Author Topic: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding? UPDATE #88!  (Read 17270 times)

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RegionMom

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serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding? UPDATE #88!
« on: December 21, 2012, 09:44:10 AM »
A friend of mine, Mary, mother of seven with her youngest the age of my teens, has asked me to serve as a wedding reception coordinator at one of her DD's wedding a few months from now.

bg- 
I have been to a couple of weddings in this family, and they are a BIG DEAL.  Full Catholic ceremony, then sit down dinner.  One reception was a few hours after the ceremony, so guests had a couple of hours to kill in between.

The upcoming wedding is only  ;) 150-165 guests, and the reception is dry- no alcohol.  The site is a western barn/rustic pavillion, and the caterer is a local BBQ joint.  They will have to carry out all their trash because of wild animals.

I have been asked to be the contact person, and to bring ice, and make sure all is cleaned up, and to tell guests to stay close by, and corral potentially unruly children, and to tupperware the wedding cake after, and meet with the site owner beforehand, and maybe help coordinate carpooling since there is not really a parking lot.  I am sure there will be more.

Now, the mom is a sweet friend of mine, will talk your ear off, does not like problems even though she has had a few (sick husband, hospitalized child, work issues, moving into a house that had a broken foundation so had an apt. with a bad landlord while waiting for the house to be fixed, and then having plumbing issues, etc...)

so she was asked by the owner of the reception site for a reception coordinator.  Mary knew she would need an organized and strong personality to keep all this together, and said my name to Cici, the owner, before asking me. 

When Mary did ask me, I wrote down 30 minutes of her rambling notes to determine my responsibilities, as I listed above a bit.

Question-
I do not know if I am getting paid.  I have never done a job like this before.  Am I over my head?  Wedding is still a few months away, and I was "officially asked" two nights ago. 

Help?!?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 06:43:15 PM by RegionMom »
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PurpleFrog

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2012, 09:53:14 AM »
Honestly, that sounds like a huge amount of work for one person. It's more than a day of coordinator would do, I would think hard if you are prepared to do all of this (probably unpaid), taking on all the responsibility, if you are capable, able to organise, deal with problems and recriminations, with resenting the huge task set for you by your friend.

Personally in general I don't think I could do it apart from for a very select few people, and even then I'd want a huge amount of help. I'd worry about recriminations if something went wrong.

Maybe go to your friend and clarify the situation, and find out if you'd have any back up.
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onyonryngs

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2012, 09:57:24 AM »
This really sounds like something the bride needs to figure out for herself or they need to hire someone.  This is a LOT to ask of a friend of the bride's mother who is not getting paid. 

WillyNilly

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2012, 10:01:35 AM »
Either ask if you will be getting paid or mentally write it off as a gift to the family.  In my experience in the party industry what you have described would span about 6-8 hours (assuming a standard 5 hour reception) and would run $200-2,000 in wages (as some one with experience I would personally consider this to be a $1k job... but then I know what I won't do).  The 'job' will also require you to wear an outfit that is both appropriate for the event and yet appropriate for doing lifting and possibly getting dirty. (I'd recommend nice but affordable black pants, loafers, and a machine washable but nice looking top, accessorize with costume jewelry, short nails, hair up.)

Its the kind of work that comes easy to some people and is borderline nervous-breakdown inducing for others.  From your past posts I think you would do well insofar as your teaching experience and attention to detail but would also be overly stressed due to your perfection tendencies - this is very much a 'go with the flow' and 'improvise' type job.

If you do take it on, here is the best piece of advice I can give: remember, the guests don't know what the plan was.  So long as they are happy and comfortable and things look nice, they don't know that everything isn't going as planned. (Because something always goes off-plan!)
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 10:03:12 AM by WillyNilly »

JoyinVirginia

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2012, 10:07:38 AM »
Oldest dd is getting married in spring. She is organized and has taken the classes to be a certified wedding planner. She has hired another planner she knows to be the wedding day point person, as you described the duties. Basically, if there are any glitches on wedding day, dd and I will not have to handle it, we will ask planner to fix it, chase down person, fix problem, etc.
Dd is meeting with planner once or twice before wedding. She is paying her, I think, $600.
Dd did similar duties for a friend who got married last year, she did not get paid, it was her gift to her friend.
Talk to your friend and tell her this will require significant time on your part, is it possible you can be paid. Our you could say this is what a wedding planner would do on the day of, it would cost money, let this be my gift to your daughter. See what she says.

peaches

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2012, 10:08:53 AM »
That is a tremendous amount of responsibility IMO - and that's just what the mother-of-the-bride has thought of so far. There may be other things which come up.

