A feature blog from the Equality Network of Australia and LUXE – Unforgettable Events
Q/ Why should couples pay more attention to their selection of the perfect wedding ceremony and reception venues?
A/ To ensure that the venues, suppliers and vendors party to the delivery of your vision on your wedding day is a coordinated, cohesive and collaborative process from the start of the day – to the finish.
There is no denying that every wedding is beautiful in its own unique way.
It may be a small intimate wedding with just a few of your best friends, a traditional wedding, a same-sex wedding or a cultural wedding; no matter your choice and your vision for your day they all are or should be equally romantic in their own unique way which is due to the love story that is your journey to the wedding day and beyond.
Every industry professional and (couple who have already wed) would agree that no matter how great weddings are – they are certainly a lot of work and can be enormously draining emotionally and financially without the appropriate professional guidance to assist along the way.
Couples try their best to give everything to the biggest day of their lives – after all, this date shall be etched in your minds forever so the planning process benefits emotionally and financially from the assistance of an experienced wedding planner and wedding stylist too from:
- The start of the wedding planning journey for a full wedding planning service partnership
- An on the day coordination, (or a combination these two) or
- At the very least a lets get you started – the right way consultation which is available to you by an hourly rate across getting started briefings, check in during the planning process and roundup before the big day
There are many aspects and elements to each wedding that requires serious consideration and attention in context of your vision and budget specifically selections of:
- Vendors and
- Wedding Services (all part of the logistics of the planning and prep process) plus the critical
- Wedding Venue and
- Reception Venue
Be it something as seemingly simple as the transportation arrangements (which includes the on the day coordination across all venue sites) from the:
- Ceremony through to the
- Photography locations and then on to the reception venue – deciding on a wedding planner is a practical first step particularly when deciding on something as complicated and expensive as the selection of the venues for both the ceremony and the reception
The wedding venue plus food and beverages is a significant budget allocation and the level of detail and thought during the wedding planning process is rarely considered in depth as to what is required by the couple on their wedding celebration day across all of the requirements specific to your day.
Many venues have blanket policies as to:
- Access for external supplier bumpin plus bumpout
- Restrictions on ceiling installations and
- Additional lighting (internally and externally)
- Setup time frames, which requires careful logistic evaluation for prep time on the day to avoid costly and disappointing booking mistakes
If the venue has a Venue Coordinator then why do I need a Wedding Planner and or an On the Day Coordinator when I have a “Venue Coordinator”?
This is an excellent question that all couples should examine before selecting their wedding ceremony and reception venues – and worth an overview to qualify what Weddings Planners and On the Day Coordinators can do for you vs. what the Venue Coordinator will actually do – what’s the difference as this is often overlooked question by couples when embarking on the wedding planning labyrinth and usually only asked well after the planning, contract, deposits and progress payment schedules have been agreed which can be an issue as to the delivery of the vision on the day if not factored from the very start of the planning process.
The critical roles of a Wedding Planning Service and a Venue Coordinator are distinct from each other.
The Wedding Planner provides a professional service to you and your partner (usually from the commencement of your wedding planning journey) and assists you with the introduction to Venues, Suppliers and Vendors who will form the team that your Wedding Planner will coordinate for you to deliver your unforgettable day. He or she works for you and your partner from the start of your planning process through to the farewells on your wedding day. The Venue Coordinator works for the Venue exclusively.
What confuses most couples is that the Venue Coordinator is specifically there for the VENUE – not you and your partner’s complete journey.
This is not a criticism – merely a fact. If the Venue Coordinator informs you they can handle “all things” on the day of your wedding it’s true – they can and will but only as it relates to the Venue’s contractual components and not any external elements which is often the bulk of the coordination on the day issues.
A Venue Coordinator is looking out for the best interest of the Venue – that is his or her role.
A Wedding Planner and On the Day Coordinator is there across the planning, the day’s prep, the ceremony and reception timeline – pace and flow in your best interest.
The Venue Coordinator deals with everything having to do with the venue – food and beverage, basic setup, etc. but will have no engagement with any external suppliers or vendors and will not coordinate the timing of a scheduled bumpin and setup for you either which is a time sensitive logistic on the day to avoid congestion at loading docks, elevators and the bumpin and out at the ceremony/reception spaces themselves too.
Timing is everything on a wedding day so that you do not have wedding flowers delivered too early and the wedding cake sitting on a loading dock hours before the reception commences (not great for either on very hot spring and summer wedding days).
Often the venue will not inform you of the access time for all external suppliers and vendors until a week before your big day which is way too late in the booking and coordination’s process as this is a skilled logistic management issue and often the external supplier and vendors will have more than just your wedding on the day so they need to be able to plan well ahead of the day too across staff, transport and bumpin and bumpout scheduling.
Last minute changes are often costly and have negative dynamic impacts on the whole of day delivery, which could mostly be avoided if the right questions are asked to ensure the appropriate fit for the day across the whole day before you book your ceremony and reception venues.
