Life is a special occasion

Ask Lauren

Since I opened my company, my inbox gets frequent visits from people from all over the place asking me all sorts of different questions. Whether it's one of my own brides or grooms, a potential bride or groom, a mother of a bride or groom, or just a random person - they've all got questions or need some sort of guidance. And the flattering part is they want me to help! Fortunately, it's in my nature to want to help, which is a pretty good thing - after all, I am a wedding planner and it's my job to fix problems and guide my clients along on their planning journey. And from this was born: ASK LAUREN.

"Do I need a wedding planner if my venue has an in-house planner?"

Sorry to turn into a bit of a politician here (no offense to politicians) but this question does not have yes or no answer. In fact, the answer is really more of an explanation of the difference between "in-house" and private. From this explanation, you as the bride or groom will be able to determine the answer, which really lies within your own wedding needs and wants.

The most important detail in this equation is for the bride + groom being able to understand that an in-house coordinator or planner is just that: an employee who represents the hotel or club. An independent wedding coordinator or planner who owns and operates their own private business, represents their clients (ie, the bride + groom; ie, you + your fiancé). Again, it is this difference that will dictate as to whether or not you need to hire a wedding planner, independent from your venue.

  • The in-house coordinator will do just as the title states, coordinate your event logistics as they relate to the venue. The keywords here are as they related to the venue. The independent, or private, wedding planner will coordinate all of your event logistics, from start to finish. Not just what is pertains to the wedding venue. Furthermore, a private planner will have your best interest at heart and not have the conflict of serving their employer, or the venue.

  • The in-house coordinator will recommend vendors from their vendor list for you to coordinate all of the details with on your own. The vendors you will be referred to will most likely have either paid to be included on this vendor list, or they frequently have worked at this venue. Yes, it is certainly an advantage if they frequently work at your wedding venue. However, it does not mean that they are the right fit for you and your wedding. An independent planner will suggest the right vendors for the bride + groom to work with based on their taste, style, personality and budget. Furthermore, they will negotiate the best price for the bride + groom, handle the contracts and communication and assume the role of a liaison between the couple and the vendors. The result of this, the elimination of all of the headaches from the constant back and forth while all the details are sorted out. The result of this, you and your fiancĂ© are allowed to enjoy the festivities of being engaged!

Seems like enough, right! But there's more...

  • The in-house coordinator will be on-site for the wedding day to ensure the tables and chairs are put out and set up, they will make sure the bar is stocked and that the cake is set up. They will of course ensure the yummy food is served! Generally after dinner is on it's way, the in-house coordinator will leave the remainder of the wedding in the hands of a banquet captain. An independent planner is with their bride + groom from the start of event set up until the end of event break down. They get you ready for the ceremony, they get you back into the car at the reception and then they handle everything in between (both what you plan on and what you never thought could happen).

  • The in-house coordinator could be responsible for two or three weddings happening at the venue all on the same day as your wedding. The in-house coordinator could be showing prospective brides the venue at the same time as the start of your ceremony. The in-house coordinator could be catching up on paperwork and contracts at the same time as your grand entrance. An independent planner is focused solely on the bride + groom, their families and making sure all the vendors are doing what they are being paid to do so your wedding is perfect.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am all for in-house coordinators! They are my friends, as I see them most every weekend, and they provide an invaluable service - they manage the venue. However, a wedding is a lot more than just the venue. There are about 8 - 12 months of planning that must be attended to and nurtured, sort of like a little baby.

Now, if you are having a wedding that does not have many details that must be organized, or you're planning a casual wedding, or you're an easy-breezy bride + groom, well you may be able to get away with the in-house coordinator.

BUT if you're planning a large wedding, with a lot of details that need to be handled, if you're a bride + groom with a lot of needs, if you need help with the planning from A-Z, if you want to find the best vendors who fit into your budget and style, well then it is certainly in your best interest to hire a wedding planner!

Have a question? Need some good advice? Don't know who to turn to? You're in luck! Email and let us help.

Photo of Lauren Daversa answering all sorts of wedding and special event related questions is courtesy of one of my favs Jessica Lorren Organic Photography.

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