Stories from Your Wedding Friend - The Wedding Planner's Blog
Don't get me wrong, I don't actually think it's a battle between us, but many couples question: ' if my venue has a wedding co-ordinator, surely I don't need a planner too'. If couples book a venue that includes a co-ordinator, it may be true to say 'quite possibly not'. However, a venue appointed person has a limited remit, and No they are not the same as a wedding planner. And here's why…
Why's that a problem you may ask? Well it's not necessarily a problem, it's just that their focus is always, and I mean always, going to be first and foremost on the venue. There are many great co-ordinators out there (I used to be one of them!) BUT they are primarily there to make sure the venue is looked after, and yes, makes its money back on your big day.
That person is paid for by the venue on a long-term contract and doesn't want to lose their job, so they're not going to fight a 'management' decision. Many venues like to employ young enthusiastic people in these roles so they're sometimes quite inexperienced and naïve, therefore they don't know how things work elsewhere, they trust those management decisions to be the right one, not realising that it's often a question of income more than a desire to do what the couple wants.
For example, you want to do something special but the venue co-ordinator gives you lots of reasons why this can't be done - can't do it in the room you've booked, you have to use their approved supplier, they have to provide the service themselves, they don't have the staff to do it, etc. Now I'm not saying a wedding planner won't hit the same stumbling blocks, however as a wedding professional we understand all the reasons they'll come up with and can approach them from a position of knowledge, and work hard to find a compromise. It's much easier for a venue co-ordinator to say no, after all it's no big deal to them, but it might be a big deal to you.
NB Many chain-owned venues will encourage their staff to upsell things you don't need, like carpet runners, chair covers for perfectly lovely chairs, their own suppliers flowers, etc. They'll include these things in a package; whether you want them or not they're in the package, but they don't always like to make deductions on your bill for anything you want to take out. There are often reasons for these packages, outside of the appearance of making your life easier, and it often involves a financial gain for them. Their staff will be under pressure to ensure you stick to these packages but as wedding planners, we can work hard to circumvent that.
You don't want a cookie cutter wedding, the same as every other they've hosted - the 'well we usually' approach can be quite restrictive. How do they react when you want to do something a different way? Planners are used to working to a client's particular needs. We're here for you and can act as the go between for you and the venue.
If you're not confident about asking the difficult questions or worry that they're just making excuses and don't know how to approach them about it, that's what we do. Equally, sometimes a venue struggles to get across what it is they're capable of doing or why restrictions are in place. With my venues experience, I'm uniquely placed to talk to them in a way they understand and can empathise with their real problems. We can get to the heart of the problem, understand where a more flexible approach might be possible, and work on resolutions.
High-end venues especially are used to working with wedding planners. They understand the benefit of having an additional professional taking care of the things that are out of their direct control. I want more venues to understand the benefits of what I do for them and sometimes the only way I can do that is by getting involved with as many venues as possible and being introduced to them by awesome couples like you. After all I'm not tied to any particular venues, I can go anywhere you want me to go and by helping you I can prove to them that we can all work brilliantly as a team.
Both you and the venue benefit from my always being at your side physically or metaphorically; they can focus on behind the scenes venue stuff and I can make sure you're well looked after and do any announcements or running around that you need. If the venue is unable to do any set ups or room changes, I can fill in and get them done; no additional pressure on them. Or maybe your venue needs to get a discrete message to you, or you to them, yep you guessed it. Again, I act as the go-between and handle any difficulties. For some situations, us building a relationship before the big day means I can handle the decision making with no interruptions. We do this by setting the parameters of what needs to be passed by you, meaning fewer banal and unnecessary questions. Need a quick break during the day? I can make that happen and keep things rolling in the right direction. Lost a great aunty somewhere in the venue who needs to be tracked down for the photos, I'm off to find her.