I honestly think this is too much to ask of one person. And I would never ask a friend to do this.

IF you want to help your friend, you might agree to perform one or two of the jobs she has mentioned - not the whole enchilada! That's a job for a professional IMO.

I think she is being very presumptuous, friend or not.

yokozbornak

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2012, 10:16:57 AM »
I think this is a tremendous favor to ask someone, and your friend may be better off hiring a professional wedding coordinator to do it or suggest that she spread the responsibility out between two or three people.  You will not be able to really enjoy the wedding at all because you will be working. 

RegionMom

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2012, 10:38:32 AM »
OP here-
see, that's the thing-even though I know the family, this one child has been out of the house so long that I do not know her, and would not be invited to the wedding, anyway.  I did check on the schedule during our phone call, trying to find out if I would help at the rehearsal/dinner and wedding.  Mary said that I would only need to be at the reception site during the wedding, prepping, so I would NOT be attending the rehearsal/wedding.  Which is fine with me, but definitely made me realize it is a  job and not a favor.

Aside from how I come across on my posts, I can "go with the flow" and am very creative.  ;D  Teaching preschool for almost two decades has led me to believe that organization leads to creativity.  When you know what needs to get done, and what supplies you have, then you know how far you can go with it. 

As for this job, I may not have the experience, but I do think I could do it.  I have a strong voice and enough random volunteer experience that I can cobble together the know-how.  Mary said that property owner Cici is southern and sweet, but strong as steel and she is the one that asked/demanded that the reception coordinator meet with her beforehand, like a few weeks before.  This is Cici's home and business, and she likes things done well.

So, I would be working with a professional.  With high expectations.  And a non-confrontational mother who is a friend of mine and trusting me to keep her stress free. 

Eep!!

I am about to head out for a few hours, but I would appreciate more advice and stories. 

I do think I could do this (ego) but I do not want to goof and hurt Mary and her daughter.  What is the worst that could happen??  Would it be better if I was paid? 
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Queen of Clubs

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2012, 10:43:21 AM »
I have been asked to be the contact person, and to bring ice, and make sure all is cleaned up, and to tell guests to stay close by, and corral potentially unruly children, and to tupperware the wedding cake after, and meet with the site owner beforehand, and maybe help coordinate carpooling since there is not really a parking lot.  I am sure there will be more.

And you're doing all this with up to 165 people?  How good is this friend of yours?  It sounds to me like you're not getting paid (wouldn't she have already said if you were?), you're going to spend days/weeks beforehand fielding calls and the day itself being run ragged before cleaning up.  This is a huge task, and that's before Mary thinks of more jobs to add to your plate.

It's nice that she's so sweet, but she's dumping all of this organisation into your lap.  If the happy couple want a wedding coordinator, they need to hire a professional who knows what to do and which jobs to farm out to *other* professionals.  Not rely on a friend of the bride's mother's to cover the whole lot.

I think you need to tell Mary it's not possible for you to do all that.  If you're feeling kind, pick out one or two jobs you don't mind being responsible for but leave the rest to the happy couple to sort out.  It's not your wedding, not your kid either, so why should you be made responsible?

YummyMummy66

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2012, 10:46:43 AM »
She may be a friend, but in all that she is expecting you to do, she should be paying you.

It is up to you to decide if you are willing to take payment or not or ask for payment or not.   Since you are dear friends, it sounds like she is not inviting you to the wedding, (because with all of your responsibilities), you will not be able to enjoy the weddding/reception. 

What Mary is asking you to do is the job of any wedding planner, who gets paid for their job. 

onyonryngs

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2012, 10:47:38 AM »
I think it'd be rude if she didn't offer to pay.   She's asking you to do this as a friend, but you're not friendly enough to go to the wedding too?   How does the daughter feel about you doing this job?  It's her wedding, after all.

Yvaine

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2012, 10:50:55 AM »
OP here-
see, that's the thing-even though I know the family, this one child has been out of the house so long that I do not know her, and would not be invited to the wedding, anyway.  I did check on the schedule during our phone call, trying to find out if I would help at the rehearsal/dinner and wedding.  Mary said that I would only need to be at the reception site during the wedding, prepping, so I would NOT be attending the rehearsal/wedding.  Which is fine with me, but definitely made me realize it is a  job and not a favor.

