Why is everybody trying to be a Hawaii wedding coordinator?
This afternoon I had lunch with one of my vendors as it allowed us time to get out the office and actually eat while finalizing several events in a short period of time. After wrapping up our events, we talked about their teams’ experiences at events when there was no wedding coordinator (or a very inexperienced one) and how that impacts their day as well as the couples’. We then started talking about the unfortunate trend of companies trying to be the “one stop shop” and not respecting the expertise of each vendor that brings their talent to the table.
As a professional event planner, one of the things that I know best is that it takes everyone to put on a great event. We also know that there are many facets to the event which are happening simultaneously which requires each vendor and their support staff on site to ensure things are done on time, especially with short set-up windows. Our role is to help our clients get the vendors that best suit their needs, style and budget. Hawaii Weddings and Events is not exclusive to any venue or vendor for the sole reason that we are providing recommendations based on what is in the client’s best interest and not our own.
The term “coordinator” has always been very loosely interpreted, so if you come across this term from a “non-coordination” company, you will want to spell out exactly what is included so that your needs are covered. For example, hotel’s have catering coordinators, their role is to coordinate the food and beverage details and floor plan for their venue, they will not determine which color flowers would best compliment your bridal party attire or contact each vendor to check availability prior to giving you their name.
When meeting your potential vendor and if they start making it sound like they are the “coordinator” that is going to handle everything for you, these are just but a few questions to ask them:
- Are they helping you create an overall event budget?
- Are they going to help you with event design for your event and check out sample linens from a variety of vendors to find the one that matches your needs the best?
- Are they double checking your flower order to ensure you ordered leis for your lei presentation or remembered to add on another centerpiece because you have one more table?
- Are they going to make sure that your photographer captures all of the special moments and special touches that you’ve worked so hard to prepare?
- Are they going to create your detailed wedding day timeline that incorporates all elements of the wedding day from the time the rental company arrives to who takes home the extra beverages at the end of the evening and give you ideas on how to personalize your event?
- Are they going to dictate which vendors that you use?
- Are they going to conduct your wedding rehearsal and help queue your processional and musicians?
- Are they going to prepare your floor plan for off-premise events?
- Are they bringing an emergency bag that has all of the “little” things such as safety pins, nail polish, duct tape, shoe glue, etc. that may be needed?
As a certified professional planner, I know how many years it took me to work myself up the ranks when I was in the hotel industry and more than one try just to have the opportunity to get into catering and event planning. I also know how many more years it took me to gain the experience and knowledge in order to earn the designations of Certified Professional Catering Executive (NACE) and Certified Meeting Planner (CMP). As there is only one chance to get each event right, I continue to oversee our coordination team’s progress to ensure that they have covered all needs and through experience we know how much staff we need to have on site to make things happen.
I can understand how someone that is not in our industry may not consider these things and that is why we offer non-paid internships for them to have the opportunity to learn and gain experience. I can’t understand when vendors within our industry try to be the “one stop shop” and add coordination and other services to their list and don’t have the qualifications or skill set which will end up impacting someone’s event.
At the end of the day, no matter who you decide upon, we want every Hawaii wedding to be a memorable experience for you and your guests…..when reflecting back on your day it should bring a bit of sunshine and a song to your heart.