Five things to ask your wedding co-ordinator

27 Nov 2017

What to ask your venue's wedding co-ordinator and how to get the most out of their services

Image: Focal Point Photography

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Vicki Dewdney and Deborah Allen, wedding co-ordinators at The Redworth Hall Hotel in County Durham, part of The Cairn Collection, have nearly 15 years’ experience between them in organising weddings, from a two-day multi-cultural wedding with more than 300 guests to an intimate soiree for just 18 people. Here, they share their insights into how to get the very best from your venue’s wedding co-ordinator.

Your wedding co-ordinator is there to ensure your wedding day is a wondrous event that you remember forever. They have in-depth knowledge of how your specific venue can work for you, if you’re using one. To use wedding co-ordinators only to book your day, make dining reservations or arrange a spa treatment, is to waste their experience - organising weddings at your chosen venue is what they do every day, so make the most of their expertise.

While a wedding planner is further removed from your venue and works to pull all elements together to achieve the day of your dreams, a venue’s wedding co-ordinator works on-site at the venue and his/her services usually come as part of your venue package. They will have specialist knowledge of that venue and will work with recommended suppliers to bring your vision to life. 

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Wedding co-ordinators have seen the space used to create magnificent wedding celebrations numerous times and will know what works best. “To see the venue transformed for each special day is one of the best parts of my job” says Vicki Dewdney. “When we first meet the happy couple, some have set ideas and others are open to suggestions; to be on hand to help them imagine all the possibilities is great.”

Deborah Allen added: “To know the venue inside out means we can solve issues before they arise, not something all wedding planners can do, because of their more limited knowledge on what the venue can provide.” 

Never forget, the best wedding co-ordinators are in their job because they love helping couples create a fabulous day, in a venue they spend their days filling with love and memories.

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Get to know your wedding co-ordinator

The venue’s wedding co-ordinator is just as important as the venue. Even if the venue is your ideal, if you don’t get on with its wedding co-ordinator you’ll have an uphill struggle in making this landmark occasion in your life the best it can be. Spend time getting to know your wedding co-ordinator and making sure you gel with them, as this can help turn a great wedding venue into an exceptional location for your wedding. 

Ask about their experience

Getting to know your co-ordinator should involve a chat about their experience. Ask them for examples of the weddings they’ve co-ordinated before, not just at this venue, but others too. Try and find out what they did to make those special occasions exceptional. With sensitivity, you can also ask if they’ve ever had a disaster at a wedding, and what they did to save the day. A wedding co-ordinator’s answers will give you a feel for how fluent they are in the creation process.

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Image: Focal Point Photography

Talk money early

Don’t be afraid to talk money, especially if you’ve got a tight budget. You’ll be surprised at how many little tricks a good wedding co-ordinator knows to make your budget stretch further. This can be something as simple as reducing spend on less important elements of the day and ensuring those characteristics that will make it fabulous are where the bulk of your money goes. Use your wedding co-ordinator’s budget-refining knowledge of their venue well, and you may find that what you felt was out of your budget is within your reach.

Ask them to suggest ideas

Ask your co-ordinator to open-up about their ideas for creating unique wedding ceremonies and celebrations. Let them unleash their creativity. Ask, “If there were no limitations, including budget, what would you do to make a wedding here incredible?” and “Now you know a little more about me and my fiancé, what do you think would work for us?”. If you like their suggestions, but they are outside of your budget, ask what they can do to create a similar theme to meet yours.

Also, you can bring your focus back to the specific venue, “What can this venue offer us that no other in the area can?”, “How do you suggest we make the most of this venue, including working with your team?”. You’ll be surprised at how much the answers to these questions reveals about the venue and the wedding co-ordinator. 

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Listen

Finally, listen to everything they say – read between the lines. Off-the-cuff remarks can reveal a lot about your wedding co-ordinator and the venue team’s professionalism but, you should equally pay attention to what they don’t say. When discussing their work and previous experience, do they use words, phrases and anecdotes that demonstrate their care and enthusiasm for what they’re doing? Listen for warmth and excitement in their tone of voice and the stories they tell. Do they give you a feeling – or any examples – of a willingness to go the extra mile for a couple, simply because of an eagerness to please? It’s crucially important to work with a wedding co-ordinator that loves organising weddings.