Your Site Manager ISN'T Your Wedding Planner.

I enjoy this industry (if you haven't been able to tell) and I enjoy all the wonderful people that I get to meet.  So, I try not to be too disappointed of how some people view Wedding Planners.  We get a pretty bad rap, especially here in the Cleveland area.  I don't mind so much because, as you'll see from any planner's reviews the clients that do work with us, LOVE us.  As well they should, we help make their most stressful/anxiety-filled day calm and magical.  Who wouldn't love that?  Well the answer, sadly, is not everyone.

My current issue is Site Managers.  What that term means, in the sense that I'm using it, is the contact person you have at the facility you rent for your wedding location.  Either the Banquet Manager, Chef, Hall Coordinator, Site Director, etc..different names for people that run the facility. 

Now of course I don't mean ALL Site Managers, I just mean some, and it doesn't happen often but when it does it  is totally damaging to a coordinators ability to work at a facility.  Some Site Managers will go so far as to recommend that the bridal client DOES NOT hire a Wedding Planner.  Why, would anyone ever say this?  Well, the Site Manager will claim that they can handle all of the details that a Wedding Planner would normally handle.  They suggest that the Bridal client can save herself $1000's if she just doen't bother with a Wedding Planner who will "just get in the way of their staff" and "try to manage everyone/boss everyone around." 

There goes that client.  I've had a client tell me that she was reconsidering working with me after talking to her Site Manager because as the Site Manager put it she "really encourages her clients to NOT bring along a planner, as they don't like planners getting in the way" OUCH. 

Two things then. 
One, some of the fault of that impression will go to the "bad" and "inexperienced" planners in the area.  You get one planner who either things too highly of him/herself or another planner who doesn't have a clue what she's doing and I'm certain I'd tell people to stay away from Wedding Planners as well. 

The other thing is that we, as Wedding Planners, don't just come on the day of the wedding (at least I don't).  We have prior meetings, planning sessions, detail, layout and design meetings to get the entire day together.  There is no site coordinator who is going to come when you try on dresses, or come to the florist meetings or your tastings or organize your bridal party or help you pick out programs.  Yes, they manage on your wedding day, and they are familiar with the site, but without the proper planning and involvement, it won't matter what they know, since they don't know the details.  I would say that "Day Of" isn't hardly half of what I do.  You work with clients 6 months, 12 months, 18 months prior to their wedding day and you get to know all you need to know about the event, the bride, her family and her friends.  That is what you need to know, to make everything work. 
With all that being said, I was, at one point, one of those people who worked for a hotel and didn't really understand why a planner would come along, so I do have to admit, I understand. 

However, I would never have suggested to a client that they NOT hire a planner as no matter what they did, they always seemed to make my job easier and do some of the tiny detail work that I never seemed to have time for and in the worst case they would jump in and help with the HUGE work that we were running around trying to get done.  I guess I never ran into a "bad" planner while working as a Site Manager.  Maybe that's why I don't understand.  Maybe it is because, no matter how difficult someone is to work with, I would always respect their position in the industry and know that hindering their ability to work, to be successful and to do their best, isn't going to end up making anyone look bad, except, well me.  And, no one should want to look bad.  Right?

Any Site Managers want to chime in?  Any Planners have any stories of Site Managers that you have dealt with or are dealing with?  Love to hear your feedback

Happy Planning,