Over the past decade, I have held various positions within the hospitality industry, prior to being a successful Wedding & Event Planner for Twelfth Night Events. I have been your Bartender, your Front Desk Agent, your Restaurant Manager, your Sales Coordinator, your Sales Manager, and most importantly, your Venue Planner. In my role as a Venue Planner, my responsibilities included meeting with the brides, negotiating their contracts, and planning all the details (from the venue’s perspective) for the Big Day. Sounds like just what you’ve been looking for, right? Who needs a wedding planner when you have a venue planner, right? The answer is simply: Wrong – You need both! While a Venue Planner can be extremely valuable to a bride (and even to her wedding planner), there are many reasons why your Venue Planner cannot, and should not, take the place of a Wedding Planner. This blog post will outline the difference between the two types of Planners, to ensure brides can be better prepared.
1. They are Sales People – No matter how you sugar coat it (or however fancy the job title) anyone that books meeting space for a venue has one primary objective: TO GENERATE SALES! From the first point of contact with a potential bride, they are focused on one thing – SELLING TO YOU! Booking your wedding at their venue is their only concern when you inquire about space. Most venue planners earn a pretty attractive incentive plan for new bookings, which can be a motivator to ensure their venue gets the booking. From upselling you on a wedding package, to enticing you to commit to higher guarantees, their objective is increasing the venue’s bottom line. They aren’t trying to SAVE you money like a wedding planner strives to do – they are interested in helping you SPEND money.
WEDDING PLANNERS… Make it their number one priority to ensure you save money and stick to your budget. We ensure you are on track and continuously look for ways to save you money, including: Negotiating with the venue!!
2. They are Employed by the Venue, Not the Bride – They are in place to act as the liaison between the venue’s Operations team and the client. Their primary responsibilities are ensuring that they hold up to everything they promised on their end of the contract and that the client adhere’s to the rules and regulations of the venue. Example: Doors are open, lights are on, tables are in place, food comes out on time, and that any outsourced vendors follow the (often strict) rules of the venue. They are not employed by the bride and groom to ensure the ceremony is flawless, speeches happen on time, first dances are queued, that all the vendors have all the items they contracted for (cake, decorator, rentals), personal DIY items are in place, or that your day is completely stress-free.
WEDDING PLANNERS… Work FOR the bride. We make sure the entire planning process is stress free and that you can wake up on your wedding day and enjoy every moment – and so can your bridal party/family. We manage all of the vendors and stick to a strict timeline of the day! If a vendor doesn’t show up – that’s our problem to fix… and the best part is – WE FIX IT.
3. They Aren’t Along for the Ride – If you’ve JUST booked your venue, and it has a Venue Planner, you probably think you have it pretty good right now. This amazing person (and they are) has just walked you through the first major step in planning a wedding: selecting your venue. You’ve been in contact for weeks, going back and forth on chicken vs. beef, and you feel pretty confident that this person will be helping you along the way… Unfortunately, that is not typically the case. Once your venue is booked, you won’t likely hear from the venue again until about a month before the big day…unless they are collecting deposits along the way. Venue Planners do not help with décor (outside of what they offer at a marked up price), they don’t help with invitation wording, wedding etiquette, searching for the perfect guest favour, or help with hard to manage vendors. Quite simply, they are there for all things related to the venue and won’t be available to guide you through the wedding planning process. In most cases, once you go through the initial sales process, your file is handed off to someone else in the venue (sometimes multiple people), who will be in touch a few weeks before the wedding. So what’s the problem with that? Well, first and foremost, you now have to build a rapport and relationship with a completely new person. This opens up the chances that they won’t know those intricate details you spoke about, or were promised, in the sales process and repeating your needs and fighting for what you want may cause you stress and anxiety in the final weeks.
WEDDING PLANNERS… Are there every step of the way. From countless emails, text messages, and in person meetings, we are there to make sure you get everything you’ve envisioned! We make sure all vendors are performing, payments are made, timelines are kept, budgets are on track, and most importantly: Our brides are STRESS FREE.
4. They Don’t Pick Up the Pieces – We’ve planned many events, conferences, and of course, weddings. Although every event is very different, they all typically have one thing in common: something will go wrong. No matter how well you plan, or how organized of a person you are, there is likely always something that will happen that is beyond your control. To be honest it’s usually something that is fixed quickly and easily when you have a planner on board – because we know who to call and how to fix it (before you even find out there was a problem). But, if you are that bride who just got the call that one of the vendors aren’t going to make it, you’re probably about to have a major melt down right about now. Who do you turn to, to fix it? What if the venue IS the problem?
WEDDING PLANNERS… Are there to sweep up those pieces, Swiffer the floor they broke on, and make sure everything is polished and perfect for the wedding! Meaning – we make sure we fix problems, find solutions, and take action to make sure your day is amazing. And when the venue isn’t performing, we are the ones who make sure we find a middle ground… all while you are none the wiser.
5. They Aren’t Wedding Planners – Plain and simple: they are not wedding planners. A great wedding planner is a trained specialist, educated in their field with a recognized certification under their belt. We assist with every element of the wedding planning process – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are there to help with the smallest details, the hardest decisions, and to share in the joys and tears of planning your wedding. We are passionate about your wedding day and we spend up to a year (sometimes longer) establishing a connection and a relationship with our couples. We devote our time and expertise to make sure your day is the most amazing day you could possibly imagine…. Venues just can’t offer that service.
As I mentioned above, I have worked as a Venue Planner in my career. It’s an amazing job to have and they are truly amazing people to work with (especially from a wedding planner’s perspective!). Some of my favourite venues have a dedicated planner that assist us in making the day amazing – and we couldn’t do it without them! Although they are an amazing asset for everyone involved, they truly cannot take the place of a real Wedding Planner. So, if you are in talks with your venue, and they “sell” you on their in-house planner – remember the blog you just read!