The Biggest Differences Between a Manager and a Planner

Dear Readers:

One of the things I love most about working in the wedding industry is that it is filled with unbelievable talent and people with remarkable dedication. That said, experience has shown me that most of our talents are not interchangeable. Personally, I find it interesting–and also disappointing– when I hear a prospective bride call in and say she has booked a venue that “comes with a planner”. While I understand that the role of a banquet manager is a very important one, there is a significant difference between a manager and a planner, one that must be well defined.

I find it misleading when roles are not clarified, and the word “planner” is used so loosely. In the spirit of total transparency, I want to use today’s post to help clarify a few misconceptions:

A Planner Works For You, a Banquet Manager Does Not: It’s important for couples to understand that when banquet managers or site coordinators tells them that the venue comes with a coordinator/planner, it’s certainly not a lie, but it’s often very misleading. It’s especially easy to get these confused when you are not in the industry. Most couples do not know the different responsibilities associated with the different job titles. The number one misconception is that banquet managers work for you. The reality is that they are hired by the venue to perform tasks that allow them to make sure that the event runs smoothly on behalf of the venue, but they are not there to assist you in your overall wedding decision process.

Responsibilities Are Different:  A site coordinator’s main responsibilities involve keeping track of time during your events, ensuring proper set up as established by the bride or planner, managing the wait staff, catering liaison, and other venue-elated tasks that are pivotal to the success of the event. Planners on the other hand, are there with you every step of the way. From the moment we meet to the moment you walk down the aisle. We orchestrate all of your details, manage your vendors, create and manage budgets and timelines, assist with contract negotiations, manage the venue selection process, and other countless important details.

So many of us give our lives to this industry because we are passionate, but our desire to help or to secure a client ‘s business should never be greater than understanding our limitations. So when faced with the question, what do you bring to the table, it’s better to come from a place of honesty. We will not only be doing the right thing, but we will also be able to set client expectations as well as protect them from disappointments.

We are all unique and valuable in our own way. Let’s use our talents to shine in our areas of expertise.

Please share your own thoughts about this topic below. I am eager to read your replies.

With a happy heart,


Kathy Romero is the Director of Event Planning for Preston Bailey Designs. She shares her thoughts and advice on Preston’s Blog every Thursday.

(Photo Courtesy of Christian Oth)

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