Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Planner's Guide: In-House & Independent Planners

The latest instalment of The Planner's Guide centres around the role of in-house and independent planners, the differences and similarities of their respective jobs and how they work both separately and together.

In-House Coordinators

via Martha Stewart Weddings

The vast majority of wedding venues across the UK will now have their own dedicated coordinator, be it on their own or within a rotating team. The general day-to day tasks of in-house staff are to provide support to the venue be it through showing round potential new clients, keeping up to date with existing clients' wedding plans from ensuring all the catering is arranged, liaising with other suppliers, to putting together the final schedule for the day and of course overseeing the weddings that take place.
It is also usually your venue that will contact the registrar to preliminarily book in your ceremony for you as your registrar will need proof that your venue of choice is legally licensed. They will also have a good relationship with the superintendent registrar in the area.

Independent Planners

A stand-alone planner is jack of all trades. To give you an example, my work includes sourcing venues, managing the budget, sourcing and hiring suppliers, liaising with venue staff and suppliers, designing and dressing, providing general day to day support to clients and of course the day itself (and sometimes afterwards too). It's like asking how long a piece of string is when it comes to what I do for my clients, the list is potentially endless!

Why Should I Hire A Planner? 


Whilst your venue has its own coordination team on hand to ensure your day runs well, it is worth noting that generally (and I say generally so as I don't step on anyone's toes!) your coordinator is there for the venue and what goes on within those boundaries. Beyond that point, it's your responsibility, meaning that you can't call them out of hours to discuss chasing those RSVPs or to change the shade of rose in your bouquet. They have nothing to do with your arrival at the church, nor is it their responsibility to chase your hair stylist if they're late. This is where an independent planner comes in-they are there entirely for you to ensure every single aspect of your day is looked after, even if you choose not to have one to guide you through the planning process it is most definitely worth considering one for the day itself.

©Devlin Photos
How Do Venues & Planners Work Together?


I've been really lucky in that the venue coordinators I've worked with have found working with me nothing but helpful. I deal with the front line issues with the bride and groom, liaise with their suppliers and prepare all the wedding day documents to be sent over to the venue meaning they don't need to spend time chasing answers and can focus on ensuring the venue works like clockwork on the day. It also means that by the time the day arrives, we're all on good terms working as a team and know exactly who does what and when. It takes some of the pressure off their team and in turn takes the pressure off me.

A typical day might start with me checking in on the bride/groom whilst they prepare before I head off to the venue to dress it whilst the staff lay up for service. Once I'm at the ceremony (if they're in separate places) I can then call ahead to inform the venue once the wedding party are setting off for the reception so everyone can be ready to stand by. Throughout the day I look after my bride and groom and ensure all the little details are taken care of, and it there are any concerns or requests I can feedback quickly to the venue staff. Simple logistics that make all the difference.

I hope this post has helped clear up those differences and that they've helped you to consider hiring someone, regardless of where you are in your planning.

If you're recently married, did you hire a coordinator or wish that you had?

Grant-Riley Weddings

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