Napa Wedding Planning

The Edges Wedding Photography

An Ode to Wedding Venue Managers, the Unsung Heroes of the Wedding Business

Weddings are wonderful celebrations of love, and will likely be one of the most memorable days of the bride and groom’s lives. That is, if everything goes according to plan. Make no mistake: at the end of the day, weddings are events, which means they need to be set up and run like any other major event. And it all happens within the walls of the venue.

One thing that can be a bit confusing the role that the venue manager/wedding specialist/ venue wedding coordinator,  plays in the wedding planning. The venue manager has a distinct set of tasks in preparation of the wedding that are solely focused on the venue. They may even set out the clients wedding personal items and get couples down the aisle – BUT by and large, they are there to take care of the venue, NOT to be the wedding planner/coordinator who handles the logistics of your vendors, orders equipment, manages guest seating, etc.  Furthermore, when couples direct wedding planning related questions to the venue, it can create a scenario where critical venue-related components fall through the cracks, simply due to the fact that the venue manager isn’t able to be a wedding planner for 30 +/- weddings a year.

How do you (Wedding Venue Managers)  ensure the wedding event concludes with happy guests, without a hitch (except the couple who gets hitched)? Prioritize!

Forge a Dynamic Team

Here at Cole Drake Events, we work as a team in order to best leverage the skills and experience we each have as individuals. To use a cliché,  teamwork makes the dream work! First and foremost, you have to rely on everyone involved to do their part and do it well. Otherwise, no amount of planning will bridge the gap. Who is on the team you ask? Catering, equipment/décor, floral, musicians, service & production, photo/video. In short, everyone who services onsite during the wedding weekend.

Make Vendor Recommendations

On the day of, this team, for better or worse, includes the couple’s vendors and the wedding planner. As event managers, we understand the importance of experience, while keeping value top of mind on behalf of our clients. Couples certainly are looking for value and sometimes, price and experience are mutually exclusive.

Puhleeease, take every opportunity you’re given to recommend the vendors you trust to take care of your property and love working with and list them on your site with links to their websites. Also have a strategy in place so that when couples inquire about a service provider who is NOT currently on your list, you have a process to make sure they are legit (ie: have business license, insured, professional) and require these service providers to tour the venue BEFORE client books them.

Develop an Event Logistics Strategy

This is certainly not new information, but good to hear again- don’t underestimate the power of properly planned logistics. Take the time to develop a solid strategy so that something as seemingly small as an overlooked parking situation, coat check, directional signage, bathroom location etc., doesn’t lead to frustrated guests wandering into the wrong area.

Timing is crucial, no surprises there. If you are a venue who offers onsite catering, work with your culinary team & planner to determine best pace and flow of dinner service. Vendor meals should also play into that timeline. Consider a petite buffet for vendors that can be prepped in advance so that when guests are dining, vendors are able to break to be refreshed for the next group of transitions.

Have a Plan B

Outdoor weddings where some or all of the wedding day events are out of doors are more popular than ever, now making up about 43% of all weddings. While venue managers and wedding planners take weather factors into serious consideration when planning outdoor fetes, precipitation, excessive heat/cold/wind/bugs, can put a damper on the vision the couple has for their wedding. It is important to be prepared and have those conversations early on in the planning. Always begin with the plan B so the plan A can prevail.

You do You, be Authentic

At Cole Drake Events, our philosophy is about keeping it real and being authentic. In other words, more is more, not better.  Don’t overshoot the runway here! For couples, this philosophy is helpful to align the event with their personality and infuse that “real” into very detail. As a Venue who offers catering services, for example, your menu should be something you know your staff can execute well from culinary, back of house and front of house service teams. We always encourage culinary to work in tandem with the venue manager and Planner to get to know the couple and their food inspirations. This puts culinary in the best position to deliver a personalized culinary experience that will have the couple and guests alike, dazzled on wedding day.