Archive for the ‘Best Practices’Category

Planner vs. Coordinator: A Discussion of Definitions

wedding planner wedding coordinator | by E Delgardio (c) 2012

Today I’m sharing an article by  Amanda Peterson, PBC, a fellow member of the  Association of Bridal Consultants and owner of Ocean Breeze Weddings and Events, LLC  based in Destin, FL.  (Hi Amanda!)

This article appeared in our ABC Florida newsletter and I was motivated to share it here on my blog for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, it centers on an important question that often comes up for discussion and debate: What is the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Wedding Coordinator?   Years ago – which could be defined as subsequent to the invention of TV but prior to the release of the movie “The Wedding Planner“, these terms were seen by most as interchangeable.  (And while you’re at it, you may as well throw into the mix: Wedding Consultant, Bridal Consultant and Wedding Specialist plus any other variations that may be familiar to you.)  So, while the topic is not new, it remains a hot-button issue among industry pros.   However, the good news is that as a result of all this talk, we – the event professionals – realize the true benefits of clarifying our roles so that we can align ourselves correctly with the duties and responsibilities of our chosen title.

The wedding industry has grown substantially over the past few years which says great things about the industry. However, with so many people entering this field, education and standardized verbiage becomes more of a necessity. This is especially true when it comes to titles to describe your duties or what services you provide. Several years ago, the Convention Industry Council started to ask the entire event industry to standardize many of their activities and verbiage so customers could more easily tell the difference in services. Most areas of the event industry have done so, but many in the wedding industry have no knowledge of this and confusion has arisen between services actually being provided. When titles are standardized, it helps stop the confusion of the brides wishing to purchase services. They can better ascertain the differences between wedding planning companies as well as venues with all inclusive packages. I have also noticed this confusion roll over when vendors in the industry do not understand the duties pertaining to particular titles. For instance, there was a DJ who insisted that a planner was to only coordinate the ceremony and not actually have anything to do with the reception. This DJ refused to discuss the reception timeline with the planner and insisted in only speaking with the bride since a DJ is the only one to coordinate a reception. This confusion about titles and duties of vendors could have easily been avoided if standardized titles were better known. Many people in the industry believe that the titles “planner” and “coordinator” mean the same thing and they use them interchangeably.

To help in this area, the below definitions are based on the same recognized standard titles and duties in the corporate world. The only difference is the added term “wedding” in front of the title and the definition tweaked to describe the duties for a wedding.

Wedding Planner: This is someone who helps the bride and groom with all aspects of planning their wedding and the exact duties will differ from company to company and package to package. However, in essence, a planner is someone who will oversee all aspects of the wedding as required including finding needed vendors such as a photographer or DJ, set up site visits for ceremony and reception sites, set up tastings for cake and catering, negotiate vendor contracts, organize and manage room blocks, works with the bride to formulate the wedding day timeline, coordinate the actual wedding ceremony, reception and the farewell of the bride and groom. The planners are there to oversee all vendors, set up, break down and essentially make sure everything the bride and groom have ordered is provided and they take care of any unforeseen tasks on the wedding day. The planner does the actual coordinating of all aspects of the wedding day – not only the ceremony. (In the corporate world a planner is the person whose job it is to arrange every aspect of planning and conducting a meeting or event. – The Convention Industry Manual – 7th Edition)

Wedding Coordinator: This is actually what many venue and smaller wedding companies with preplanned packages provide and call it a “wedding planner”. A wedding coordinator runs the rehearsal and makes sure everyone knows where to go and what to do for the ceremony. On the wedding day, they will line up the processional and get the wedding party down the aisle then make sure the recessional is organized. They sometimes also line up the wedding party for the reception entrance. That is usually it because a coordinator works only on the ceremony. Church representatives will also fit into this category of coordinator instead of actual planner. (In the corporate event world, a coordinator is the assistant to the planner.)

I hope this gets everyone in the wedding industry discussing different titles and their duties so we can join the other organizations with standardization. Once we can agree on duties of provider’s titles, maybe we can discuss how wedding companies and venues can show how their services differ. This way we can help each other with business instead of having brides think that a hotel wedding planner provides the same service as a wedding planning company.

