25 Jun Should you Hire an Event Coordinator for your special day?
You have spent months planning your event to the last detail. Booked your Caterer, done your menu Tasting, confirmed all the dishes, sent over the special dietary requirements, chosen the size & colors of the table linen, hired the bar staff, ensured you have enough glasses, sorted out the Marquee and much more.
But who will be in control on the day to ensure everything run like clockwork?
So you decide to hire an “On the day Coordinator”, because after all, you just want to celebrate your special day with your family and friends, stress and worry free.
The Coordinator cares about each and every wedding they do as if they were their own. They have a Wedding Day Emergency Black book which contains a solution to fix any problems discreetly & professionally before anyone notices.
They will produce a Plan for the Day agreed by you and your suppliers which will act as the running schedule for the day
They will contact all suppliers to introduce themselves, confirm arrangements and schedules for the day, assist with the set-up of the day’s events at the ceremony and reception venues, co-ordinate the order of the day including ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast, speeches, cutting of the cake, first dance, etc…
Is it what really happens?
Let me share with you a recent experience.
Over the years we have catered for thousands of events from intimate Private Dining to Large outdoor events with a wide range of menus & budgets.
We have worked with probably hundreds of coordinators, event organisers, estate managers, Butlers, Etc…
There are only a hand-full of those that really do what they say they would, but those are “La Crème de La Crème”, One off at the art of juggling demands from all fronts, masters of diplomacy, military tacticians with whom I wouldn’t want to swap places for all the gold in the world.
Unfortunately more often than not, we were not blessed with one of those masters.
- It all starts a couple of weeks before the event, when we received an email out of the blue with a fully timed schedule for the day’s running.
- She or He has volunteered Team Le Frog to arrive at 10h30 for a sit down time of 18h30.
- Allocated a 90 mins meal time for 160 guests (that’s a dish every 20 seconds to you & me) a tall order in a marquee by the sea.
- Timed the clearing & serving to the minute.
Short sharp email back to confirm our schedule, arrival time on the day (13h00), time for our site visit the day prior & estimated time to serve said meal, so that we are all singing for the same sheet.
- 24hrs before the event we head down to the location early enough in the day so we can survey the site for power source, water, lay-out & ensure that all the equipment has arrived & nothing is missing or not working.
This also gives us the opportunity to confirm last details with our client & confirm the schedule for the day of the event. So far all is as it should, yet no sign of the coordinator, must be extremely good at his job if he can afford not to be there.
- “D” Day is finally here, our kitchen team has been hard at work preparing for the day ahead since the early hours of the morning, allowing for some eventual mishaps.(few extra portions just in-case)
Van loaded, portions counted & recounted, temperature checked, travel time confirmed.
One last call to the front of house team to ensure everyone knows what the plan for the day is.
Departure time for each team set at 1hr interval so if anything was to happen on route we have it covered.
Panic phone call from the Coordinator
C: “Hi mate, where are you? How long before you get here?”
LF:“As per the revised schedule we sent over to you 2 weeks ago & the meeting with our client yesterday we are due in at 13h00”
C: “So when are you going to get the table laid & when am I going to show you the table plan? I have to be at the church for 13h00 you know. Why was the marquee not laid yesterday?”
Had she attended the meeting the day before , our team would have explain that due to the heavy downpours & high wind forecasted overnight, we thought it wise not to.
We had also already discussed table plan, sitting plan, last minute meal change with our client the day before & all details emailed over to our Front of House manager.
Our kitchen team arrives on location, equipment check & unloading begins.
We are all hard at work front & back of house alike.
A voice emerges from behind the scene: “Hi I am the coordinator are you the chef? I got to the church an hour early, got my timing wrong”
Let’s give it benefit of the doubt, start afresh so that our client has an enjoyable time.
The next 90 mins goes by in a flash, suddenly no power in the catering tent, no plate warmer, no fan oven & no refrigerated trailer. We’re now cooking on gas.
Quick check at the main, luckily it’s only the circuit breaker, power back on.
Spoke too soon, power off again, now it’s not the breaker but rain water got into the circuit, that’s something we can’t fix.
Grab the phone, call the coordinator who has all the important numbers & will get this sorted in a flash. No luck no one picks up.
Let’s find out where the main power comes from.
By chance we found the site owner, decide to investigate, nothing he can do.
Now over an hour has passed & canapes are due in the next 30 mins, time to be creative.
Still no sign of the coordinator, I guess it will be up to us to get this sorted.
Lengthy chat with the site owner, he has an electrician on speed dial, 45 mins before he gets here.
We are now cutting it fine.
Still no sign of the Coordinator, maybe they’re getting it sorted on the way.
First guests start to arrive, by now we have decided it will have to be DIY style cooking on a 6 ring gas oven & a Pig roaster borrowed from the Farmer next door. Not ideal but better than nothing at least the main course will be hot.
Suddenly that same voice from behind the curtains again:
“So what is it I hear with the electric?”
Quick brief as to the current situation.
What measures as our Coordinator taken to remedy the situation?
Surprise nothing, no one has been called, magic solution for that one in the Black Book.
To top it off the Coordinator has agreed to sit & feed an additional guest without asking prior to ensure we had sufficient food, place setting etc… (This meal also hasn’t been paid for).
In the current situation we can’t guarantee that we will be able to serve the original guests, never mind one that has come from nowhere.
We advised the Coordinator to inform the client of the current situation with the power & that we have had to make some adjustments to the menu & order of service. So that they are aware that it may not be exactly as they expected but we will be going ahead on schedule.
A categorical “NO I am not telling them anything, you have to get it sorted”
Not the professional response I was expecting.
Now it is “make do and mend” so far we are still delivery canapes, serving champagne & getting the job done.
The electrician finally arrives no thanks to the Coordinator, long story short we have to choose between power in the kitchen & lights in the portable toilets.
Easy choice we’ll have power in the kitchen & when the last main has gone switch over the supplies to the toilets.
Another categorical “NO you can’t expect people to not have light in the toilets” from our Coordinator whom by now has become more of a hindrance than anything else.
It is now time for the wedding breakfast, so sign of the Coordinator she has taken refuge in her car although she has assure the bride & groom that she will coordinate the wedding breakfast.
We are all full gas serving the main course when suddenly our coordinator emerges from her car
“ I’m going to lose my S…t” because she has now no idea as to what is going on, what her next step is & she can’t find where the wedding brownies supplied by the Groom Auntie are store.
I could go on and on but by now you surely got my drift.
In conclusion “ On the Day Coordinators “ are not value for money at £ 750.00 ( £ 75.00phr), you would be better designating a trusted member of your family to liaise with the suppliers on the day & spend the cash on you honey moon.
If you think that you need a Coordinator get Wedding Planner that will be with you from the beginning, someone that will help you plan the wedding, put you in contact with the right people & will take the time to meet with all the suppliers so that they understand how each of them operate.
“On the day wedding coordinators” NO
Wedding planners absolutely YES