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Often times there is confusion between the catering manager's duties and the wedding coordinator/planner's duties. Get Married Magazine published a wonderful article outlining the duties of both. Like their titles, their jobs are completely different. While both roles are significant, brides and grooms need to be aware of the differences and have the appropriate expectations of both.



Catering Manager vs. Wedding Planner

Decoding the differences and responsibilities of Catering Managers vs. Wedding Planners.

When considering whether or not to hire a wedding planner, consider the services your venue will be providing. Ask questions and educate yourself. At minimum, a day-of or month-of wedding planner is encouraged (and sometimes required by an event site). However, at first look, you may not see the need for the additional expense. We’ve broken down the basics of wedding planners versus your catering manager to help you decide if one is right for you.

This list of guidelines we’ve included are of typical duties, though not necessary the case for all locations. So be familiar with your specific situation and make the best, educated decision for your event that you can.


Catering Manager Duties

Though each venue and each department vary in specifics, typically, your catering manager will be included in the cost of the food and beverage or location contract, and oversee and/or be responsible for the following:

Catering managers plan, organize and develop food and beverage services, while meeting customer expectations, food and hygiene standards and financial targets.

The role varies according to the size and nature of the establishment: in a small operation, the catering manager has more of a 'hands on' role and will be involved in the day-to-day running of the operation.

In contract catering, the catering manager will spend time negotiating with the client, assessing requirements and ensuring that it is satisfied with the service delivered.

Organizing and overseeing the catering team.

Planning menus in consultation with chefs.

Ensuring health and safety regulations are strictly observed.

Monitoring the quality of the product and service provided to you and your guests.

Keeping financial and administrative records, including all your contract agreements.

Act as liaising between client and caterer and/or venue.

Negotiating contracts with customers (in contract catering).

Setting and agreeing upon budgets.

Overseeing the management of facilities, e.g. checking event bookings and allocation of resources/staff to ensure your event is booked and staffed properly.

Keeping abreast of trends and developments in the catering industry such as menus, consumer tastes and management issues.


Typical Duties of a Full-Service Wedding Planner

Each planner will vary in the services they provide. Each planner will also offer different packages to fulfill your needs without the added expense of paying for services you will not use or want. This list is a broad scope of an event planner’s duties, though yours may not offer all such services or he/she may offer additional perks.

Assist with etiquette and protocol for invitations, family matters, ceremony and toasts.

Assemble, stuff and mail invitations and by request, receive all rsvp’s for accurate on-going guest count (can be additional fee).

Recommend special event professionals to provide music, floral, photography, ceremony officiant, invitations, amenities, and any other niche services.

Create and follow a comprehensive budget and payment schedule for all wedding related vendors to ensure timely payments and accurate costs of event.

Create a timeline for your entire wedding day, including the ceremony and reception. To be consulted on and forwarded to your catering manager prior to wedding date.

Work with you to organize and coordinate your ceremony rehearsal (rehearsal dinner is usually an additional charge). Remind bridal party of all pertinent “call times” and “don’t forgets” for the wedding day.

Create and run the walk-through at the church or ceremony site for family and bridal parties during rehearsal.

Act as church or ceremony site liaison to coordinate all timelines and be aware of all venue and religious restrictions. Confirm officiant desired ceremony text.

Confirm call times and details with all vendors several weeks prior to the wedding day.

Create a sample session with florals, linens and rentals to see actual tabletop design for your event.

Recommend necessary lighting needs and rental needs based on your specific event, venue, and guest count.

Be a liaison with your family, bridal party, band/DJ, florist, photographer and other vendors to create seamless operation.

Assist the bride and bridal party with dressing and prep.

Ensure the ladies have their corsages and bouquets, etc, and assist with the pinning of boutonnieres.

Deliver and arrange ceremony programs, escort cards, place cards, favors and any personal items requested.

Assistant guests find place cards and get their appropriate seats.

Coordinate your actual ceremony (line up bridal party, assist bride with dress) and keep ceremony on schedule and following properly, including any music cues or dove releases, etc.

Coordinate your reception (grand entrance, first dance, toasts, cake cutting, etc).

Making sure all vendors are cued as the appropriate times for all of your pre-established “events” during the evening. Make any on the spot changes as needs arise.

Coordinate with vendors and banquet captain to ensure timeliness of event and meal.

Collect any personal items you may have brought to the church, bridal suite, receptions, at the conclusion of each event.

Count and collect all wedding gifts and deliver them to appropriate location at the conclusion of the event. Protection from possible theft.

Assist you with full service coordinating from your engagement to your honeymoon itinerary; should you include it in your package.

Assistants on site at the event to cater to your every need (find the groom, get you a drink, etc…).

Make sure favors are put out where and when you requested and assist guests in getting their gifts at the end of the night.

Oversees all vendors in their duties (makes sure photographer is getting the shot list that was requested, that testimonials are taken by videographer if requested, etc…)

Works with the catering manager and the banquet captain to ensure flawless food service and constant clean up during the event.
Make sure all family members and bridal party needs are tended to.

Oversee, assemble or order and deliver welcome baskets to out of town guests.

Arrange transportation and create precise schedule for all bridal party members requested.

Book room blocks for out of town guests at multiple locations with different price ranges.

Provide design expertise and consultation if and when applicable.


Come prepared with an emergency kit for any stains, tears, missing items that may be needed or need to be tended to on the day of the event.


Happy Planning & God Bless!

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