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Why should I hire a planner if the venue provides one?

This summer, half of my weddings had an on-site coordinator, but still hired me to facilitate their wedding plans. When these clients initially called me to ask me about my services, there were a few concerns that seemed to form a trend. So I’ll post them here:

  • I’m nervous because the on-site coordinator won’t call me back in a timely manner.

  • I don’t feel like the on-site coordinator understands my vision for the wedding.

  • My on-site coordinator hasn’t asked me about anything except the food plans.

  • My on-site coordinator doesn’t set up any of my decorations, or tear them down.

  • I’m just not getting a good vibe from my on-site coordinator – like they don’t have my best interest at heart, only the best interest of the venue.

  • My on-site coordinator shows up later on the wedding day and leaves right after dinner.

I was completely up-front with my clients about their situation. You CAN save money and just use the on-site planner. People do it all the time. But if you’re feeling like the comments above are a reflection of how you’re feeling, you might want to consider bringing in a professional.

I used to be an on-site planner. That’s where my experience comes from, so by no means am I knocking the position. But I strongly believe I was not the same as most. I worked long hours on the weddings because I wanted to open my own event planning business one day. I was getting experience with a company which allowed me to make all the rookie mistakes under someone else’s name – that sounds horrible, but it’s true. A wedding has too many moving parts to leave in the hands of a rookie. You don’t want your wedding to be a planners first rodeo. So if your on-site planner doesn’t meet these standards at a minimum, consider hiring a professional wedding planner:

  • They are available to you “anytime,” meaning they are willing to give you their cell phone number.

  • They have been through a summer of weddings with their specific venue.

  • AND they have been planning weddings for longer than 5 years, OR have worked on a minimum of 50 weddings.

  • Your coordinator can commit to you that they will be in the room all night. Often, throughout the reception, they’ll leave the room and head back their desk to work on other events (hotel venues are notorious for this). You want your coordinator available to you at a moment’s notice.

  • They are there for the rehearsal, arrive early on your wedding day to oversee your setup, and stay to oversee the teardown.

So my final suggestion is this: if you have a lot of working parts to your wedding day – lots of décor, a complicated timeline, lots of details – consider giving me a call, even if your venue provides someone on site. Sometimes the professional planners are even willing to discount their price if the “on-site coordinator” is strong enough to act in lieu of an assistant.

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