on the day coordinator

If you have a Coordinator at your Venue you may be asking yourself the question; do I need an On the Day Coordinator?  Today we are going to bust the myth that if you have a Venue Coordinator, you don’t need an On the Day Coordinator. In fact, a least half of our weddings are weddings within Venues which also have a Venue Coordinator.  Now you might wonder if two Coordinators is better than one or rather, a recipe for disaster. The truth is, we love working with professional Venue Coordinators and they love working with us too! Behind the scenes of every wedding is a team of vendors and if you have good vendors, you will have a team whose mission is to ensure you have a great wedding day and that goes for your Venue Coordinator and On the Day Coordinator as well.

Why you may not need an On The Day Coordinator

Before we get into why you might need an On the Day Coordinator when you also have a Venue Coordinator, let me clarify the point that this may not be the case for every wedding.  There are some Venues that offer a broad service that will cater to the needs of your wedding without the need for an On the Day Coordinator. We always recommend that a couple clarifies exactly what the Venue does and does not do, before finalising their booking with us. And if you have a friend or family member who has put up their hand to be your On The Day Coordinator, you may not need to hire a professional at all.  If you feel that you don’t need a professional helping you on the day, checkout our DIY On The Day Coordination service instead.

Do I need an On the Day Coordinator?

Here’s the thing; a Venue Coordinator handles a lot of detail on your wedding day, but within a certain scope.  They are there to look after the interests of the Venue. Yes you will liaise with them about timings, set up and food and beverage, but there are many details of your day that they will not help you with.  If it doesn’t relate to the Venue, it won’t fall under their scope. They also may not be there on the actual day and if they are, they will probably leave when meal service starts (this is when the Functions Manager/Banquet Manager takes over).  They (or the set up team) may assist with some set-up, but generally this is limited to the basics (setting the tables). If you have a detailed styling plan to execute, they may let you know that they you need to organise someone else to assist with this.  In our experience this can extend to not setting up or styling your Gift Table, Lolly Bar, Photo Station and even putting place-cards and centre-pieces on the table, or setting up signage. It really does depend on the venue.

A Venue Coordinator will often help to Coordinate your Ceremony, but if your Ceremony is at another location, they will not be involved with this.  If your Ceremony is at the same venue the Venue Coordinator will generally oversee set-up of the Ceremony and ensure guests are where they need to be and that you get down the aisle.  

Apart from confirming access times, requirements and restrictions, your Venue Coordinator does not liaise with your Vendors or Coordinate them.  Whereas this is something that your On the Day Coordinator will do prior to your wedding day and on the day itself.

So what else does an On The Day Coordinator do that a Venue Coordinator does not?

Your On the Day Coordinator is your ‘advocate’, eyes and ears and extra set of hands throughout the day and into the night.  You will meet with them prior to the day and they will take the time to review your wedding and highlight any areas that need attention or may not work. Some offer support with your planning in the months leading up to your big day. 

The types of things your On the Day Coordinator does on wedding day varies for each couple and each wedding.  Generally though the On the Day Coordinator will assist with any of the setting up and styling not done by the Venue and your other Vendors, such as your florist.  They will liaise with all of your Vendors in the lead up to the day and ensure the logistics of their bump in and bump out works with your needs and that of the venue.  And they will be on site to make sure that everything is being set up in accordance with your Styling Plan.   Your On the Day Coordinator will also put together a full Runsheet for the day; one that takes in everything that will happen from the moment you wake up until you say goodbye at the end of the night.  They will be by your side throughout the day, guiding proceedings such as family photos, your arrival at the Reception, speeches, cake cutting, your first dance, bouquet toss etc etc.  

Whilst your Venue Coordinator will do their best to ensure you are happy, relaxed and comfortable during the day, it’s likely to be your On the Day Coordinator taking care of things such as;

  • ensuring guests sign the guest book
  • the cake knife you have especially chosen is on the cake table and then safely put away with your things at the end of the night
  • that the bathroom is clear when you want to use it
  • the Emcee is on track with their duties
  • that anyone delivering speeches, along with your photographer and videographer, know where to be when, etc, etc.

Finally one of the key differences between the two professionals is that your On the Day Coordinator is hired by you. You hand select them and you pay them to work with you and your relationship develops accordingly.  Venue Coordinators are hired by the Venue and even though there are wonderful Venue Coordinators who care deeply about their clients, they are ultimately responsible to the Venue first and foremost. And there is no guarantee that the first Venue Coordinator you meet will be the one you work with on your Wedding Day.

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Before you decide

If you are weighing up whether you need both a Venue Coordinator and On the Day Coordinator we recommend you do the following things:
  1. Confirm with your Venue what they do and don’t do when it comes to setting up your Wedding and liaising with other professionals.
  2. Ask them what time they start working with you on the day and what time they finish.
  3. Confirm times for bump in and bump out for all Vendors – a short bump in time almost always require some additional professional help to ensure everything is set up on time for you.
  4. Share this information with the On the Day Coordinator you are considering and find out from them what they recommend in terms of services that may assist you to bridge the gap between what your venue does and what you need.
  5. Keep your priorities for your day in mind at all times. Whilst there are things that you may be able to do yourselves, that your Venue Coordinator does not, if your priority is for you and your friends and family to enjoy your wedding without the stress of setting it up and making sure everything runs smoothly and on time, consider the services of an On the Day Coordinator.

Bonus

To help you choose the perfect On The Day Coordinator for your wedding, we have put together a list of questions to ask any professional you are considering.  We have also included our own answers the questions to help you get to know us better.

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