As a full-service wedding coordinator and planner serving northern Calfornia, I am often asked what the difference is between myself, an onsite venue coordinator, and the maitre’D.

All of these roles play into a successful wedding – but it often confusing for brides and grooms, so here is the 411 on who does what.

The Wedding Planner and Coordinator (that’s us!)

As your planner and coordinator, we provide a holistic service including the time leading up to your wedding to the actual wedding and reception. Unlike the other roles, we work directly for you, and not the venue. We are responsible for almost every component of the wedding and provide you with peace of mind so you can be “a guest at your own wedding” and work hard to make certain you can relax and truly enjoy your big day! We make sure your Napa or Sonoma wedding unfolds into your vision – including guest wishes, coordinating and directing your vendors, and most importantly, all of your concerns are addressed.

As your coordinator, it is our responsibility to make certain your wedding is perfect from start to end. Some examples of our duties include styling and setting up your venue, adding any decor elements you wanted, making sure all wedding vendors are on time and set up at the scheduled time, directing guests to their seats, queuing up your musicians or DJ, coordinating vendor payments, lining up everyone for specific photos, distributing bridal flowers to family and the bridal party, bustling your gown, and making certain all of your guests leave the wedding safely. This is just a partial list, and we function as the point person on your wedding day for all staff and vendors.

Another consideration is your venue. Some local vineyards don’t have an onsite event coordinator and we can ensure your wedding is staffed professionally. The same goes for traditional church ceremonies – as in who will get everyone down the aisle at the right time? Putting your trust in an experienced and creative wedding planner means never having to assign family members to tasks they don’t want to do – and after all, should they should enjoy your special day too, right?

The Venue Coordinator

Often, the person who gave you the tour of your venue will also function as the venue manager. This person also likely supervises and coordinates several departments that will play a part in making your wedding the smashing success you want it to be.

However, that your venue manager may not be working on the day of your wedding or be available to answer your questions on the days leading up to your wedding. They rarely view themselves as your wedding coordinator and will hand off your wedding details to the Maitre D’, who is also not a wedding planner. If this is a concern, look into a professional wedding planner and coordinator. As your coordinator, we assume complete responsibility for putting together your big day and making it unforgettable.

The Maitre D’

The Maitre D’ is likely the most misunderstood of all of us. Even their title can be super confusing as sometimes they are called the captain or even the onsite event coordinator. No matter their title, they are most concerned with the catering side of the wedding. They function as the headwaiter and manages communication between the reception space and the kitchen. They also direct the wait staff and stands ready to answer questions from the guests.

Some venues may say their Maitre D’ functions as the wedding coordinator, but in our experience, the responsibilities of a wedding coordinator are outside their job description and they always take care of their venue responsibilities first.

 So while these roles play an important role in your wedding, only the wedding coordinator works with you months (sometimes, even a year) before your wedding to make sure your big day is fabulous.

Hopefully, you have found this post helpful for understanding the different roles of your wedding staff. If you have questions or just want to chat about your vision for your wine country wedding, just call us anytime at 707.486.2500.