Thursday, January 30, 2014

How do efficient coordinators handle reception details?

Below are some observations of the way efficient coordination teams work:

a) They have team members who really work and have specific tasks -- one does not see them chatting, eating along with the guests, using the Photo Booth -- unless they are truly done with all their tasks. 

Prior to the programme, they check on the layout, and ensure a programme area especially if there's enough space within the venue to have a real programme area. They also check on the arrival and set-up of suppliers. 

Oh... and they remind photo and video teams of how much time they have for the pictorials "in between" so guests do not end up waiting too long either. 

b) They really know the contents of the programme and what they need to do in order to execute the programme contents seamlessly. (Oh yes, the success of the programme does not depend purely on the emcee. But sometimes, coordinators seem to forget this little fact; thus, the emcee ends up reminding them of things/people needed per segment, that is, if there is even a coordinator nearby. If wala, sorry... announce... ad lib... ad lib... and ad lib until makuha ng coord sa labas yung needed items.)

c) There's a coordinator near the emcee -- updating regarding developments of the on-site AVPs, technical difficulties, and the like; letting the emcee know if he/she inadvertently forgets or skips something in the programme or if he/she needs to skip something because the materials aren't ready, the speakers backed out, etc. (The emcee does not need to keep "scanning the horizon" for the coordinators in order to ask about the on-site, etc.) 

d) There's a coordinator who reminds speakers that they will be called next; thus, these speakers are ready when called or better, they are already standing near the programme area. They aren't in the comfort room, getting more food from the buffet, and the like when they're being called to speak. 

e) They match up the prizes and props with the games during preps -- so they actually have time to prepare more prizes, purchase needed materials, and the like. (When the emcee arrives, it's just an hour before the programme -- hardly enough time to buy materials unless the mall is just adjacent to the reception venue, of course. It really smacks of poor coordination when the emcee arrives, asks about prizes and props, and gets a blank stare/a response akin to not knowing where the stuff are.) 

f) A coordinator reminds the sound system technician and the musicians about what should be played next. This is super important during the pre-dinner part of the programme when the entrance songs and dance songs really matter. (There are musicians, back-up dancers, and the like who need to be reminded of their parts because they have holding rooms. It's important to assign a coord who will remind them so the emcee doesn't announce, "It's party time" then end up with deafening silence!!!)  

Of course, it would be great if these musicians and dancers have PAs who can check on their parts and remind them as well. Some coordinators don't get the hint, even if the emcee has told them time and again to please remind the musicians/dancers prior to their parts. 

g) There's a coordinator helping the bride with her train while she's walking around especially if the stage and path have lots of items which can cause problems with the train.

Yup, the cloth that trails behind the bride is called a train... :) 

h) They manage the flow of traffic for pictorials -- and they do not forget to ask the couple to visit the VIP table. Oh, and they don't ask the VIP to stand and leave their dinner unless absolutely necessary, e.g. there's no space for the couple to stand behind the VIP because the space of the whole venue has been maxed out.

You'd think this is really basic, but no... no... no... Some coordinators leave the couple to their own devices during the table hopping part (lauriat and sit-down service). OR they only assign a coordinator who helps with the train but doesn't guide; thus, a 45-minute table hopping portion ends up going beyond an hour. 

i) There should also be someone reminding the waiter regarding the toasting flutes and the requested beverage (if they want something non-alcoholic, they want specific bottles, etc.)

j) They help with the games, e.g. blocking for the pictorials before the games especially if the participants are shy and are moving towards the back, giving props, assisting if there are props that need to be tied, etc. They don't end up running around looking for materials and prizes when the emcee starts talking about the games. They also do not ask the waiters to take charge of the games. (Oh yes, I already experienced a team that gave the props to the waiters!?!)

k) They have someone who checks on and reminds the on-site editors regarding the estimated time remaining (and if the editor is having problems, they tell the emcee in advance about the status and perhaps, a possible contingency plan/additional game/additional singer). They also test the other AVPs prior to actual programme time. (Thus, there are no surprises like: 9, 10, 20-minute AVPs being shown in the middle of the programme.) 

l) They prevent on-the-day glitches by reminding suppliers of call times days leading up to the big day. They also make sure all pieces of equipment needed on the day have been booked prior to the actual day when they are needed -- projector & screen that match the # of guests and size of the venue, musicians' requirements from the sound system, wireless microphones especially if there will be a singing entrance, etc. 

m) Efficient coordinators also ask for items needed based on plans and previous discussions -- they do not say on the day, "Ay wala naman siyang binigay". She's the bride... he's the groom... they are entitled to forget because they are on the their big day. Unfortunately, coordinators do not have the same luxury. And that's where complete checklists and dedicated team members come in. These team members can also ask about things they always bring -- that way, nothing gets left behind. 


In all truth, being a coordinator is hard work. It's stressful to be on the floor and ensure the smooth flow of weddings day in and day out. I know; I've been there. However, do note that you have a team, while the emcee is by his or her lonesome and is holding the mic. Thus, he/she cannot suddenly stop and help the projector technician or the sound technician because they made mistakes or they can't find what they are supposed to play. 

To our dear brides and grooms, 

Take the deadlines and guidelines coordinators and other suppliers give seriously -- it's for your own good. You can't blame the coordinator for being disorganised on the day ...

- if you didn't give your documents in advance -- thus, depriving them of the chance to make a complete checklist; 
- if you caused the coordinator to lose sleep because he/she has to wait for you to send your guest list;
- if your items for turnover are all over the place (room ni ganito, room ni ganyan, kotse ni ganito na padating pa lang, etc.); 
- if you didn't accomplish any document and relied on texting the coordinator and e-mailing every time an idea pops up (in all honesty, suppliers don't have the luxury of remembering all the items you say every time your mind changes, so best to give a summary prior to your big day -- oh and the summary should not have 10 versions either); 
- if you made your coordinator team your styling team; thus, making them spend too much time fixing your venue, they ended up with very little time left for the things they ought to do, 
- and if you hired suppliers who have reputations of being hard to manage (Let's level expectations... you can't expect the perfect output of Florist A if you hired Florist Z -- hoping your coordinator will perform magic. Hmmm...)

The smooth flow of your big day does not only depend on the coordinator -- remember, the input comes from you, the bride and the groom, so definitely, your choices/decisions will have an effect on the outcome. 

4 comments:

  1. Hi Darlene! I'd like to request for your package rates and workbook details though not sure how to find your email here so just sending you my details thru this comment box: 10/10/2015, time of reception early evening around 6pm, venue to be confirmed but we are considering Phil Army Officers Club in Taguig. My email add is elainequiambao@yahoo.com, thanks in advance! :)

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  2. Hi Elaine, there's a contact form on the left po :) but I sent already to the email address you mentioned :) thank you for your message :)

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  3. Hi Ms. Darlene puede ko po ba i - share io..

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  4. Hi Ms. Darlene puede ko po i - share ito?

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