At Natalia’s Event Planning, we know how important your wedding day and planning process is to you and your fiancé, and we’re thrilled that you’re investing the time to better understand the venues and vendors available to you.
In this blog post, we will equip you with a clear understanding of the differences between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator and why having both on your team is a critical decision in the success of your event!
So, let’s starts at the top!
BOOKING PRIORITY VENDORS
Venues and Event Planners are often booked simultaneously. Many of our Full-Service Planning clients book with us before selecting their venue. This is because, a big part of our role in that service level is to help you source all your priority vendors – including your venue! Priority vendors include the services you book first: Wedding Planner, Venue(s), Catering & Bar, Photography and Florals – with the venue being first on our list as their availability determines you event date!
When considering a venue, it’s safe to say that it’s not a one-size-fits-all shopping experience! Some venues identify as “full-service”, others are “a la carte”, and of course there are those that fall somewhere in-between. To add to the uncertainty, each venue may define these terms differently or sell their services in a way that might blur the lines between the role of the venue and the role of the other creative partners on your team. This is where your wedding planner can provide industry insight based on their past experiences and established working relationships with the venues you are considering.
Although it may appear at the time of booking that the lines between a venue and professional wedding planner are blurred, we are confident that once you’ve secured your team of partners, you will be able to quickly identify how we serve similar but different values to the needs of your event planning project.
In the meantime, find peace in knowing that we all share a common goal and that is to exceed your wedding day expectations and to create a beautiful and memorable event of a lifetime!
FULL-SERVICE VENUES VS. A LA CARTE VENUES
Just calling it like we see it, full-service venues offer a higher quality of service than their a la carte competitors. The details a full-service venue sells upon are not intended to compete with event planners, but rather emphasize what they are providing to their clients that an a la carte venue does not.
For example, at a full-service venue, catering is in-house and sales team and event day staff are equipped to serve their clients far differently than a “turn key” venue where the client is permitted to hire a third party caterer and bartending team. In addition to being present on the day of your event, your point of contact at a full-service venue is responsible for the venue’s sales and will manage your catering and rental orders under one invoice.
You may be familiar with this business structure with some of our favorite venues in Cincinnati. For example, The Transept offers in-house catering through their parent company, Funky’s Catering and they have a preferred vendor relationship with the rental company, All Occasions. Another Example would include our friends at The Manor House Event Center – they too offer in-house catering and manage your banquet order using rentals from Prime Time Party and Event Rental.
This level of service is streamlined, it’s well-managed, and it comes with a 22% service charge applied to the bottom line of your banquet order. Although the service charge appears to be steep, it is often justified. The venue will maintain an event timeline for their events and a member of their team will be assigned to your wedding as your event date approaches – this person is often titled as an “event coordinator” or “hostess” and meets you at the venue the weekend of your event to coordinate the event details and to help your event day run smoothly.
So accommodating am I right?
THE VALUE OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PLANNER
With that said, there are so many parts of the wedding planning project a venue manager simply does not have to capacity to serve their couples and that is where your wedding planner brings your event to a luxurious standard of excellence!
We would love to share the value of hiring a wedding planner with you in person, but in the meantime, we are confident that our bullet-point approach below will effectively inform our readers on the role of a professional wedding planner and why our services are unique to any other vendor on the wedding planning project.
So, without further ado(!), as your professional wedding planners at Natalia’s Event Planning, we:
- Provide you a customized cloud-based event planning project. Aisle Planner, our event management system at Natalia’s Event Planning, is tailored to the unique needs of your event.
- Lead wedding planning milestones all throughout the planning project time. These milestone meetings are held at the Planning Kick Off Meeting, 12-month milestone, 9-month, and 6-month milestone, 90-day, 60-day, and 30-day milestones, 2-week milestone, and week-of milestone. Phew! Believe us when we say we are fully invested in the success of your event!
- Manage your event budget and maintain your project with all vendor agreements, invoices, order changes, contact information, deposits paid, and balances due.
- Manage your event checklist – holding all project members accountable with tasks pertaining to personal duties and tasks related to each hired vendor.
- Manage your event timeline and consult you on big decisions that impact your day and the guest experience at large. We also coordinate each final vendor meeting and email to ensure that all vendor expectations are aligned, and we send the final timeline to all event partners the week of the event.
- Manage your event floor plan and design and help you to source your unique decor needs from multiple big box rental companies, small box rental companies, stationery designers, floral designers and more – we coordinate appointments to the rentals showrooms and accompany you to every design meeting with each creative partner and send the final event floor plan to all event partners the week of the event.
- Assist you in the management of your guest list and event stationery. This includes refining your guest list, helping you to create your save the dates, invitation suites, wedding website, seating assignments, meal selection cards, seating chart, menus, and event signage. For example, we specifically organize your meal selections cards in order by table number in the order you want the guests seated around the table and then place those cards at each place setting on the day of the wedding!
- Lead final vendor calls and emails with all partners on the project. We gather your availability in advance and coordinate calls with the following vendors: Venue(s), Officiant, Emcee or Band, String Music, Photography, Cinematography and Florals. And we send emails confirming order details with the following vendors: Stationery, Cake, Big Box Rentals, Boutique Rentals, Hair, Makeup, Transportation, and Lodging. Another Phew! By this time in the project time, we are talking with you more than your best friends!
- We facilitate the ceremony rehearsal and work with you, your officiant, and your ceremony venue2 weeks before the night of the rehearsal to organize your family and friends in their processional and recessional orders. This way, your officiant and venue can focus on the ceremony logistics, and we do what we do best and help to manage the people!
In addition to all these services leading up your wedding day, your professional wedding planner also serves you on the day of the wedding like no other vendor can! Specifically at Natalia’s Event Planning, we:
- Greet you at your getting ready location (like your home or hotel!) and are available to help steam your dresses, provide you a missing toiletry, deliver your hotel welcome bags, or just offer you a cup of joe!
- Accept all vendor calls, texts, and emails on the day of the event so that you can sit back and relax without worrying about a thing. If the linens arrived incorrectly (or didn’t arrive at all!) for example, you’d never bat a lash!
- Place all personal decor at their designated tables around the venue and assemble your decor and rentals including but not limited to: Your tables, chairs, linens, napkins, chargers, flatware, glassware, China, centerpieces, and stationery!
- Facilitate your first look to ensure you’re both dressed, ready, and properly placed at the time of this most anticipated moment!
- Facilitate your portraits before and after the ceremony which is especially helpful with big families – your photographer can stay behind the lens, and we can do what we do best and help to manage the people!
- Tip out your vendors at night-end and ensure your cards and gifts are properly secured and stowed.
After our time at the event comes to a close, we hug you and your families goodbye and see that any final details are accounted for. Sometimes that looks like taking you a garment bag left behind in the bridal suite, and other times it looks like returning vases to the florist, or a cake stand to the baker!
But goodbyes at Natalia’s Event Planning are more like “see you laters”, because upon your return from honeymoon travels, we hold our “wedding planning debrief meeting” and reflect on the successes of a beautifully planned and managed wedding day!
It’s our way of bringing the project to an official close. After all this time together, we get to know you like close friends and it only feels natural to sign off on our working relationship with a celebratory close.
We know this post has quite the word count, but hope you found our insight helpful and informative!
Thank you for allowing us to detail our scope of services in this way. After reading this post, you now understand the differences between the role of a professional wedding planner and the role of a full-service venue manager. And although there is some overlap between the two, you can see how this allows us to be an even greater team serving the same goal: ensuring our couples have a beautiful and memorable wedding day!