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Why the Event Coordinator provided with the venue is not the same as hiring your own Event Consultant?

First, let me start by saying that this is not an article meant to tear down the event coordinators provided with a venue – they are invaluable. This article is, however, meant to explain the difference and the benefit many clients will receive in hiring their own event consultant who will work alongside the coordinator provided by the venue.

One of my biggest disappointments is the venue coordinator who tries to tell a client that hiring an outside consultant is not needed. I’ll never understand this sales tactic and believe that we are all here to help each other make an event the best it can possibly be. For that reason, I believe it does a huge disservice to the client as well as the industry when a venue coordinator tells a client that an outside consultant’s services are not needed because the client will get a coordinator provided by the venue.

The event coordinator that a venue provides to a client is a nice touch and is very helpful to have as a coordinator for the venue itself. I’ve found that many venues still require that a client hire their own consultant. Why? Because the venue’s coordinator is not meant to be the client’s advocate in all things related to the event. A hired consultant is with the client every step of the way (depending on the exact services they are hired for). The hired consultant has the ability to hire reputable vendors within the client’s budget, has years of experience planning timelines, has the experience to know potential problems and how to fix them. The hired consultant has built a relationship with the client and knows, for example, when the bride wants to have the father/daughter dance, why she picked the song and the importance of the special dance that they’ve chosen. The hired consultant knows where to place the favors and has a vested interest in making sure the room is set-up properly and to the client’s specifications so that the event looks picture perfect. The hired consulant walks around the room checking all the place settings, confirming seating charts, and has a relationship with each vendor to be sure each detail is not overlooked.

A hired consultant, in a nutshell, is the client’s advocate. They are there to make sure that everything that the client has requested and paid for is done to their liking. Can a hired consultant guarantee that there will be no issues and everything will be perfect? Of course not. However, a hired consulant’s responsibility is to plan ahead, have good relationships with all of the vendors and to keep everyone on task and above all to make sure the client is happy. A hired consultant works with all the other vendors including the venue’s event coordinator to be the “fairy godmother” when there are issues, questions or simply to help everything move along smoothly.

Ask yourself this, ‘if the venue provides a coordinator and there is an issue relating to the venue or its service, can you be sure that the venue’s coordinator’s first loyalty is to you or to the venue?” Will they try to make things right – yes, a good one will. However, when it comes right down to it, their loyalty lies with the venue, not with the client. The hired consultant’s loyalty lies only with the client.

For an event the size of the average wedding or corporate party, it requires all vendors to work together and someone to orchestrate everything. Think of an orchestra – can each member of the symphony play beautiful music? Yes. But, without the conductor, the music will not be as cohesive as it can and should be.

For a wedding, many couples often turn to their friends and family for many of these chores, and again, I caution them – your friends and family are there to have a good time. They are your guests. Consider that they are often included in the pictures and therefore will not have the time to properly set-up items with a critical eye. Friends and family are guests of the reception and will be drinking and enjoying in the general merriment of the evening, they are not there to make sure the timeline is followed, and that speeches are properly prepared for; they are not the go-between with the DJ and the person giving the speech nor are they the person who will speak with the photographer and set you up so that your cake cutting is done beautifully and picture perfect. Also consider that many may likely be too tired or too drunk to properly pack up your items at the end of the night, and those that aren’t would have to stop in the enjoyment of the evening to pack up your stuff (which often takes a couple of hours) – not a very polite way to treat your guests.

Remember, the production of a party is a huge undertaking; if it weren’t, there wouldn’t be professionals out there for you to hire. It may be the largest party any of you have ever, or will ever host. It may be one where you are not only the hosts, but are the honored guests. You will not have any time to be talking to wait staff, setting up event/ceremony/reception items, dealing with meal issues, or breaking down the site.

This is a day you want to remember for the right reasons. For those of you getting married, you are marrying the love of your life and you want to be able to celebrate that occasion with family and friends whom you hold dear. You don’t want to remember this occassion for the wrong reasons, i.e. you were so busy dealing with all the little issues that you spent most of your time talking to the venue’s staff than you did talking with your friends and family.

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