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The Differences between Wedding Planners and Venue Managers

Venue is one of the biggest ticket items (if not the biggest) for a wedding, be it a hotel, restaurant or event space. You may be wondering whether you should invest in a wedding planner when there is the presence of a venue manager.

To put it simply, your wedding planner will be a constant source of support throughout your wedding journey and your consultant for a wide variety of wedding-related matters. As for your venue manager, he/she will be a key advisor for venue-related matters.

In Singapore's context, a venue manager of a hotel and one of a restaurant or event space is not quite the same. A hotel's venue manager usually has the title of catering sales manager or venue sales manager. He/she is mainly involved in the wedding planning process prior to the wedding day, but on your big day, the person running the event will be the banquet manager. Whereas a venue manager of a restaurant or event space may be in charge of both venue sales and operations.

Although titles may be rather confusing, probing for further details on the scope of assistance will provide greater clarity. Let’s run through some differences between a wedding planner and a venue manager.

1. Timeline

Your wedding planner works closely with you for typically 6 to 12 months. There is a lot of work to be done in the initial phases of wedding planning such as programme development, conceptualisation and vendor sourcing. During the wedding planning process, there is a lot of communication, deliberation and fine-tuning required. There is a number of things that need to be completed in advance, earlier than 3 months to your wedding.

After you have secured your wedding venue, your venue manager typically actively engages you from 3 months before the wedding. This is a common practice due to the large volume of couples that your venue manager serves.

2. Commitment and Level of Support

Your wedding planner will be present for various meetings with the wedding venue and vendors and will definitely run both your rehearsal and wedding day. If you are planning your wedding from abroad, your wedding planner can represent you at meetings. Your wedding planner is readily available to address any concerns and questions you may have and to assist in doing various tasks for you based on the agreed scope of work that is related to your wedding. With ample experience and contacts, he/she can quickly provide good suggestions, recommend feasible solutions, and develop suitable plans for the wedding. You may have more than one wedding venue and certain activities at residences, and still, your wedding planner is able to provide support.

Your venue manager can only provide support to matters related to your wedding venue. He/she is usually restricted by the venue's practices and contracted partners/suppliers.

3. Vendor Management

Your wedding planner will be in charge of planning your vendors' schedule and monitor their service times on your wedding day. He/she will also tend to any questions that your vendors may have and make sure vendors' meals are taken care of. With a wedding planner, you have an industry insider leading your team of wedding service providers (and wedding helpers too), keeping them aligned with the plans.

On your wedding day, your venue manager will be busy making preparations with the venue's own team and the team usually focuses on the food and beverage service. It is not your venue manager's duty to manage external vendors that are not partners/suppliers of the venue.

4. Wedding Day (Actual Day) Coordination

Your wedding planner works with you for months to plan out a detailed programme or itinerary for your wedding, from the time you wake up to the end of the event. On the actual day, your wedding planner will execute the approved plan and assist in quality control and even micro-management on behalf of you. Having journeyed with you for many months and having done many weddings before, your wedding planner knows your preferences well and the level of standard that should be achieved.

Depending on the venue's policies, your venue manager will advise you on the time you can start using the venue, the venue return time, and the do's and don'ts on the property. In the case of a hotel, on the actual day, your venue manager will leave the execution to the assigned banquet manager. Most couples only meet their hotel banquet manager for the very first time only on their big day. The banquet manager can only rely on what is stated on the final event order document to understand the couple's preferences.

5. Guest Management

Your wedding planner advises on matters related to your invitation and guest list process. He/she looks out for any VVIPs attending and knows how to manage guest requests and even surprise guests. One of his/her wedding coordinators will set up the registration area, brief the receptionists and attend to late-coming guests when the receptionists are enjoying the wedding celebration as guests. Whereas, this is not within the scope of a venue manager.

A wedding is a happy occasion for every couple in the presence of their family and friends. The planning and considerations prior to a wedding should not be underestimated. It is best for couples to understand the scope of service provided by their venue, and manage their expectations.

If you need constant support and advice and have high expectations for your big day, engage a wedding planner who will be your go-to event professional as early as 12 months before your big day.

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