I feel like there is a bad rap between wedding planners and venue coordinators. Like we are destined to not get along. I don’t think that is accurate at all because some of my favourite venues are because of the venue coordinators. Having an amazing and open-minded venue coordinator makes my job a million times easier. Having a wedding planner help with the logistics leading up to a wedding takes the stress of timelines and details away from a venue coordinator. Working together makes everyone’s lives easier.
As a planner, I know how this special relationship may have its challenges, as we are both doing our very best to please our clients and keep things running smoothly. We both see wedding days from different perspectives, and we both have questions on how the other works and what the other needs. However, working together can be so easy and fun, when we respect each other, consider where the other is coming from and always thinking about the client first.
Here are a few tips I find that makes working with venue coordinators that much easier and so much better:
Be open-minded. It’s possible that venue coordinators don’t work with a lot of planners or have had some less than excellent experiences in the past. Walk-in with an open mind and be respectful of their role. They will still manage their team set up and day-of responsibilities, so do not overstep your boundaries, leading me to my next tip.
Be clear with expectations. A quick phone call, meeting or email, laying out what you will be doing that day, can go a long way. I find clearly stating what décor I will be responsible for, for example, helps settle any uncertainties a venue coordinator might have with an outside planner. You do not have to be rude or pushy. You just need to ask what they cover, layout what you typically do on a wedding day and see where you might overlap or where there may be gaps.
Be clear with the role each will play. Sharing your timeline and day of documents ahead of time will also help set the boundaries of what your role is for your clients. It also shows how you will be working with a venue coordinator and their team when onsite. I know this seems like a given, but it might not always happen. Sometimes this does involve taking a backseat and letting a venue coordinator take the lead. With so many of us being Type A (borderline control freaks), this is the hardest part to do and where we can find ourselves getting into trouble. Knowing who is doing what and when will help make the day run smoothly and keep everyone happy.
Don’t pretend to know it all. I have yet to know everything there is about a wedding and I don’t pretend to walk into a venue, even if I have worked there a million times, and think I know better than the staff. From year to year, double-checking policies and procedures, or coordinator to the coordinator if there has been a change, is always a great way to start a season. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. A venue coordinator has the job for a reason. If you are struggling with something for a client’s wedding day, ask them. Two heads are better than one. Sometimes a meeting without the clients will help you both talk out a potential problem and solve it without your clients being none the wiser.
Be kind. Our jobs are hard and stressful enough. Each person is trying their best to make a wedding day as perfect as possible for the client. Be each other’s cheerleaders. Offer help. Be kind and cheerful with all the staff. Smile and have fun with them as with your clients and guests. Make working together something you both enjoy. It will build a better working relationship and likely land both of you more referrals.
Say thank you. Sending a thank you email, or better yet, an actual card following a wedding season can do so much for your relationship with a venue coordinator. Acknowledging their efforts can help you in the long run. So many of us do our jobs with little thanks and a vendor to vendor thank you can sometimes mean more than anything.
This is simply how I approach working with venue coordinators. As a wedding planner, I think part of my role is to help make every vendor’s day run smoothly, not just my clients. I want everyone included in the day in any way to be relaxed and having fun. This, to me, translates to the best wedding days. I want to go to work and have fun. Teaming up with a great venue coordinator is the start of that. Over time I have had more referrals from venues directly because it is so important to build that relationship.
Mallory Lauder, WPICC is a Niagara based wedding planner focused on bringing joy to her clients during their planning process. After years in corporate marketing and event planning, Mallory started Lasting Events and launched herself into the world of weddings. Six years later, working with clients full time, she focuses on making the process fun and stress-free for everyone involved. Lasting Events has been featured on Glamour and Grace, Wedluxe and Vineyard Bride. You can find more of her work on Instagram at @lasting_events_mallory