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How Many Coordinators Does One Wedding Need?

You’ve booked your venue, and it comes with a coordinator. You’ve booked your caterer, and it comes with a coordinator. It sounds like you’re all booked up with coordinators to coordinate your big day. Do you really need any more coordinators??

We hear this all the time from couples who have already booked most of their vendors! We’re here to explain to you why it’s probably a good idea to hire just one more coordinator - a wedding coordinator to be specific. Let’s debunk those preconceived notions and explain to you what you’re really getting when your contract states “coordinator”.

Now, we’re not here to say one is better than the other, we're just here to tell you what each person does. All three of these roles work together to create your dream day and each role is critical.

Each role has its purpose and we love working with these amazing and creative individuals!

Your Venue Coordinator

This helpful liaison is 90% focused on the venue and making sure it stays intact as your guests descend on it. The other 10% is of course, making sure the venue side of your day makes you happy. Your venue coordinator is often in charge of:

  • Final floor plan formatting

    • A SYD coordinator can help you with this if your venue coordinator doesn’t. It’s included in all of our packages!

  • Your final invoice for the venue

    • A venue coordinator will likely be the one arranging the payments for your venue.

    • A SYD coordinator can also take over any payment schedule for you and pay your vendors on your behalf! That way you just have one vendor payment schedule to worry about.

  • General venue cleanliness and functionality

    • This includes unclogging toilets, refreshing toilet paper and paper towel, taking out the trash and mopping up any spills.

    • If there is a prep kitchen, the venue coordinator would also ensure that everything was working properly.

    • WEDDING TIP: Be sure to ask your potential venue: Who is responsible for taking out the trash and if there is no one, where should it be taken at the end of the night? Is there anyone to mop up spills on the dance floor?

  • Furniture placement and care

    • The venue coordinator makes sure that all of the furniture is in place and set up and doesn’t get damaged. This might include your setting up your tables and chairs.

  • Basic lighting settings

    • This usually doesn’t include up lighting or any special lighting. It’s usually just house lighting unless otherwise specified.

  • Directing parking

    • If you have onsite parking a venue coordinator might make sure that everyone was parked properly.

Typically at the venues we see, there is one venue coordinator to oversee all these tasks mentioned, sometimes with an assistant for part of the night depending on the size of set-up. It is also very typical for the assigned venue coordinator to be separate staff hired specifically for the set up and break down process. This means the point person you have been communicating with may not be on site at all during the event, or may stay through the end of the ceremony but then leave their team to handle the rest. This does not mean you are left in un-trustworthy hands! It just means the humans there to help may not have the connection you established when it comes to your timeline or décor details. The venue has A LOT of responsibilities keeping your dream space in tip top shape, and while they are focused on that it does not leave a lot of time to focus on the design or scheduling details that are important to keep your day on track.

Your Catering Coordinator

Here the number one job is to make sure that your food is delicious, your people are fed on time and that nobody gets sick.

  • Food and Drink:

    • Catering is in charge of making sure that the food is displayed beautifully, served on time and courteously (either buffet or plated).

    • If you have passed appetizers they will coordinate the timeliness of the hors d'oeuvres to ensure each guest gets a chance to try almost everything at the right temperature.

    • If you have a bar package they are also responsible for the bar’s accoutrement, functionality and ensuring that no minors are drinking.

    • Having an experienced catering staff is pivotal in keeping the timeline flowing. They will be able to release tables (for buffets) or place plates (for plated meals) efficiently and also be sure all necessary plates and glassware are bussed in a timely fashion.

    • WEDDING TIP✨: Be sure to check your vendor contracts for exactly what is included! Not all bar packages are created equally, so be sure to check for mixers, fruit, glassware and ice. OR…. have your wedding coordinator handle it for you!

  • Guest Place Setting:

    • Depending on what’s included in your package, the catering captain, as they are sometimes called, will oversee the placement of any linens, flatware, plates, chargers, napkins, goblets, and/or champagne glasses. Sometimes “included in your package” only includes linens. In this case, catering might only place the linens but not the rest of the place settings. If your catering comes with flatware and plates, it is likely that they will set each full place setting including the charger. If these items are rented outside of the catering company there may be a service charge for a catering company to coordinate this placement.

