Location/on site/included co-ordinators

December 1, 2013 lisasimpsonweddingcelebrations

Well I have posted on this topic before. Having come from a hotel background and knowing what the priorities are and where the responsibilities begin and end for an on site, knew that I could write on that topic with confidence.

I haven’t gone to a wedding as a guest for a while, but this summer got to go to one. We have actually done weddings at this location, but having a co-ordinator is not required. So it was interesting to be on the other side and see if the on site co-ordinator was really going to on the day step it up (as in the planning they may give you a vendor list and suggestions, but they don’t help you with budget and really matching vendors to your budget/style or keep you on track with the tasks that need to be done along the way/through the planning months so it really does come down to how good is that person going to be on your day) as someone (hopefully, because sometimes brides do pick unseasoned co-ordinators online or through other means and they get what they paid for there also) you are paying to co-ordinate things on your behalf would do.

Unfortunately what I thought would be the reality, was. I kept gripping my seat at the cere I was getting so hot and bothered with how badly things were being done, and at the reception I just kept shaking my head. Now would any or most of the guests know the difference between a really smooth event or not, if most of the weddings they have gone to have not had paid co-ordinators then chances are they would have no clue that things could have been much better, but they probably did not leave that wedding saying it was the best wedding they have ever gone to (as all my couples tell me their guests tell them, and I hear that from guests as they are leaving also). Would the bride & groom have any idea, probably not, as they are in a bit of an out of mind/body state during most of the event, unless they have someone like me reminding them to take things in/live in the moment etc.

So what happened at this wedding (and I don’t believe the bride knew what I do for a job, and maybe the groom didn’t know if he did it would not have stuck, as I was the wife of someone he knew, so I was not the invited guest, but the wife of someone the groom knew)………….
The dj was hidden in a tree/bush area for the cere, great he was out of sight, but the sun was in his eyes, and he was getting absolutely no ques from the on-site co-ordinator, so he started playing music and played music based on visuals he could see (which is the worst way to do it) and because he was having such a hard time with no ques and the sun in his eyes, all of the guests were aware of him. No idea why the on-site stretched the walking down the aisle out as much as she did, but there was sometimes such a gap between people the guests were laughing. The bride was not hidden, all the on-site had to do was move bride back 5′ and we would not have been able to see her waiting while everyone else was being sent off.
When the ceremony was over, there was no direction/invitation to cocktails, people were left to their own devices as to when to leave the cere and where to go. As I said, having been there before and deciding I needed a drink, I headed off once the family had left the site, and was the first to the cocktail area, others followed, so ultimately everyone found their way there.
For the entrance/dinner/dance portion, I never saw the on-site again and it seemed to be in the djs hands as to the flow of the event. So not sure if the on-site had ever created an order of events and the bride okayed it, or the dj created it and the location basically worked from what he was saying/doing, but there didn’t seem to actually be a plan. There were a couple of toasts and then dinner was served. People were dancing as the meal service took a while and when it was over there was no real announcement of special moments happening. After a bit of dancing, and by this time a lot of the guests had left (started off around 200 I think) the dj had the B&G cut the cake, cake was in a terrible location that sitting at your table you could not see it, and if 10 people had of got up to stand around, you wouldn’t have known it was happening anyway, but no-one seemed to care they were cutting the cake, so it didn’t matter, then they did their first dance, father/daughter, mother/son, again a lot of guests were gone and it seemed so sad to me. Then the worst part of all, the father of the bride, who I am assuming was hosting the wedding talked. Only my table and maybe two others were even looking like we were paying attention to him, other tables were talking, people were over by the bar area, and as I said, a lot of people had left. I was horrified, not sure how he felt but it had to be obvious to him that no one was really listening or caring.

A small note for a bride & groom to consider. A lot of the guests may have left earlier, as from during dinner on the music was very clubby with that electronic sound and heavy beat. The dj played way fewer top 40/current songs we hear on the radio than this club music during the dancing after dad had spoken (and prior also), I don’t get to dance when I am working a wedding, and hear such great songs and see people dancing and enjoying themselves, I was really looking forward to having a good dancing time for once. I only got to hear maybe 4 songs I hear at most weddings I do, everything else was the electronic type music, so we didn’t stay much longer, I know the music is off in that area at 10pm due to noise restraints, and we left at 9pm, I was not ready, but couldn’t stand not dancing and listening to that same sound anymore. My point is, whether it is club music, or country music or jazz music you prefer, if you are inviting a small or large group to your wedding and paying for them to be there, wouldn’t you want them staying and enjoying themselves as long as possible. So have the dj play a variety of music/styles up until around the last 45 mins then when it normally is your close friends left who probably love the same music you do, play that music then. Also maybe give your dj the opportunity to read the crowd and play songs based on what is keeping the dancefloor full or not. The dj was pretty young, so could have been that music was all he knew/thought would work, and also unfortunately I think also based on his inexperience and the couple not thinking it through, he was a horrible mcee, screwed up announcements, was not confident on the mic and at times mumbled.

Now again, I don’t believe the B&G have a clue that from my observation standpoint any of these things happened, could have been done better/prevented, and I think a lot of the guests saw/noticed some of the things but not all but probably said, oh well there is what went wrong at that wedding. But at my weddings nothing goes wrong, vendors I refer are at 110% of their game, and you don’t have to spend a lot to get a good vendor team on board. They had spent good money on their dj, rental items for atmosphere, and the event itself, unfortunately from my vantage they did not get the best experience for the money they spent. I do believe that that is due to not having someone on their side looking at/thinking big picture and knowing what was important to them and giving guidance as to when/what to do during the event, especially for those special momentsand the overall flow. An on-site is going to give direction for the easiest route, what most people do/which is probably because that is what someone way back when at the venue had done and things just never changed when it came to setup of an area or order of events, you are not going to get all the options and thoughts behind alternatives/big picture perspective that you will from someone you are paying to ensure things go smoothly and the vendor team is working as a team through the event.

Till next time
Lisa
http://www.lisasimpsonweddings.com
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714 305 7112

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