This blog post from 2014 was by far our most popular post on the site. Because of its popularity, we still know that this is a confusing topic. So, we have decided to revamp this post a bit with even more information!
As a Wedding Day Coordinator we get asked all the time: What is the difference between a Venue Manager, a Maitre d’, and a Wedding Day-of Coordinator? My venue comes with a Maitre d’, do I really need a Wedding Day Coordinator?
While each one can play an important role in the overall success of an event, sometimes it can be confusing to understand what function each person is responsible for (and what they are not), so here’s the skinny of who does what!
The Venue Coordinator
The Venue Manager or Sales Manager is typically the person that gave you the tour of the venue initially, reviewed the contractual details, and sold you the package for your big day. The manager usually supervises the many departments and staff that play a part in making an event successful at the venue. Usually once the contract is signed, your wedding details get handed over to the Maitre D’ who will be there day of.
Update: a lot of the time, your venue manager is not there the full day, if at all on the day of your wedding. Their main role is to get you set up with the venue details leading up to your day, then have those contracted details taken over by the Maitre’D that’s assigned to your wedding that week. If this is a concern for you, having a Day-of Coordinator for your big day will ensure a lot of those contract details get carried out, as they will be there the whole day working alongside all your other vendors making sure everything is going smooth.
The Maitre D’
The Maitre d’, who is sometimes referred to as the Captain or even the on-site Event Coordinator (can be super misleading I know), is the person who manages their onsite staff make sure all goes well on the catering side of the wedding. In essence he or she is the headwaiter who directs communication between the kitchen and the reception space allowing for a great dining experience. The Maitre d’ assigns the table orders and meal delivery to the wait staff keeps the chef on time and manages the meal flow throughout the night. This is the person who will manage and answer any meal-related issues or questions for the guests; as well as ensure that the guest of honors is well fed. The Day of Coordinator works directly with the Maitre d’ to ensure proper timing of the day events to keep the schedule on time and stress-free (with the Maitre d’ directing the venue staff and the Day of Coordinator directing the wedding or event vendors).
A lot of times the venue will say that the Maitre d’ can handle a lot of the tasks that a Day of Coordinator would normally take care of, however, this is outside of the scope of their role and they will always take care of the venue responsibilities first.
Sometimes, the venue also comes with a Bridal Attendant. This person exclusively handles the needs of the couple, sweetheart table, and the family or bridal party tables. The Bridal Attendant ensures the VIPs are well taken care of and have lots to eat and drink throughout the night. Sometimes they may be in charge of setting up the escort cards and basic wedding items as well as bustling the bride’s dress if needed. Both the Maitre d’ and Bridal Attendant are usually assigned to a wedding the week of the event and don’t meet the couple for the first time till the day of.
Update: all of this is still true and we stress to all couples getting married – if you are planning the wedding yourself (Ie; no wedding planner) then having a Wedding Day Coordinator is ESSENTIAL. They will know your wedding better than you do by that point, so day-of they work hand-in-hand with the Maitre d’, Bridal Attendant and other vendors, carrying out your vision as if it were you!
While the onsite venue staff can surely handle setting up your wedding items, they don’t really know you on a personal level as your DOC does. So they may not understand exactly how you want something set up and styled for example and have it set up just like the wedding the night before.
The Wedding Day-of Coordinator (DOC)
A Wedding Day Coordinator is hired to work the day of the wedding and guide you through the planning process prior to the big day. The nice thing about DOC’s is that they work for the couple, not the venue. They are responsible for everything on the day of giving you the Peace of Mind that you need so you can ultimately enjoy your day. The DOC is the person who keeps the wedding as stress-free as possible ensuring that all emergencies or mishaps are taken care of so the day is seamlessly brought together. The DOC is the person who ensures that the VIP wishes are carried out and oversees everything from the ceremony to the reception, directs the vendors, answer the guests’ questions, and makes sure that all your concerns are tended to.
Some of our responsibilities as a Wedding Day Coordinator are, but are not limited to: setting up and styling the venue, setting up your place cards and gift table, adding any extra decor elements that you planned all the way to make sure everything is ready for the ceremony. Some other responsibilities include making sure all the vendors are on-site on time, prepared and fully briefed of any important wedding day details (even the last minute changes and updates), directing guests to their seats, distributing the bridal flowers to the bridal party and family, lining every one up for the ceremony processional, giving your musicians queues, wrangling up family and friends for photos, bustling the bride’s gown, facilitating the formalities of the event, packing up all of your decorations and gifts at the end of the night and making sure all guests safely leave for the after party…. and the list goes on! We do this all while making sure the day is going according to plan and taking care of any issues without bothering the bride and groom. We become the point person on the wedding day for vendors and other staff. and hand out final payments and tip envelopes as well.
The biggest myth about a Wedding Day Coordinator is that “you don’t need one”. This is simply not true and can actually be the best investment you make for your wedding. Many couples don’t realize how many large and small details come together to make a wedding day a complete success. A wedding coordinator is there to ensure that all is well!
Update: Having a Day of Coordinator by your side and through the wedding planning process is seriously the way to stay sane! We come in handy for non-traditional venues like vineyards, barns, or private homes that don’t have traditional wedding staff. Also for church ceremonies – hey, who’s going to get you all down the aisle and on time?? Having a DOC also means you don’t have to assign family or friends to help out the day of. They should enjoy the day too, right?
Hopefully this post is still helpful in explaining the difference between the roles of a Venue Manager, the Maitre d’, and a Wedding Day Coordinator, and why having just the venue staff sometimes it is just not enough in the end. The Wedding Day Coordinator is a vital role when it comes to your wedding day and provides many benefits beyond just the day-of.
If you had any questions or want to chat more about day of coordination stuff, just give us a call or shoot us an email!
The DMS Girls!