    • A SYD coordinator will know exactly how to place each place setting months before your wedding and it’s included in all of our basic packages

  • Toasts and Dessert:

    • If included in your package they will coordinate:

      • Cake cutting, serving and distributing

        • They will likely not tell you how best to cut the cake for photos… but a SYD coordinator will make sure you get the perfect cake shots. :)

      • Champagne pouring for toasts

      • Organizing the display of your dessert table

Most importantly, the catering coordinator is the liaison between your day-of point of contact (whether that be a coordinator or other trusted person) and the catering team. If decor set up is included in your package you will have meetings with your coordinator to discuss your wishes. However, if decor set up is not part of your package it is very likely that you or a trusted confidant will need to set up your decor and feature tables. A SYD coordinator can help with that - it’s included in all of our basic packages!

WEDDING TIP✨: Check, check, check your catering contract to determine exactly what kind of setup is included (guest tables, food tables, bar etc). You may need a SYD coordinator to help bring your vision together.

Your Wedding Coordinator

So what’s left to do after your catering and venue coordinator have handled all their tasks?? Do you find there are some holes missing in your plans? What do you need help with and who will you assign to do those tasks?

We are happy you asked, because your Day-Of Coordinator will do allllll of the things that a venue coordinator and a catering coordinator might not even have time to focus on, and they will be grateful for the extra help! Your wedding planner will be everywhere at once (they’re just that good!!), juggling all the balls - decor, making sure other vendors are running on time and have everything they need, making sure your bridal party and VIPs are taken care of and most importantly, that YOU are taken care of.

Your wedding day BFF (yes, your wedding coordinator) will make sure that the venue coordinator and the catering coordinator are all aware of the timeline and of any problems that arise if they can’t handle them first. A wedding planner is 100% focused on you. Even when setting up your decor, they are still focused on you and bringing your vision to life. (With SYD you will always get at least two of us, sometimes even three. That way at least one of us is able to stay with you to attend to all of your needs.)

Even when checking in other vendors, a good coordinator will still be focused on you and making sure that each vendor is living up to your expectations. A wedding planner is focused on what you need on your wedding day. A wedding coordinator acts as your wedding guru throughout the entire planning process, answering all of your late night or early morning questions and making your dreams come true! (With SYD you get unlimited emails, texts, and phone calls. We will accompany you to vendor meetings or even go on your behalf. With SYD you get a wedding BFF!) By the time your wedding rolls around your wedding coordinator will be able to answer any questions that arise from other vendors the way you would answer them, because they’ve spent so much time on your vision, they know how you would answer that question.

Honorable Mention!

Your DJ or band leader’s number one goal is to get that dance floor boogie-ing all night long. They are the master of ceremonies, here to conduct your fabulous evening of festivities. You hired your favorite photographer to take amazing photos and make you and your boo look stunning. They are there to capture your day and make those memories last a lifetime. Oftentimes we hear from DJs, band members, and photographers that many of the organizational tasks and communication wind up falling to them, which they are almost always happy to help with if they can! They end up keeping up with the timeline and making sure the couple is in the right place for the right moment. Every vendor wants to make sure that they provide top notch service to you and when they end up taking on tasks that aren’t necessarily part of their professional duties, their core service can suffer. This honestly makes vendors sad because all they want is to bring you their best work for the best day of your life, and if they get stretched thin they may miss a dance-off or a photo op that would have added to the memories they are helping you create. For us, weddings are a team sport, and all your vendors want to work together to make it the best possible event for you!

So, why do you need all those coordinators?

All your vendors have been trained to do specific jobs that they love, but adding all our past experiences together and focusing on YOUR night, we want to make it unforgettable so we pitch in where we see needed, when we see it needed.

Adding a wedding planner to your team of amazing vendors benefits everyone in the long run, your other vendors will thank you! One quote from a second shooting photographer friendor that always sticks in my mind is, “If you weren’t there to fluff her dress or fix the fly away hair, I would have had to compromise my positioning and wouldn’t have been able to get as many angles and shots as I did.”

Vendors love working together to create a magical, memorable event for you - the more hands, the better! For more reasons why you (AND your fiance, family and wallet) would benefit from hiring a wedding planner please see our TWO blogs on Why You Need A Wedding Planner - here and here.

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