More and more brides and mitzvah moms are telling me that the reason they booked a particular venue is because the venue's Event Manager told them that he or she can act as their "event planner". Although this may sound like an appealing option, especially when trying cut costs, you should be aware of the differences between an Event Planner and a Venue Event Manager.
A Venue Event Manager is employed by a venue and is there to deal with all things that are "venue-related", while an Event Planner is employed by YOU and is there to deal with all things related to YOUR event. As wonderful as your Venue Event Manager may be (and there are so many absolutely fabulous Venue Event Managers in the DC-area who I adore), on the day of and the months leading up to your event, your Venue Event Manager is most likely responsible for many other events, making him or her unable to give you their undivided attention. Now I am not saying that an Event Planner will be available to you 24/7 (aside from your event they do have lives, families and other clients), but a good Event Planner doesn't take on more than they can handle. On the day of your event and in the time leading up to it, your Event Planner will be focused on you and your event.
Although Venue Event Managers are able to recommend other vendors (ie. photographers, decor companies, videographers, floral designers, entertainment, etc.) they do not have the time to go to vendor meetings with you and therefore they may not know all of the arrangements that you have made with your other vendors. A good Event Planner will go to meetings with you and they will follow-up with all of your vendors. A good Event Planner will be sure that the correct linens were delivered, the napkins are folded as you requested, the DJ brought the correct number of plasma screens and the placecard table looks perfect. In the case of bad weather (remember DC's blizzard last winter?), an experienced event planner will work with your other vendors to make sure that your event will go on despite rain, sleet or snow. It is not that a Venue Event Manager is incapable of following through with these tasks, it is just that they may have several other things going on in addition to your wedding or mitzvah-remember they don't work exclusively for you, they work for your venue.
In most successful Event Planner/Client relationships there is a great chemistry. (Why would you hire someone you didn't enjoy working with?) When you hire an Event Planner, you are embarking on a journey with this person which will culminate in one of the most special days of your life. Although you may have great chemistry with your Venue Event Manager, there is always the chance that he or she will not be able to see your event through to completion because he or she doen't work for you, they work for your venue. Although your Event Venue Manager is excited to work with you, they are not going to give up a better career opportunity elsewhere because of your event - and who can blame them. Since your Venue Event Manager is employed by your venue, they could also be transferred to another event or venue, or they could be terminated. These are common scenarios in the hospitality industry.
Now please don't believe that the intent of this post is to bash Venue Event Managers. A great Venue Event Manager is an essential part of your event's "Dream Team", but keep in mind, they are not Event Planners. As similar as the two jobs seem, in reality, they are very different. Venue Event Managers and Event Planners are meant to complement each other, not compete with each other or replace one another.