have an integrated timeline.  (Wedding day timelines are VERY important.  All vendors should have one a week before the wedding, and your wedding planner will do this)

I ask the caterer to send someone over with the linens early so that the flowers can be placed.  He happily agrees and it looks like things are back on track.  But, we still don’t have anyone to place the flowers.  (You can probably guess at this point how those flowers are going to make it to the tables.)  The linens arrive in a flash and since no one else is around I begin covering the tables, even though this is not my job (Yes, this would be a job for the wedding planner, or someone that she delegates to.)

Not The Emotion You Want To Be Feeling On Your Wedding Day

Red flag number three!

Red Flag, Warning!

We only have linens for the guest tables.  Another call to the caterer reveals that his contract states they only provide linens for the buffet and guest tables.  All others are the responsibility of the client.  That means that the cake table, DJ table (which proves to be a problem later), gift table, sweetheart table, and candy bar are all left bare.  Hmmm, ok well maybe the bride is sending someone over soon with specialty linens? I wouldn’t know because I was never given a wedding day timeline and there is no wedding planner to ask (Again, VERY important, people!)

Next up the cake delivery.   I point her to the cake table (still with no linen) and she looks at me expectantly with the obvious question.  At this point, I can’t stand for this and decide to go rummage through the storage closet to see if we have any linens that could do the job.  I find a somewhat respectable white linen and the cake lady and I make the best of it.  Did the florist leave any extra flowers for decorating around the cake, she asks.  Well, no.  Was she supposed to?  No one seems to know.  The cake table remains bare!

Onto the candy bar.  A friend of the bride shows up and begins unloading boxes of candy, glassware and all the fixing’s for a candy bar.  Everything but the linens, that is.  That’s right! You guessed it! She doesn’t have any linens for all those extra tables either.  She also confirms that the bride didn’t make arrangements for those tables.  What to do, what to do! ( a wedding planner would of thought of this)  Back to the storage closet I go only to find one less than perfect round linen (It’s for an oblong table not round.)  But wait, the office manager at the venue thinks she has two tablecloths in the trunk of her car left over from a previous event.  They are clean enough and our this is our only option so we grab them. (used table cloths!eeek)  Candy bar friend begins her work.

In the meantime, the DJ arrives to set up and asks for a table linen. (Seriously, this should not be this big of a problem, but clearly the communication ball was dropped.) He ends up using two round linens overlapped on an eight-foot table.  Not pretty.  Now the candy bar friend resurfaces and says, “Where do I need to put the price list for the cash bar?”  What?!  Seems the bride and groom decided to change the hosted bar to a cash bar at the last minute and they didn’t let us know.  (Don’t ever do this without consulting your venue.  Cash bars require different licensing and often that means a special occasion permit. And if you had a wedding planner they would have been able to save you enough money so you wouldn’t have to hold a cash bar, tacky). Now I’m off to confer with the bar service to confirm that we are all set with appropriate licensing.  When the bartender arrives he’s very frazzled and moving a lightning speed.  No one else seems to notice that he could have a problem so I step in to see how I can help (not my job).  I lend a hand and chat away only to find out that the original person scheduled for this evening backed out an hour ago and he was called in at the last minute.  He has exactly 30 minutes to unload supplies, prep the bar and get his act together (a wedding planner would have been handy here)

Timing Is Everything

At this point, I realize that the bride and groom miscalculated on the travel time between the church and the reception venue.  I feel obligated to tell the vendors (like caterer, bar service, DJ) that I believe the guests will be arriving about 20 minutes earlier than anticipated.  What’s the big deal? A lot of last minute preparations typically happen at the reception venue within those last 20 minutes.  Think candle lighting, bar set up, catering prep.  Everyone takes note and scrambles to adjust their timing.  Without the heads-up from me (should have been the wedding planner), the wedding guests would have arrived on a scene of vendors rushing around to complete their set-up.  Not something you want as a first impression for your party.

So right on cue everyone arrives and the party begins.  Have I mentioned the importance of a timeline?  Throughout the evening, the DJ should keep the festivities rolling by announcing important moments such as the arrival of the bride and groom, the toast, the cutting of the cake, the first dance.  Not at this wedding.  He didn’t have a timeline!  So, the bride herself had to keep giving him cues for announcements.  It should be the other way around (poor bride).


Did the guests have fun? Absolutely!  Were the bride and groom blissfully married? Yes.  But, it could have been so much better with the help of a good planner.  The venue coordinator is not really responsible for styling your event or coordinating your vendors (unless they are contracted to do so).   Why were so many things overlooked?  I believe the bride and groom just didn’t know about all the details that needed attention.  They didn’t know to ask about linens when meeting with the caterer.  They didn’t know that the vendors should have been scheduled for deliveries in a specific order.  They just didn’t realize.  They weren’t available during set-up (for obvious reasons) to point people in the right direction and to double check the deliveries.”

Here’s my disclaimer – yes in a RARE instance, you can plan your own wedding and handle the day-of details with the help of some good friends and family.  Is it as easy as it should be? No, there is plenty of stuff that you will not think of that a wedding planner will.

Now, it’s up to you to decide.  How would you like to spend your wedding day?

Bride Having Fun On Her Wedding Day