~Amanda Peterson, PBC

wedding-planner-wedding-coordinator

“Did you say chosen title ?”  Yes.  The wedding and special events industry is somewhat unique in this respect:  People are free to call themselves whatever they choose.   This is certainly a contributing factor to the overall confusion, and it’s quite unfortunate that most consumers are unaware of this.   I give tremendous credit to professional associations such as ABC for creating and trademarking terminology to designate levels of achievement (i.e., Professional Bridal Consultant, Master Bridal Consultant).  Advancements of this type are very important, as they set the bar.   Personally, I hope to see more of this type of credentialing in the future.  How about you?

(c) 2012 E. Delgardio

12

06 2012

WOW! Moms at The Special Event 2012

I'm a WOW Mom!

January 2012 – Tampa, Florida

This dynamic session was organized by Michelle Bergstein-Fontanez, Director of Marketing, Exhilarate Events/BeatCreative  along with a panel of notable event industry moms:

WOW! Moms (left to right): Erin, Kelly, Elisa, Stacie, Filomena, Aymee #WOWMoms #TSE2012

How do industry mothers juggle a healthy family life & career all at once? What drives us to continue? What keeps us from throwing in the towel? How do we set the example? What are we teaching? What is the legacy we will leave?

As a panel, we – ten mothers from all facets of the events industry, and from all parts of the country – shared a glimpse into our home life; sharing family photos and personal narratives, and reflecting on our individual struggles and victories.   There was also a very heartwarming introduction video featuring pre-interviews of each panel members’ kids sharing their unique perspectives on their mother’s careers.

Attendees joined the conversation, sharing experiences, laughter, and a few tears.  This is how your fellow event industry mothers are making it happen day to day!

WOW! Moms (front to back): Stacie, Kelly, Christine, Erin, Aymee, Filomena, Annette #WOWMoms #TSE2012

WOW! Moms (front to back): Stacie, Kelly, Christine, Erin, Aymee, Filomena, Annette

Thoughts on being a WOW! Mom

It was quite an honor to share the stage with such a wonderful and accomplished group of women!  I hardly think of myself as a role model.  Like everyone else, I have my struggles, insecurities and regrets about being a working parent – especially in the hospitality and event industry.  I worry and wonder: Am I trying to juggle too much?  Am I spending enough time with my child?  Should I put more time into that proposal or hang the holiday decorations?   Is it worth it?  Is it WORKING?

Obviously I am not alone.  And I belive that was one of the key messages of the session: Let other event industry moms know that they are not alone.

While scripting and developing the session, Michelle asked each of us to focus on a specific point or realm of experience.  My topic was Growing Pains.  As one of the more senior members of the group, with a child who has literally grown up in the business, it was a unique opportunity for me to speak candidly about the phases of my life – both as a wife and mother, and as an event planning professional.  In order to write my notes for the session, I had to stop – literally s.t.o.p. – and reflect on 15+ years of personal and professional growth.  The highs. The lows. The victories and achievement. The tears and challenges.  I realized that the path which was initially unclear became a road to self-discovery and fulfillment.  Mind you it was a twisty-turny and winding road with potholes, but nonetheless a road.

I realize it’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t go according to plan (rather, our plans).   The stress of meeting the daily demands on our time and energy can be overwhelming, exhausting, and even discouraging.   WOW! Moms are the women who support, encourage and motivate others; we all have this ability.  It’s good to be reminded that we can (and must!) choose to focus on looking forward, not behind.  It’s important to listen to your inner voice and make changes – whether it’s eating dinner together more often, or making time to do that ‘thing’ that has been on the back burner too long.   All we can do is our best.  We are bound to make mistakes along the way: could have, would have, should have…  Instead of letting these phrases haunt you, simply pray that you learn from mistakes and don’t repeat them.

WOW Moms at TSE2012

(c) E. Delgardio, 2012

03

02 2012

Business of Brides Conference 2011

I recently returned from the Business of Brides conference, which is ABC‘s annual conference.   The Conference was held in the ahhhmazzzinng and historic Tremont Plaza Hotel and Grand in Baltimore MD – let me just say that this venue was spectacular!  If I hadn’t promised myself to keep this post on point, I could go on endlessly about The Grand’s incredible ballrooms, furnishings and regal elegance. Fall leaves near Baltimore Inner Harbor

It was great to travel north during the Fall… Florida living does not offer much in the way of seasons, so it was wonderful to breathe the crisp air and enjoy the colorful scenery.   The weather was terrific and we got to explore the Inner Harbor area and taste crab and seafood specialties at the local eateries.

