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Venue Coordinator vs Wedding Coordinator

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions to #askeventcaitlin this past month! We’re excited to dive into a great wedding-related question today – “What is the difference between an onsite coordinator and what you do? #askeventcaitlin” Or another way I’ve heard it – “If my venue has an onsite coordinator, do I still need to hire an outside wedding coordinator?”

Caitlin: I definitely think there is a difference between the two and there’s a value behind an outside coordinator that often is missed. Let’s break this down –

Onsite/Venue Coordinators: Hired by the venue primarily for three reasons – to protect the venue property, to facilitate sales and experience so that no couple feels clueless or helpless, and as a selling point since you get a coordinator assigned to you with your reservation of the venue.

“Outside” Wedding Consultant or Coordinator: Booked by the couple directly primarily for 3-4 reasons – to protect the couple’s interests/desires on the wedding day (alleviating stress, being the bride’s eyes and ears that day), to work with vendors and ensure a “team” environment, to ensure guests are having a good time, and sometimes as an extra pair of hands (setting up escort cards, the guestbook, etc).

Do you need an outside wedding coordinator if you have an onsite coordinator? Well, no, but technically I would argue no one needs a wedding coordinator – anyone can get married and have a wedding. Hiring a wedding coordinator is all about the experience you want to have on your wedding day. In the years that I’ve been in the industry, I find that an outside coordinator like myself is much more dedicated to the bride and groom’s enjoyment of the day and more aware of the big picture. Obviously, there are tremendous onsite coordinators who go above and beyond, and there are also terrible outside wedding coordinators. But in general, an onsite coordinator will not be helpful in many of these situations:

– Setting up all those unique “extras” you got for your wedding – the signs, the favors, escort cards, programs, decor

– Mitigating mom and stepmom issues, or any other family drama that tends to come up at weddings

– Solving vendor problems – typically, an onsite coordinator is focused on their venue/their catering only, not what songs the DJ is or is not supposed to play

– Need an extra 5 mins before the Grand Entrance because you’ve been crying? An onsite coordinator often won’t be around, whereas your wedding coordinator will take you to the bathroom, have backup mascara on hand, and bring you a glass of champagne.

– Cleaning up and taking back to your room or your parents’ car all of your stuff, gifts, and perhaps some leftover food and cake to munch on later!

I could go on! I did promise to keep these “Ask Caitlin” posts relatively short, though, so I won’t! If you want to hear more or talk more about this question thread, please do contact me and I’d be happy to discuss! For now, I’ll just close with the answer yes, there is a difference between the two and so your decision about whether you still “need” an outside coordinator if you have a venue coordinator needs to be seen just as a separate question – do you need or want a wedding coordinator?

“Ask Caitlin” will be posted at least once a month, but if I get swarms of questions, it could be more often than that. Submit your questions (anything about weddings or events – or even only somewhat related) via Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #askeventcaitlin, and you’ll be famous as I answer your question on my next blog post. If it’s something I don’t know, I’ll find a vendor professional who does!

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