Insights and Advice from a Wedding Coordinator – An Interview with Karen Hunter, Wedding Manager at Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel
When it comes to weddings, the happy couple takes centre stage, but who ensures that they are a truly happy couple on their big day? The answer lies with the often unsung heroes of the day, the wedding coordinators. These professionals work tirelessly behind the scenes, delivering a bank of memories to the wedding party and their guests.
The wedding industry is one that thrives on the magic and beauty of a couple’s special day. With so many moving parts, organising a wedding can be a daunting task, but exceptional wedding coordinators like Karen Hunter, Wedding Manager at Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel, have mastered the art of seamless coordination. In this interview, our Sales Manager and Wedding Venue Expert, Carys Duckworth, gets Karen’s insights and advice on what it takes to be a top-notch wedding coordinator, and how she has helped make Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel the top-rated country house hotel for weddings in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
What is your role and what does your day-to-day look like?
I am the Wedding Manager at Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel and every day is different. I am involved in the showround process, generating marketing promotions for showrounds and ultimately converting those visits to bookings.
Once the couple has booked with us I am involved with the meetings to confirm the wedding details and follow up on payments. Everything we do here at the hotel is all-inclusive. That means once the couple has been here to finalise everything, it’s quite an admin-heavy job. However, you have very limited time to concentrate on admin when you’re doing the volume of weddings that we’ve just come out of doing in 2022.
Do you solely work with weddings at the venue?
While I mainly focus on weddings I can jump in anywhere if I need to. I enjoy marketing, although I don’t get to do as much of it as I’d like to because I have to focus on the wedding side of things. I enjoy seeing the responses we get to a Facebook post, for example, it really floats my boat!
I also like to know what’s going on in the hotel; I can book a conference room or a bedroom if I need to. Understanding the ins and outs of everybody’s role is important when you’re in the hospitality industry. It is the easiest thing in the world to go into the kitchen and bark orders because “you’re a wedding planner, and this is how it is”, but if you understand the pressures from their side of it as well, I think it helps us pull together as a team.
How long have you been working as part of the wedding team?
I’ve been working at Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel since 2010. Prior to that, I was the General Manager at a big hotel in Doncaster, but they didn’t really do many weddings.
📸 Wedding Manager: Karen, Master Of Ceremonies: Lee, Assistant Wedding Manager: Kerry and Wedding Assistant: Joe
How did you end up making the switch to work as a wedding coordinator?
I decided it was time to change my career path and wanted to slow it down a little bit. I was hired to assist the current wedding planner, and without any wedding experience, it was a bit of a challenge getting my head around how it all worked. After about three months I’d say I got more confident and when the wedding planner didn’t return from her maternity leave the job became mine. I then spent a lot of time developing our systems and getting us on the right platforms in terms of marketing and getting our website updated. That is when I found WedPro by WeddingDates which was a huge help with all the back-of-house admin.
What do you love about being a wedding coordinator?
I love making couples’ dreams come true.
What do you think are the most important skills to have as a wedding coordinator?
As a wedding coordinator, you need patience and tolerance. Having common sense is quite important as well. You can have all the brains in the world but if you have no common sense, don’t go into wedding planning.
How have your role and expectations changed over the last few years?
The amount of reporting we do at the venue has increased since the pandemic. We used to just keep track of the number of different weddings we hosted, but we’ve now gone into more detail including the amount spent and tracking the minimum spend on average for the year.
I think what people expect from the venue has changed as well. We’ve seen a shift in the demand, we are busier than ever, especially during the quieter months like October and November. We’ve also seen a change in the expectations around response times to queries and communication.
What’s your biggest challenge or frustration in your job?
My biggest challenge is keeping on top of the administration that comes with the job. Even with the added help around the venue I like to double-check the work. Some people say I am a bit of a control freak but I’m not, I’m just used to it being done a certain way. At the end of the day, it’s your name and your reputation, so you’ve got to make sure it’s right. I find it hard sometimes when people don’t understand that pressure.
Another challenge we are facing is the change in the expectations around response times that I mentioned earlier. Our wedding team is very good at getting back to people, it is never more than 24 hours but we do get the odd email at night and a follow-up in the morning asking why they haven’t heard back from us which can be a bit frustrating.
What’s your proudest moment?
Every time we get a nice review or a card from a couple. Even though we know in our own minds that we do a good job, it’s different when we see it in writing and can put it on the board, it makes us feel proud. Also getting through COVID, and moving all the weddings without having any problems, I’m quite proud of that.
How do you celebrate your wins and successes?
Once a month we go out as a team, have pizza, some drinks and pat each other on the back.
Any advice for someone that wants to pursue a career as a wedding coordinator?
If you don’t live and breathe it, don’t do it. You really have to buy into everybody’s wedding day like it’s your own.
Wise words indeed. We want to extend our thanks and gratitude to Karen for graciously sharing her experiences with us. We hope this helps aspiring wedding coordinators out there gain a better understanding of what it takes to thrive in the wedding industry.
Undertaking a career as a wedding coordinator can be an exciting and fulfilling journey, but it requires a certain level of courage and resilience. There are various crucial factors to consider before stepping into this industry, ranging from the essential skills needed to succeed to ways of recognising your achievements. With the guidance of seasoned wedding coordinators, you can learn to navigate the highs and lows of this profession and get your CV ready.
Connect with Carys Duckworth, our Sales Manager and Wedding Venue Expert on LinkedIn, book a demo with her or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more news and updates about WedPro by WeddingDates follow us on social media:
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