When working with our brides, we love to recommend the fabulous vendors we often work with. When we ask, “Do you have a wedding planner?” One of the responses is “No, my venue has one.” However, a wedding planner and a catering manager (often called a wedding coordinator at the property) are two different things! The jobs of both the wedding planner and the catering manager are extremely important for the success of your wedding day. However, they are complementary to each other and do not carry the same role.

Regina Osgood, owner and premier wedding planner of Meant2Be Events breaks it down for us.

Your catering manager is there to make sure your wedding day exceeds your expectations in regards to food, beverage, operations and in-house AV. A wedding planner, however, is your personal consultant that is present in all aspects of the planning process and without hesitation, will mediate, negotiate, and co-create with you and for you. Knowing the specific services the two roles provide – and having accurate expectations of each – will help ensure there are no last minute surprises on your wedding day.

Your Catering Manager will:
– Provide a personalized tour of the venue
– Act as a menu consultant for all food and beverage selections
– Detail your banquet event order/catering contract, outlining specifics, and communicate to the operational team
– Create an estimate of charges outlining your financial commitments to the venue
– Create a floor plan of your function space, in order for you to provide seating arrangements
– Arrange and attend your menu tasting
– Oversee the ceremony and reception room(s) set up, food preparation, and other venue operations
– Act as the on-site liaison between your wedding planner and venue operations staff
– Ensure a seamless transition to the venue’s banquet captain once the grand entrance has occurred
– Review your banquet checks for accuracy, prior to the completion of the final bill

Your Wedding Planner will:
-Provide any and all referrals necessary to execute the clients wishes with benefits of negotiate pricing
– Assist with etiquette and protocol for invitations, family matters, ceremony, and toasts
– Create a custom look with personalized details and décor
– In person mock up design appointment so you can “see, touch, feel” the details before you decide
– Create a comprehensive time line for your rehearsal and wedding day, including the ceremony and reception
– Work with you to organize and coordinate your ceremony rehearsal
– Remind bridal party of all pertinent call times and “don’t forgets” on the wedding day
– Confirm call times and details with all vendors several days prior to the wedding day
– Be available to have conversations in the evenings and weekends
– Act as the liaison between band/DJ, florist, photographer, videographer, and other vendors to for seamless operation
– Ensure that the ladies have their corsages and bouquets, etc., and assist with the pinning of boutonnieres
– Deliver and arrange ceremony programs, escort cards, place cards, favors and any personal items
– Coordinate the ceremony (line up bridal party, assist bride with dress, etc.)
– Coordinate the reception (grand entrance, first dance, toasts, and cake cutting, etc.)
– Collect any personal items at the conclusion of the reception
– Establish room blocks at various hotels to ensure that guests have accommodations of their choice
– Create a vendor payment schedule and disperse payments and gratuities
– Review catering contracts to ensure all your requests are communicated to the catering manager

Having this information, and knowing what you should expect, will help you to get all the necessary support for your wedding day.