Reception venue image from Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.  Photo by Eric McCallister Photography.

Reception venue image from Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.  Photo by Eric McCallister Photography.

When it comes to planning and successfully executing your wedding day, each and every one of your vendors plays a vital and important role. They have helped with hundreds of weddings before yours and they will help hundreds of clients after you, so they're chock full of expertise and they definitely know what they're doing.  Now, all of this assumes you're working with a professional who has been in the business for multiple years and has the record to prove such accolades.  For the sake of this blog series, let's assume the vendors I'm referring to are all amazing and the kinds of vendors you're looking for to help plan your wedding.

As a wedding planner, we have been approached many times by potential clients interested in getting married at a venue.  Often times, these are venues that serve as a destination location: providing overnight accommodations, multiple venues for your rehearsal dinner, welcome reception, wedding and farewell brunch, as well as providing services and amenities for your guests to enjoy while they're on property.

It's always an interesting conversation to have with potential clients about the value of hiring a wedding planner when they already have a venue or banquet manager.  They assume their venue manager will serve as their full-service wedding planner and because they will be on-site for the wedding ceremony and at least part of the reception, clients are often cautious to spend additional dollars of their budget for a service they think they are already paying for.  

In the case of your venue manager, they have an incredible amount of tasks and responsibilities that only they, as experts, should be taking care of for you.  I think it's important to show you just how many tasks they are responsible for because it will help establish the inherent differences between the wedding planner you may decide to hire and the venue manager that you work with. 

A nautical reception by candlelight.  Image by Eric McCallister Photography at Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

A nautical reception by candlelight.  Image by Eric McCallister Photography at Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Here is a list of some of the tasks your venue manager will work directly with you on throughout your wedding planning process:

  • Helping you select your menu: hors d'oeuvres, dinner, desserts, bar options, what style of reception to have that works best for your wedding style and their venue's capabilities.
  • Helping you decide on your ceremony and reception timing: are you having your ceremony at your reception venue? If not, what time is best for guests to arrive for your cocktail hour after an off-site ceremony? How late will your event end? Are there after party options, noise restrictions, extra reception hours to purchase?
  • Coordination of hotel room blocks, including negotiating rates.
  • Offering vendor recommendations: vendors who have worked at their property before and have had successful reviews from past clients.
  • Helps advise where everything should be set up within your cocktail hour and reception space(s): gift table, place card table, favors, bars, dessert stations, food stations- if applicable.
  • Helps you create a rain plan if you plan on having some event(s) outdoors.
  • Helps to keep you on your schedule throughout the day- first dance, cake cutting, food service.
A nautical dinner menu by Gus & Ruby Letterpress.  Image by Eric McCallister at the Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

A nautical dinner menu by Gus & Ruby Letterpress.  Image by Eric McCallister at the Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Now, this list isn't complete and there are a few of these tasks that an outside wedding planner can and often will help you with.  This list shows you the parts of the planning process you get to directly be involved with your venue manager. 

Here's another list of the tasks your venue manager has that you don't get to see, but are still very vital to the success of your wedding day:

  • For destination wedding venues, making sure the welcome baskets are delivered to each room.
  • They work with the chef to select the best menu options that their staff and service levels can provide.
  • Once they work with you to design your wedding vision, they meet with the chef to adjust the menu to best accommodate your needs and requests. This may include dietary restrictions or menu style changes specific for your overall wedding design.
  • The venue manager is in charge of the staff that sets up your wedding day, which may include multiple locations.  This includes: setting up chairs, tables, linens, napkins, china, glassware, flatware set up, bar set ups, ceremony chairs- set up and break down.
  • The venue manager is responsible for orchestrating the timing of the kitchen staff to serve your wedding menu in a successful manner.
  • The venue manager is responsible for receiving all of your outside vendors- photographer, videographer, florist, lighting specialist, cake designer, etc. They provide directions and instructions on how to load in and where to set up.
  • They are responsible for feeding your vendors in a timely manner to ensure your timeline remains intact.

This list is also not complete, but it gives you a good idea of just how many responsibilities your venue manager has behind the scenes to help ensure you have a successful wedding day. Stay tuned for some future Vlogs where I interview some of my favorite venue managers to hear even more about their role and responsibilities!

All in all, I hope this explanation helps to show the importance of your venue manager and how their role is unique and specific. I think education is a major piece to the wedding planning process.  It helps gives you an understanding of the industry and the many people who will help you throughout your wedding. 

Happy planning!