The Wedding Planner and Banquet Manager – Who Does What?

Kathy Romero, Director of Event Planning at Preston Bailey Design does a great job of clarifying the roles of the reception venue/ banquet manager and wedding planner.  A planner is the thread that will sew every moment and element of your wedding together so everything flows seamlessly.  I often hear that the reception venue manager will take care of coordinating the entire reception, therefore, why is a planner necessary?  This article defines the role of the reception manager – as being just that – managing the reception.  As a planner I am grateful for these amazing folks! They know every nook and cranny of their venue, what is possible with regard to floor plans, food options, etc. They manage their serving staff, making sure everyone from the bartenders to the bus boys are doing their job.  This is their focus, and what I, as a planner, so appreciate them for. However, receptions have many moving parts, i.e. photographer, videographer, Dj or band, possibly a photo booth, family, bridal party, etc. Each of these elements are integral elements that need orchestrating.  A planner’s role, will be to make sure that all of these facets will play their part seamlessly and according to the bride and groom’s wishes.

In my experience, when venue/banquet managers work harmoniously with wedding planners, the results are nothing short of spectacular! Each is focusing on performing their roles to the fullest, ultimately creating an amazing experience for the couple!

The Biggest Differences Between a Manager and a Planner

April 25, 2013

Dear Readers:

One of the things I love most about working in the wedding industry is that it is filled with unbelievable talent and people with remarkable dedication. That said, experience has shown me that most of our talents are not interchangeable. Personally, I find it interesting–and also disappointing– when I hear a prospective bride call in and say she has booked a venue that “comes with a planner”. While I understand that the role of a banquet manager is a very important one, there is a significant difference between a manager and a planner, one that must be well defined.

I find it misleading when roles are not clarified, and the word “planner” is used so loosely. In the spirit of total transparency, I want to use today’s post to help clarify a few misconceptions:

A Planner Works For You, a Banquet Manager Does Not: It’s important for couples to understand that when banquet managers or site coordinators tells them that the venue comes with a coordinator/planner, it’s certainly not a lie, but it’s often very misleading. It’s especially easy to get these confused when you are not in the industry. Most couples do not know the different responsibilities associated with the different job titles. The number one misconception is that banquet managers work for you. The reality is that they are hired by the venue to perform tasks that allow them to make sure that the event runs smoothly on behalf of the venue, but they are not there to assist you in your overall wedding decision process.

Responsibilities Are Different:  A site coordinator’s main responsibilities involve keeping track of time during your events, ensuring proper set up as established by the bride or planner, managing the wait staff, catering liaison, and other venue-elated tasks that are pivotal to the success of the event. Planners on the other hand, are there with you every step of the way. From the moment we meet to the moment you walk down the aisle. We orchestrate all of your details, manage your vendors, create and manage budgets and timelines, assist with contract negotiations, manage the venue selection process, and other countless important details.

So many of us give our lives to this industry because we are passionate, but our desire to help or to secure a client ‘s business should never be greater than understanding our limitations. So when faced with the question, what do you bring to the table, it’s better to come from a place of honesty. We will not only be doing the right thing, but we will also be able to set client expectations as well as protect them from disappointments.

We are all unique and valuable in our own way. Let’s use our talents to shine in our areas of expertise.

Please share your own thoughts about this topic below. I am eager to read your replies.

With a happy heart,


Kathy Romero is the Director of Event Planning for Preston Bailey Designs. She shares her thoughts and advice on Preston’s Blog every Thursday.

(Photo Courtesy of Christian Oth)

A Few Words from the Father of the Bride

This little video snippet is from the June 9, 2012 wedding of Sara Hawley and Daniel Graciaa. The ceremony took place in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The reception was held on the lawn of the historic Tippecanoe Place in South Bend, Indiana.  The brides father, Dr. Phil Hawley completely caught me off guard, during his reception toast, when he directed his comments toward me. Here is what he had to say:

Cyndi Basker Rocks! from Keith Anderson Films on Vimeo.

Special thanks to Keith Anderson, Keith Anderson Films for sending this and allowing me to relive this sweet moment.

Bridesmaid Gift Idea for the Notre Dame Bride!

If you are planning to have your wedding on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, we think these flip flops from Ipanema are the perfect bridesmaid gift! Great for them to wear at the reception once the dancing has begun – and long after the wedding is over as well, they will be a great remembrance of the time they spent with you at your wedding at Notre Dame. Featuring a navy blue foot bed, gold straps with kelly green and a blue crystal embellishment, these flip flops are coveted for their comfort, and affordability. Priced at only $20.00, they are a gift that can fit into anyone’s budget.  Available at our sister company – Girly Girl Gifts & Accessories, contact us today to order!