the centre is now called …

In case you missed it near the holidays, a local venue has changed their name! SMG’s The Centre is now:

The Centre in Evansville will now be known as the Old National Events Plaza, a name change made to recognize the bank’s $14 million investment in the new Downtown convention hotel project. More info read here …

We are hoping for a ballroom in the new downtown convention hotel project. Pretty sure that won’t happen. However we have always loved planning corporate and wedding events with the great folks at The Centre. Oops! Old National Events Plaza!

Keep this news in mind if you are planning a wedding there and need to update your wedding invitations.

featured photo credit:

plan on!

 

venue coordinators vs wedding planners

There is often confusion in what duties a venue coordinator performs and what duties a wedding planner will perform for you. Brides and grooms sometimes perceive that they may be double paying. A valid point, but perception is not the reality in this case. This is why.

what are the differences?

1. Your venue coordinator is responsible for your venue (thus the title). They are there to make sure all of the venue employees are informed of your reception plans. Think about it: the chef, the serving staff, the setup crew, the landscapers, the hotel staff, the bartenders, the cleaning crew, the janitors, maintenance department… just to name a few. Yes, they can be there when your cake is delivered or when your entertainment arrives, but that is the easy part.

2. Your wedding planner is responsible for YOU, your family and your wedding guests. We are with you the entire day after putting together a comprehensive master timeline that includes all of your plans that you wish to happen, all of the personal touches that you want from your ceremony all the way to the reception. The venue coordinator may not be concerned where your dance shoes are, whether Aunt Betsy in a wheel chair is comfortable, if the flow of your reception is going smoothly or perhaps how your liquor tab is progressing. The bride and groom may still be bombarded with questions from all the vendors (photographer, videographer, DJ). When we are there (or any wedding planner) then we answer those questions so that you and your family can truly enjoy your celebration with your guests.

I’m not suggesting they are callous, not at all. They are focused on doing their job which is ultimately ensuring accurate and prompt service from catering to bar services. We don’t know where the extra kegs are located or how to turn up the air conditioning should it get too warm. But they do, because it’s their venue.

A wedding planner’s paycheck comes directly from our client. A venue coordinator’s paycheck comes directly from their venue.

Now this blog post is written a little backwards, concentrating on the wedding day FIRST. Let’s back this wedding train up and discuss PRE-wedding day duties.

Wedding planners help with the pre planning of your entire wedding. From reviewing contracts, designing details, reviewing the flow, securing hotels, finding the right wording and invitation, looking out for your best interest in staying within your budget, answering your many etiquette questions, calming your anxiety and referring the right vendors that fit your budget and style.

the elusive preferred vendor list:

Venue coordinators will also give you recommendations from their preferred list of vendors. But please, PLEASE, be sure to ask them:

“Do vendors on this preferred list PAY the venue to be listed here?”

In my humble and experienced opinion, I don’t believe the correct description of a “preferred vendor list” means that a vendor shelled out some moola to have their name on it. It should instead be entitled “vendor paid advertising”. You see the vendors that we prefer to work with have proven themselves time and time again working along side with us. We know that they not only deliver what they promise they are a gem to work with, especially when times get tough (unexpected increment weather, for instance).

They don’t pay us to refer them, where is the credibility in that? Nor do we pay to be on any preferred vendor list.

“you don’t need a wedding planner!”

Sometimes venue coordinators like to tell brides, “You don’t need a wedding planner, we’ll coordinate your wedding.” Hmmm, let’s dissect this. You mean the venue coordinator will be at your ceremony coordinating between the musicians and lining up your wedding party? Or are they available take your late afternoon phone calls and meet with you after hours in your home to discuss your wedding plans and what are the best options to alter your dress? Or maybe they are there to help you manage your Pinterest projects and design the details from programs, escort cards and signage? They are not helping you plan your wedding. They are coordinating their venue.

Now as a professional planner, who gives venue referrals I can tell you when I get feedback from a client, WHO I REFERRED, and is told that we are not needed, it does more than get me a little hot. It is infuriating. And for your venue coordinators that think these client’s don’t come back to tell us, you are wrong. And it happens more than we would like to admit.

For years, I asked myself “Why?” And I think I’ve got it narrowed down. This is my personal epiphany on this controversial subject:

Some venue coordinators absolutely do not want a wedding planner on board because they are not able to upsell the bride and groom. Venues that provide inclusive, turn-key weddings are no-brainers for couples that don’t want to be bothered with the details. But trust me, you’re going to pay for it. Right or wrong is not the issue, it’s understanding the difference and acknowledging it. If you have a third party, such as a professional wedding planner, that understand contracts, BEO’s and knows what questions to ask to potentially save their mutual client money, hey … that’s not necessarily good for the venue.