So you're not even invited? This service would be a really huge gift to give to someone who's not even inviting you. I think you're being taken advantage of, though she may be doing it out of naivete rather than malice.

Honestly, this seems to fall into the same theme as how you were taken advantage of at the school where you worked. People seem to see you as someone to get to organize things and then not to appreciate after. You don't have to do this.

buvezdevin

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2012, 10:51:04 AM »
I, personally, would not want to do a "favor" of this sort under these circumstances, paid or not.

As you are willing to consider it, I suggest contacting *Cici* as she is the one requiring that there be a coordinator, and is the one who would be able to say, from experience, what the coordinator will likely need to do - which might be more or less than your friend expects.

If, after speaking with Cici, you are still willing to consider doing this, speak with your friend and go over detail of what you will do, and what costs or fees you would need to be paid for, if any.  Then - put it into writing - including details such as hours you will be available before and during the big day, how much ice you will bring, etc.
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Queen of Clubs

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2012, 10:54:42 AM »
I do think I could do this (ego) but I do not want to goof and hurt Mary and her daughter.  What is the worst that could happen??  Would it be better if I was paid?

The only thing pay would do is console you for all the work you're going to be putting in and maybe cover the costs you *will* be incurring.  As for what's the worst?  It all goes wrong and you get blamed.

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I did check on the schedule during our phone call, trying to find out if I would help at the rehearsal/dinner and wedding.  Mary said that I would only need to be at the reception site during the wedding, prepping, so I would NOT be attending the rehearsal/wedding.  Which is fine with me, but definitely made me realize it is a  job and not a favor.

But it sounds like Mary is seeing it as a favour.  You're not a guest, not invited to the whole shindig - you're hired help and you'll be working for free.  Is that really what you want?

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Aside from how I come across on my posts, I can "go with the flow" and am very creative.  ;D  Teaching preschool for almost two decades has led me to believe that organization leads to creativity.  When you know what needs to get done, and what supplies you have, then you know how far you can go with it. 

As for this job, I may not have the experience, but I do think I could do it.  I have a strong voice and enough random volunteer experience that I can cobble together the know-how.

Which is probably why Mary thinks it's okay to dump it all in your lap.  But just because someone thinks you're up to a task doesn't mean you *have* to do that task.

Quote
Mary said that property owner Cici is southern and sweet, but strong as steel and she is the one that asked/demanded that the reception coordinator meet with her beforehand, like a few weeks before.  This is Cici's home and business, and she likes things done well.

So, I would be working with a professional.  With high expectations.  And a non-confrontational mother who is a friend of mine and trusting me to keep her stress free.

So you'll be caught in the middle between the two.  This isn't going to be about you meeting Mary's expectations/the happy couple's expectations but also meeting Cici's.  To be quite frank, I'd run now before you get in too deep and it's too late for you to get out.

Look at the list of things Mary's already put on your job list.  Who's going to be covering your phone bill for all the calls you'll be making to get things organised?  Who's going to be covering your travel expenses for all the running around you'll be doing - let alone on the day itself?  You're not a guest, so your travel expenses should be covered.  Will they be?

I think there's too high a risk of this imploding and you getting caught in the blast.  Like I said in my other post, maybe pick out one or two things and offer to cover them but, as you're not even worthy of an invitation to this wedding, why are you expected to put yourself out so much?


WillyNilly

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Re: serve as a receptionist coordinator for a wedding?
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2012, 11:22:01 AM »
I'm a bit confused over people's outrage the OP isn't invited.  This is not the type of thing one should ever, ever, ever think of asking a guest to do.  The OP being asked makes perfect sense to me - she's known to the family (so they know they like and trust her) but she's not someone who would be missing out on a guest experience because she would never be invited anyway.  I think it would have been insulting to ask an invited guest to do this job, not the other way around!

Region - why not meet with Cici and talk to her more about what the job entails before deciding to do it or not.  It will give you a much clearer idea of what is required, what the space is like (will you have to stand in a prickly field to direct parking?  Lug ice up or down stairs? Will the cake be brought into the kitchen for you to pack up, or will you have to try to do it gracefully in public view?), and what Cici (and working with her) will be like.

And I do reiterate - I did 10 years in the event industry, everything from catering, waitressing, event planning (personal, entertainment industry and corporate), on-site production coordination, etc - from what's written here as far as job description I would personally charge $1,000 (and dinner on-site) for up to 8 hours of my work. Whether you do get paid or not, know the value of what's being asked of you.