So much for the fun stuff; this was a business trip after all.

Being a planner is my career.  Because I take my career as a wedding professional seriously, attending industry conferences is a priority to me – it’s essential my professional development.   This year’s conference required significant advance preparation since I was slated to present an educational session with an ABC colleague, Heather Canada, MBC.   I was also preparing the necessary formalities in anticipation of receiving the professional designation of Master Bridal Consultant(tm) – a long time goal.   (Not to mention packing – which I started two weeks early, lest I forget something!)

I left for Baltimore the morning after completing a sensational wedding for one of our clients.  I think I was running on pure adrenaline (thank goodness for that!).  After arriving at BWI and checking in to the hotel, I polished up a few details and then went before a panel of Masters, the three Master Bridal Consultants who would view and judge my presentation.  I don’t know why this is such a nerve-wracking experience, but most most candidates agree that it is.   And while I did my best – considering a few technical difficulties and an undeniable level of exhaustion – I could not say that I nailed it.

The next morning, the MBC candidates were gathered together and we waited as colleagues were called in and out of rooms…  Eventually my name was called and I entered a meeting room along with a number of others.  I saw many familiar faces but still no indication of success or failure, until Lois Pearce announced that all of us present had advanced to Master Bridal ConsultantOh my goodness!  I was literally shocked – and elated! – and proud, too.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment – everyone was cheering and hugging and congratulating each other.  It was awesome. {happy sigh}

Elisa Delgardio Master Bridal Consultant(tm)

So now I  join the ranks of the very talented and dedicated professionals who have achieved either (or both!) the Master Bridal Consultant or Master Wedding Vendor designation – hooray!!
*As of this writing, there are 71 MBC/MBV’s worldwide.

 

16

11 2011

Reflections on Creativity and Lady Gaga

“I define my own existence. I define my own identity. I define my own beauty for myself.”
“No one can define who you are.” ~ Lady Gaga – Inside the Outside MTV Series

I am constantly fascinated by the creative process.  And I never cease to be amazed by creative people.

The funny thing about being creative:  I can’t help comparing myself to others (“Why didn’t I think of that?” – or, “I never would’ve thought of that” – or, “WOW! I wish I could do that!”).

Ok – I’ll give it to Lady Gaga; that young lady is uber-talented and creative to boot!  Heck, Barbara Walters even compared her to Oprah!   But this is not exactly a post about Lady Gaga. It just so happens that I began this blog post and coincidentally was interrupted and then unexpectedly ended up watching the Lady Gaga interview that ran on MTV tonight. I guess it was destiny… {sigh}
Lady Gaga on Oprah - May 2011

But seriously, back to my point about creativity, and insight, which has now taken on a gi-normous new dimension: I find myself making comparisons to Lady Gaga.    For example,why has it taken me almost twice as many years to achieve the same level of security and self-confidence?  Oh my!  I can’t even imagine how that level of maturity and insight would have impacted my life, and carrer!  God bless her.  God bless Lady Gaga.

I loved what she said about collaborating, because that was one of the thoughts I wanted to touch on.  It’s heartening to see that she – with all her talents – admires and desires to work with others.  Awesome.  Inspiring.

You see, for as talented as I am, I enjoy collaborating with my clients as much as I love collaborating with my colleagues.  I am constantly learning and constantly teaching.  Therefore, I am constantly growing.   I may even be blossoming… but I’m not sure.  {wink}

So, before this gets too deep, I just wanted to thank those who love me, and those who put their faith in me, and those who nurture my creativity…  and Lady Gaga who helped inspire this post.  And, last but not least, I am grateful for this incredible career that allows me to collaborate with others.

If you have any thoughts  or experiences related to creative collaboration, please share them.

PS:  Shout out to Brooklyn and NYC!

© 2011 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved

 

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05 2011
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