Notice I kept saying “some venue coordinators”. There are many that love to work with planners and we love you right back. Nothing falls through the cracks and our mutual clients are served very, VERY well.

Would love to hear your feedback, thoughts or questions!

featured image photo credit: pfe iPhone

plan on!

update: Did a TV segment on this subject on Local 7 Lifestyles, check it out!

 

an open letter to wedding church coordinators

Dear Wedding Church Coordinator,

I’d like to introduce myself, I’m a professional event/wedding planner. Professional in the fact that this is my full-time job, assisting clients with their weddings. It feeds my family and keeps my lights on. This isn’t a whimsical hobby, so I take my responsibilities and the happiness of my clients very seriously. I have a dedicated office space, published telephone number, business website, business license, and file business taxes. Just wanted to clarify the “professional” part of my statement before I carry on.

With that said, I would like to personally apologize for the dozens of ignorant girls that came before me that said they were “wedding coordinators”. Many of them just finished their own wedding (which was really, really awesome by the way) and they are now helping their BFF/MOH get married by coordinating her wedding. Their frame of reference has been to make themselves happy and being catered to by other vendors at their own wedding. For the many times these “coordinators” stepped on your pews, moved furniture around on the altar and dug in your closets, I will apologize for them. The next time one of these little darlings skip into your church, please feel free to give us a call; we’ll hold her down and you can dunk her head in the baptismal pool repeatedly.

You see these precious angels ruin it for professional planners. When we walk in the door, you are already rolling your eyes and exhaling loudly. I understand your frustration. But I’d like to have you stop for a moment and take a closer look. Does the wedding planner have a professional business card (not an ink-jet card with perforated edges)? Does the planner ask questions that make it painfully obvious she has done this before? Is the planner respectful to you and your place of worship? Does she inquire about setup times and when the wedding party must leave the church so mass or other ceremonial programs can start? These are telling signs that this person knows what she/he is doing.

Please remember we are not there to usurp your authority. This is your church, your sanctuary, and place of Worship of God. Professional wedding planners know this and treat it accordingly. We know that most likely you met the bride, once at the time of her visiting the church and giving you a signed contract/retainer. And the second time again at her Rehearsal. However, we have been with her throughout the whole planning process. We have fielded the teary phone calls, countless emails, and numerous meetings. It only makes sense that since we know her this well, that we should be the ones to line up the wedding party and take care of their needs. Also, it is our job — we are paid to do this.

I submit a crazy idea for your consideration. We’ll take care of the duties of lining up the wedding party, sewing last minute buttons, making sure food is there for them and you will coordinate your church. Meaning, you know where the lights are, keys to doors, reserved signs for pews, etc. We could work together in harmony and unity. So the end result is that our mutual client has a terrific, stress-free wedding day.

Thank you for your time, and we’ll see you on Saturday.

In Christian Love,

saundra

all you rented was a roof

I don’t know about venues in your area, but we have some here locally that all you rent is the establishment. All that is there is a roof, doors, HVAC, kitchen, tables and chairs. As the bride and groom; you are responsible for bringing in a caterer, setup, liability insurance, and cleanup.

Make a person’s head spin (unless of course you do this for a living).

Consider when you are planning your wedding at a rental hall facility…

  1. When the rental agreement says “events to end by 12am” … they usually mean that you and all your personal items (decorations) need to be OUT of the venue by 12am. That doesn’t mean you can party till 11:59pm.
  2. Don’t forget the cleanup! It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. All trash has to be bagged and hauled to the dumpster. And this isn’t a light load either.
  3. Speaking of cleanup…don’t forget to find out, “Who’s gonna bus the tables”? When you hire a caterer and bartenders from a separate company…none of them bus the tables, usually. So you need to talk to them and add that in writing in your agreement.
  4. Speaking of tables being bussed….seriously…this job sucks. Do you want to ask your drunken aunt and other families members to do this after they have been on their feet all day? Or worse…you are there with your new groom picking up half drunken beer bottles/glasses? Ewwww. Consider hiring an entirely separate cleanup crew. Maybe they can also take down and pack up your DIY decorations.
  5. Many facilities require a separate liability insurance so if someone falls and hurts themselves they cannot be sued. Many people don’t know who to contact. I do. Call the rock star insurance girls at Lynnbrook Insurance …they can help you out with that and any additional wedding insurance needs you may have!

I have had some great weddings at venues like this….certainly hotels or country clubs are easier on the brain. You just have to be focused, organized and the ability to look at the overall picture.

featured photo credit: pfe iPhone

plan on!