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Ask the Pros:
DOC vs. Banquet Coordinator

February 12th, 2014 by Jeannine

Ask the Pros: DOC vs. Banquet Coordinator

Today’s topic is often a misunderstood one. A lot of brides find themselves questioning why they need to hire a wedding day coordinator even though their venue “already provides one.” What they don’t know is that they have completely different responsibilities. To help explain, I’ve enlisted the help of some friends of mine… Briar Johnston, principal planner for Epic Events (Vancity Vendor) and Koreena Singh, Catering Manager for the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Hotel & the Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel. They have worked on quite a few weddings together in the last few years and were able to break down the responsibilities of each:

Photo by Life Studios

In-House Event Coordinator

  • Provide venues offerings, capabilities, and costs associated with these
  • Responsible for the food, beverage, and service flow of the event. Liaises with the banquet/service staff to ensure that the event contract/order is fulfilled
  • Is able to manage the details of your wedding day that pertain to the venue itself
  • May be able to provide services above and beyond food and beverage based on available staff (ie. Put out your place cards or send a bridal party down the aisle)
  • May be able to recommend vendors who are familiar with their venue and have proven to provide great customer service. This would depend on the qualifications of the team at the venue and their relationships with vendors. Some venues have great relationships with vendors (including planners!) so sometimes it is great to get advice from the venue about preferred planners that they have had success with in the past

Privately Hired Event Coordinator

  • Meet to discuss needs and vision for the wedding and provide honest insight and expertise in creating a vision, priorities, and budget (and where to allocate that!)
  • Creation of a “checklist” and giving brides “homework” to keep them on track in the planning process and make sure that nothing is missed.
  • Responsible for the logistical flow of your entire wedding day including pre-wedding, ceremony, in-between/cocktails, and reception.
  • Coordinate and attend wedding rehearsal (so important!!) Who walks when – etc
  • Is able to manage all of the vendors and details of your wedding day from the moment the bride wakes until the moment their end-of-evening transportation arrives.
  • Is able to provide additional services, décor set up, pick ups and drop-offs, (and therapy!) if needed.
  • Able to recommend vendors who match your event vision, are in your price range and who have proven to provide great customer service.
  • Available via phone on wedding day. The liason between the venue and all the other vendors contributing to the day. Allowing the couple and family to enjoy every moment of the day

Photo by Life Studios

As you can see, a privately hired event coordinator covers quite a bit more ground than a banquet coordinator. Long story short, a banquet coordinator is able to look after anything associated with their own venue and catering but day of coordinators will keep you in check and look after anything else wedding related. If you are ever unsure, always ask your vendor for a list of responsibilities. Having both will help ensure a well-executed event, which is why banquet coordinators often recommend that you do hire a day of coordinator.

Briar: “When a couple has hired me for wedding day management, I know that they have put their trust in me to make quick decisions on their behalf and to look out for all of the aspects of their wedding. In turn, I am able to work quickly with an in-house event coordinator to ensure that service is flawless. For example, one time we had a Same Day Edit (videography term!) scheduled for 8:00pm. The editing team was having technical difficulties and we had to make a quick schedule change by moving some speeches, connecting with the MC and DJ, and moving up the dessert service.  The in-house coordinator was quick to manage the food and beverage aspect while I took care of everything else. I can honestly say that without us there managing all of the details there would have been a very awkward long pause in the schedule with no one knowing what was happening next.”

There are still those who choose not to hire a day of coordinator, but Koreena warns that while the Banquet Coordinator will be able to help to a certain extent, the services they have to offer will be quite different from that of a day of wedding coordinator. She explains…

Koreena: “For example, a bride is looking for a florist. The venue is happy and able to recommend florists they have worked with. The recommendation would come based on past experience with those vendors meaning the time/product/money/setup/and overall service is trusted from the venue which is why they stand behind their recommended vendors. A venue coordinator is happy to give a few names of florists to the bride. The bride now must go out and call those florists, set up appointments, make sure the flowers work with the budget/rest of the décor/etc and then get cost estimates/compare/and do the work in finding the right fit. A wedding planner on the other hand would do the preliminary work to make sure that those florists are available on the dates of that brides wedding, the vision and budget would work within the brides means, and also the wedding planner could attend meetings, keep budget on track, and provide valuable insight to these vendor meetings. The wedding planner would also be responsible for making sure everything is ordered/paid and making sure that on the day of the florists shows up and sets up everything just as the planner and the bride and the florist have all discussed together.”

Photo by Life Studios

Lastly, the banquet coordinator and the day of coordinator must communicate well with each other and the people they are in charge of. If everybody knows what they are responsible for and the coordinators stay on top of things, your event will run much smoother.

Briar: “Creating a flawless event for the couple needs to be a team approach! If everyone is working together we are able to change our focus to not only meeting, but exceeding, the couples expectations!”

Thank you so much Briar and Koreena for clearing things up. For more information on them, please visit their websites and social media listed below:

Epic Events website | Facebook | Twitter | Vancity Vendor Profile

Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Hotel website | Facebook | Twitter | Venue Profile

Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel website | Facebook | Twitter | Vendor Profile

All photos provided by Epic Events, held at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, and courtesy Life Studios (Facebook | Twitter)

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  • February 12th, 2014 at 12:35 pm
    Paul says:

    Thank you for posting. As a wedding decor pro I must say that without a proper DOC – a large event – wedding or corporate can turn a disaster. This is the same as to have an orchestra without a director. There will be a sound but no music. Thanks again, Paul.


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