If your budget does not allow for a Wedding Planner to partner with you from the start then an On the Day Wedding Coordinator can be a viable alternative who will work with (all established elements in contracts) including the venue setup to your floor plan and seating arrangements, installations, musicians placement and sound checks etc., and will make sure everything is to your specifications that you have committed to across all suppliers and vendors but if the right questions were not asked before booking your venue then the On the Day Coordinator can only do so much to manage any last minute changes that may need to be made as they do not partner with you until approx. three weeks prior to the day so 99% of all external suppliers and vendors contracts are already locked in so be mindful that all who will be party to the delivery of the day needs to be factored right from the start to avoid last minute costly contractual variations and importantly – disappointment on the day .
If your ceremony is at a different location than that of the reception venue (which is common), your On the Day Wedding Coordinator will be there with you to ensure everything goes according to the timeline that you have agreed and as you wish it to be across all the supplier elements including hair and makeup, photographer and videographer, transport and your wedding party too plus the time consuming supplier bumpin and setups across the ceremony and reception spaces also.
A Venue Coordinator will not be at the offsite prep locations or ceremony and will have had no involvement in the critical supplier coordination process before and on the day.
If the ceremony is at the reception venue, then and only then will the Venue Coordinator be there to help with the coordination of the ceremony but not usually any third party suppliers or vendors that has not been facilitated through the Venue e.g.:
- Hair and Makeup
- Musicians (ceremony and reception)
- Transport and Parking
- Photo Booth
- Prop, Furniture and Décor Hire for ceremony and reception spaces
- External catering suppliers across champagne and canapé services post ceremony
- The Wet Weather Plan – *wwp (always confirm in contract if the *wwp site is an additional cost to that of your agreed contract cost schedule)
- OH&S issues across the ceremony and reception spaces and
- The plethora of other elements that may make up your day
Your Wedding Planner and or the On the Day Wedding Coordinator are with you throughout the day and the reception too if you so choose in contract – also confirm in contract exactly what is agreed in the service contract with your wedding planning service as the service provisions from one company to another can and do vary greatly in services, delivery of the day and performance agreements.
The Wedding Planning Service will brief the Celebrant, Suppliers, Vendors, Venue personnel and *MC as to tone, pace and flow and will ensure the agreed timeline across bump in, setup, delivery and bump out runs according to your wishes for your day and are there to ensure the agreed timeline stays on track and makes sure every element that should occur will occur throughout the ceremony and reception appropriately so that you and your partner can have the unforgettable day and night of your life without having to stress over the coordination elements.
The Wedding Planner and or an On the Day Wedding Coordinator is usually the last person to leave the Venue – long after the last guest has departed to ensure that the third party supplier pack down goes off without a hitch and to make sure that no gifts or personal belongings etc. have been left behind – it happens.
The Venue Coordinator usually only remains at the venue site until the main meal is served then leaves and hands over to the venue personnel supervisor – some may stay until the cake is cut and served but this varies greatly from Venue to Venue.
Always confirm in your Venue *contract the specifics of exactly what your ‘Venue Coordinator’ has guaranteed will happen for you and exactly what ‘services’ will be performed by the Venue Coordinator on the day – this way there is no room for misunderstanding or disappointment as it is not uncommon for the Venue Coordinator (on the actual day) to be a different person than the one you have been dealing with through the booking and function development phases.
Although the Venue Coordinator is there for you to make sure that the Venue functions and venue elements are to your satisfaction, he or she is not likely to be involved if:
- A crisis occurs with your wedding day attire
- Uncle Johnny has had too much cheer before the speeches or
- When it comes time to pack up the gifts or the wishing well ensuring all valuables are secured for transport by a trusted family member, friend or wedding party attendant – that’s the wedding planners role or it can be outsourced (before the day) if needs be too
The Wedding Planner and On the Day Wedding Coordinator contacts the Venue, your suppliers and vendors before your wedding to make sure everything is confirmed as per contract specifications.
All will know exactly how they fit into the timeline that will be distributed by your Wedding Planner/On the Day Wedding Coordinator a few weeks or so prior to the big day and is followed up again before the day to make sure all is as it should be for you and your partner on the day. Site visits should have been completed well before the big day and any last minute variations sorted at this point.
Hopefully you and your partner are now clearer as to the roles each of these industry professionals can and may play on your wedding day – all of which have a valuable part in delivering your day – your way – without fuss, but the scope of each role is vastly different which is critical in the selection of any venue for your wedding day.
What is clear is that the wedding venue selection process should be conducted with the big wedding day picture in mind – no matter your vision or style so that the delivery of the day is your way.
Happy wedding planning and cheers to the perfect venue selections for you, your partner and your perfect day,
This blog is a collaborative examination of the integral wedding planning and venue selection process necessary to deliver a stress free day – your way by Shantanu who works as an inbound content marketer at GayCelebrant.Melbourne and has helped develop guidelines to cater to LGBTIQ Wedding industry since 2018 and LUXE – Unforgettable Events.
Shantanu has worked closely with Bronte Price of the Australian wedding industry and loves to share his acute observations through blogging weaving them into a brand story. He also loves to cook, trek, travel, dance and claims to have found his “why” in helping small business owners bloom into established brands.