Why Caterers Want Wedding Coordinators
Have you ever been prepping for a wedding with your team and suddenly a bridesmaid rolls up to you, frantic, because the bride happened to peak out the suite window and can see none of the tables have been dressed or set? Did she think that was your job? How about standing around after dinner waiting to be paid? You don’t want to interrupt the champagne toast by tapping on the bride’s shoulder for payment, but you’d also like to go home. Who do you turn to? Let us guess what those events had in common – there was no wedding coordinator. Are we right? We thought so.
Working with a wedding coordinator, or providing full coordination as part of your services, is not just a big help for the bride and groom, but it is also a big help to all of the wedding’s vendors. The coordinator at a wedding, or any event, is often the one who sets expectations, helps the vendors know where to set up, establishes a timeline, and takes care of payment and tips at the end of the reception. Really, you want a wedding coordinator just as much as the bride and groom. Now, we’re not saying never take a wedding that doesn’t plan to have a coordinator. Just know what to expect from a bride without one.
What does that mean, exactly? Glad you asked. Brides usually aren’t fully aware of the wedding catering etiquette of having both a wedding coordinator and a catering manager. To her, a caterer serving dinner means they handle everything that goes along with dinner. That may be true for some, but not all caterers provide full event services including the setup of tables, linens, decor, placement of china and flatware, plus serving staff and clean up. If you are the first vendor interaction a bride has had, be sure to set the standards up front. Let her know exactly what services you’ll be providing, what your payment breakdown will be (all at once or spread over a deposit and final payment), if and how staff should be tipped, and who the point person should be at the wedding for any questions. You should also request the same information from the couple as to not interrupt their special day. All of this information can be provided to the client and your staff through the reports generated in our online catering software.
There are many caterers that have figured out a great system – partnering with a wedding coordinator. Many caterers have found it beneficial to establish relationships with multiple coordinators. Outside of the organizational skills they have and their help the day of the wedding, partnering with a coordinator brings many opportunities. Finding someone you trust means having a reliable source that can push business your way. If they have a bride who has yet to find a caterer, you are the first she suggests. Working with the same coordinator also means you are familiar with their style so the execution of the event is smooth and should we say it, maybe even flawless.
So how do you begin working with a coordinator? First, try to find someone you have a natural connection with. If you get to work a few weddings this season that have coordinators, see if you “click” with anyone. It’s better to start from a natural place than to force a relationship. Second, determine if you can become a preferred vendor for them. You can offer to also have them a preferred vendor. Whoever gets the bride first will suggest the others services. Some caterers even offer discounts to brides working with their coordinating partners. This can help drive business for you and for the coordinator. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us!