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Reception Ideas

Reception at hotel venue -- an additional day of coordinator?

Hi ladies --

I was wondering if any of you are planning to have or have had you wedding reception at a hotel where they already have a point person for the reception/dinner activities but also had an outside day of coordinator?  We're thinking of having our ceremony at a church which is about a 15 min drive from the hotel... but part of me is wondering how much herding of cats there will need to be all the way up to cocktail hour at the hotel.  Has anyone done this before?  Would you recommend a day of coordinator in this case?  Or will it be redundant?  I just don't want any of my family/guests to be stuck doing something I didn't think about ahead of time.

Thank you!

Re: Reception at hotel venue -- an additional day of coordinator?

  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited December 2014
    If you're hiring a day of coordinator to direct people to the reception after the ceremony, it seems pointless.  You should have that information on the invitations and you can leave direction cards on a table near the ceremony entrance.

    We used the venue's coordinator only and we had no issues.  No regrets not hiring one.

    ETA - And to your other point about family/guests doing something.....I'd start making lists now of what you need to do and when so you're prepared and no guest has to "work" your wedding.  Good luck!
  • We had a venue person and a separate DOC. It was totally worth it, but we used her for a lot... to set up decor, escort cards, herd guests from ceremony to cocktails to dinner, make sure we kept to the reception timeline, cleaned up and packed our stuff up at the end of the night, put gifts and gift cards in my parents' car during dinner, coordinate with all our vendors and make sure they show'd up in time etc. She was invaluable.
  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    We had someone at our venue and a separate DOC as well, but like @jenijoyk said she did a lot more than the venue coordinator would have done. She brought us lunch that day, helped with set up, coordinated vendors, loaded up the car with gifts and decorations that we were keeping, she even drove all the stuff to our house and put it away for us since we weren't going home that night. She was worth every penny. 
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  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It depends firstly on your venue coordinator. Do you have confidence in her? Secondly, it depends on how much you can afford. Consider that your DJ may be able to do some herding.
  • 714hbbride714hbbride member
    10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited December 2014
    I am also getting married in a hotel and they REQUIRE an outside day of coordinator. Ask the hotel coordinator to see if they have a policy on this (don't waste money if they won't allow one) and if this is something they have seen done before. 

    The hotel coordinator will more than likely be concerned with making sure that their staff are under control. An outside coordinator can help handle all your other vendors, set-up of any DIY items, decorations, etc. and help with cleanup. Depending on the coordinator, they may also do more. 

    It all comes down to how involved your wedding is though. If the hotel is doing most of the work you will probably be fine without a second coordinator. If there are many moving parts it might be good to have this second coordinator. 
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    It depends on what the hotel requires and what services its staff will provide.  If the hotel staff are merely involved in serving the food and setup and cleanup of their own facilities and don't direct guests or outside vendors, set up or clean up any DIY or decorations, then it might be worth it to have a DOC of your own who can locate VIPs for photo shoots, coordinate outside vendors like MCs, DJs or musicians, photographers, florists, direct guests, and coordinate other activities that need it.  If the hotel staff actually do these things themselves, you may not need another coordinator of your own.
  • edited June 2015

    I'm out.
  • I don't know that you need a separate DOC for the purpose you describe. I will say this, sometimes the DOC that is venue specific is not awesome. You don't get to pick this person and their interest is not you, but in protecting the venue and the venue's reputation. I'm sure some have had great experiences but I have seen DOC's that come with a venue be kinda lame. Just my 2 cents, and I'm not sure much can be done about it. 
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  • I vote separate DOC, even if a young, less expensive one.  Little things come up--H's best man lost pin for boutonniere.  Old people arrived for wedding almost an hour early.  Things like this.  And she helped with things like getting place cards out, etc. at the reception.  

    Be really clear what hotel's person will do.  If I had to bet, she isn't going to be helping you with your decorations, etc.  She's there to keep an eye on things for hotel, start sending servers at set times, etc.  She won't be the one under your skirt when your MOH is too drunk to bustle your dress, you have to pee, etc.
    charcoalandblush
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'd say ask a lot of questions of the venue coordinator right away, and your DJ. Every time I asked a question like, "What about favors?" our venue coordinator said she'd take care of it. We even had a dining captain that was a huge help (he even helped us cut our cake properly! who knew!).  In talking to the DJ, he said he'd be the person announcing when cocktail hour was over and when dinner would start. There was really nothing I could think of that they wouldn't handle, and that my mom and I couldn't handle either. 
    Plus, our photographers coordinated our First Look and other photos. In the end, I did not have a separate coordinator, and everything ran perfectly with no stress on my end.  So, just ask a lot of questions of your existing vendors to see what's what before hiring anyone else. 
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    futuremrshp
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    We used the venue coordinator as our only planner, but she also worked for both properties (ceremony and reception venue). Our venue was kind of all inclusive in terms of planning (she also helped us find a vendor for flowers and my MUA).
  • 714hbbride714hbbride member
    10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited December 2014
    I don't know that you need a separate DOC for the purpose you describe. I will say this, sometimes the DOC that is venue specific is not awesome. You don't get to pick this person and their interest is not you, but in protecting the venue and the venue's reputation. I'm sure some have had great experiences but I have seen DOC's that come with a venue be kinda lame. Just my 2 cents, and I'm not sure much can be done about it. 
    This is very true!!! The coordinator at my venue is not that great. I have to keep pulling information from her and she forgets a lot of things that I ask her about. I don't feel like we are connecting well and I am not 100% thrilled about her work, but I LOVE the venue. I see her as more of a sales person than someone that I want running my event. 

    However, I found a GREAT DOC that I feel like I connect with and works very hard to make sure I get what I want. If you don't like the coordinator for your venue it might be another reason that a separate coordinator might be useful.
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  • I also vote separate day-of coordinator. Remember, the venue coordinator works for the venue, not for you. There are likely a lot of things that the venue coordinator won't do or will charge extra for (for example, my venue won't assemble my centerpieces, and charges an extra $500 fee to move chairs from the ceremony area to the reception area, so my DOC will be doing those things).

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    atlastmrsg
  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer

    I'm getting married in a hotel, but also have a DOC.  She's going to help with a ton of things the venue contact wouldn't - help run the rehearsal, check with the hotel blocks to see who is staying at which hotel, distributing guest bags, setting up so the place settings look just how I want them, tipping all the vendors, helping me create a good timeline, etc.

    The venue contact is great, but the DOC works for YOU and will helpt he wedding run as smoothly for you, without worrying about the venue.

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