Vendor Roles and Responsibilities
You have interviewed, researched, and narrowed it down to the best wedding vendors or event service providers in San Diego (or in your area.) You may have even already booked a few, some, or all of the vendors you need. Even though you have thoroughly read through their contract or service agreement, do you really understand in detail what the vendor is offering you? Do you understand your expectations as the client? Do you know what their responsibilities are to YOU as the client, both before and on the day of your event?
At San Diego Life Events, our staff includes members of our award winning wedding planning and day of coordination team that can help you understand these details as they relate to you and your celebration specifically. The list below offers some general guidance on what you can likely expect from each vendor type you may be booking for your big day. However, no two events are the same, and sometimes things may be a little different than the norm, so definitely chat more with your Day Of Coordinator, Wedding Planner, or Event Planner.
Venue: Provide a safe space as contracted for client's event and manage all logistics as it relates to the actual space for your wedding or event. Your venue contact is not your day of coordinator and their main focus and priority is that their venue rules are followed and everything at that location remains in-tact before/during/after your big day. Be sure to follow the venue's guidelines you agreed to when you signed their contract so you can get your security deposit back, if applicable.
Tip: Consider booking a weekday for your event to save money.
Caterer: Everything food related - your catering team should be licensed, certified, and insured to handle all food, trained staff, food handlers certificates, etc. They are also responsible for setting guest tables (utensils, napkins with special fold, chargers, plates, anything food related on tables,) serving guest meals or overseeing buffet if self-
serve, table-side water pour if applicable, any special meal requests (vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc,) flipping the space if applicable (if your ceremony and reception are happening in the same room or area and requires tables and chairs to be moved after your ceremony,) disposing of waste at the end of the event (some venues require all garbage to be removed from premises which caterer should handle on your behalf.)
Tip: The cost to pay for after-hours service with your caterer will be lower than the security deposit you risk losing by not having items properly disposed of or handled throughout the event.
Bartender: Almost everything beverage related, licensed and insured to handle all liquor (liability reduced from client in event of accident or issue,) disposing of beverage/bar waste similarly to the above. Guests should not be serving themselves alcoholic beverages at your event due to the risk and liability.
Tip: If you booked an open-style venue, it may be more cost-effective to hire a bartending service and then providing your own alcohol. Talk to the beverage professionals and see what your options are.
Rental company: Responsible for delivery, setup, and teardown/pickup of all rented items like tables, chairs, linens.
Tip: Pay for the rental company to setup their items. It will save not only time and stress for your bridal party and vendor team, but will also ensure efficient setup and appropriate use of rented items so you are not charged a fee for any items returned in questionable or unsatisfactory condition.
Photographer: The photographer is responsible for providing the client with a shot list (list of what and who will be in photos you desire taken at your event) or review list with client directly, in detail, so necessary/desired photos are captured on your big day. If there's a photo you would like taken, folks you'd like in your photos, this needs to be shared with/discussed with your photographer directly and it is the photographer's responsibility for collecting that information.
Tip: You don't necessarily need to book a photographer from beginning to end of your event. Keep in mind that sometimes, for example at a wedding, the last couple hours are you and your guests eating, drinking, and dancing. Nothing new to take photos of will likely occur, and you can only capture so many photos of folks eating and dancing. Consider booking your 'tog for just 5 - 6 hours for a 8 - 12 hour event. After all, they will be on their feet all day, too.
DJ/MC: The DJ will provide client with music list/discuss desired songs for each event that takes place. They will
also make all announcements at your event in a fun and professional manner according to timeline and as directed by Day Of Coordinator. (The DJ or MC is NOT your Day Of Coordinator. They are not trained as such and need to focus on their responsibilities keeping the vibe alive!) They should be flexible and alert during your event, as there is always a chance things may need to be moved around, working side-by-side with your Day Of Coordinator for Order of Events items, any announcements, releasing tables if applicable, etc.
Tip: Be sure your DJ and Day Of Coordinator have each other's contact info before the day of your event so they can connect about important details on your big day
Florist: Creates and sets up floral arrangements before event begins, as contracted and agreed upon with client. They will also pick up any rented floral items at the end of the event, if applicable. The florist sets up all floral arrangements that they design and create. All large, bulky, rare, unique pieces should be placed/fixed by florist. Arch pieces/spray/décor should always be placed/fixed by florist. Day Of Coordinator may move ceremony pieces to reception space if florist not on site if they feel comfortable handling the items, for example after a wedding ceremony has ended and photos have been completed in the space.
Tip: Save money on flowers by asking your florist to use what is currently in season. If you are booking a florist for your wedding, don't forget a Toss Bouquet (so you can keep your own bridal bouquet, if desired.)
Day Of Coordinator: This person is NOT the same as your venue contact or site coordinator. Your hired Day Of Coordinator is a professional that is experienced and trained to support YOU 100% in any venue, under any circumstance. They act as your first point of contact on the day of the event for all booked vendors and helpers so you can relax and focus on getting ready. The Day Of Coordinator reasonably oversees client's booked vendors, assuring contracts executed appropriately if provided to coordinator by client, manage day of timeline and order of
events, make changes on the spot as needed, support service providers when deemed necessary and when appropriate/ within scope of work, oversee setup and placement of table décor items (such as vases, guest favors, etc,) ensure detail décor list provided by client is followed to a T, use best judgement in placing décor or additional items as needed, provide support to client as reasonably necessary, queue bridal party during ceremony processional, and any additional duties as contracted in writing in advance with client. Note: Your Day Of Coordinator is NOT your MC (so please be sure to hire a professional.) They are also NOT your main decorator. Discuss with your Coordinator any décor specifics before the day of your event if you need additional support beyond the scope of work.
Tip: Ensure your Day Of Coordinator is licensed and insured. Talk to your Coordinator prospects prior to booking about their experience with your type of event. Choose someone you vibe well/connect with as this person will be your Wedding or Event BFF. Trust that this person has your back and truly wants what is best for you.
Reminder: your venue "coordinator," banquet captain, or contact person is NOT the same as your Day Of Coordinator. You will need a Day Of Coordinator that you hire to support all logistics at your event, particularly for an event as important and detailed as a wedding.
Client: As the Client, there are a few things for you to remember, too :) Don't forget to provide booked vendor information to your Day Of Coordinator so they can reach out to each one as necessary. The Day Of Coordinator is not responsible for chasing you around to obtain this information, so we recommend you do it right away or as you hire new service providers. You should always provide timely and detailed responses to vendors so they can continue to work for you without delay. This also fosters an ideal, respectful, professional and FUN relationship with booked vendors that want to see you so happy on the day of your celebration. At the end of your event, you as the client are responsible for your take-home items: provide information to your Coordinator so they know who will be loading personal take-home items where or into what assigned vehicle/location (for liability reasons this should not be done by any vendor.)
Book your favorite San Diego Wedding Planner or the best Day Of Coordinator from our team San Diego Life Events for your wedding or celebration today!
The contents of this post are based on the opinions and professional experience of Rachel Weinshanker, award winning wedding planner in San Diego. All photos in this post were taken by Rugger Productions. Photo 1: Wedding Planner Rachel Weinshanker with Clients at their San Diego Wedding. Photo 2: Wedding Planner Rachel Weinshanker and an assistant setting up an outdoor reception for a La Jolla Wedding. Photo 3: Wedding Planner Rachel Weinshanker with Wedding DJ Bryce discussing details for a client's wedding in San Diego. Photo 4: Wedding Planner Rachel Weinshanker posing for a photo at a Client's carnival themed wedding with two of her lovely team members.
Blog post by Rachel Weinshanker, exclusively for San Diego Life Events.
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