I have managed wedding and events venues for over 10 years. Over this period, I have developed a strong belief that for a wedding venue to achieve higher levels of success, it has to manage time effectively.
What makes a wedding venue successful?
I believe for a wedding venue to be successful it is where the whole team understands what is expected of them, such as when a task needs to be started but also when it needs to be completed by. They all need to know where everything is so they don’t run around like headless chickens. They all need to understand what’s expected of them and, that if something is not completed on time or needs to be redone, the impact it can have on others.
How does a venue owner ensure that the team are managing their time effectively, especially when managing weddings back-to-back?
For a venue owner, to achieve good time management, I recommend that they create a task team. This team should include someone from sales, catering, beverages, accounts, operations, recommended vendors and less obviously but importantly, it must include the couple. I know it is going to sound a bit corporate, but when I go into a venue that is having issues with time management, I call the team Champions, as they are going to champion change.
The venue owners must then set aside quality time for the Champions to meet and work on specific agendas. Then each Champion must effectively share this information with their respective teams.
The task team then starts a process of breaking down a wedding day into manageable tasks that might include setting up the ceremony, setting up the reception tables and chairs dressing the wedding reception and so on. Then they evaluate the total time it takes to achieve those tasks, who is involved and why, how well are they achieving the task, what they need and if it could be done better or quicker.
Then the Champions brain storm one task (but never see it in isolation). At a venue, I was recently invited into, the morning team were often found to be still setting-up when the guests had already started to arrive and were resentful of the pressure they were under.
The Champions timed all of the team’s jobs and found that when there were over 100 guests they physically couldn’t complete all of them without compromising presentation. They suggested bringing in more staff, but that wasn’t cost effective. Finally, they concluded that the task would be better placed with the night staff who had the capacity to take on more duties without increasing overheads. After all, they were already breaking down the wedding from the day before. The change meant that when the morning team got in, they got straight onto clothing the tables, so when the bride arrived at 8.30am onwards the dining room was already set out as specified on her table plan and the team were happy knowing that they would complete set up in good time. This sounds silly but this change often lead to tears of joy from the bride, as on her arrival she could finally visualise the day she had been planning.
Why is it important that your recommended suppliers are also considered Champions?
Suppliers also need to know what is expected of them, when, how and where, as they also become part of the on-the-day delivery team. For instance, I have always preferred on the day of a wedding, for the table centrepieces to be delivered just after the set-up team have clothed all the tables, (again brides love seeing their flowers as they are unpacked). That way if an accident happens, and a vase gets broken or just knocked over, the only cost incurred by the venue is replacing the wet table cloth rather than the re-laying of an entire table. It is also less embarrassing for whoever had the accident, so the situation is dealt with more smoothly. If your supplier objects to your timings and you can’t find a compromise, I recommend that you find a new, more understanding florist.
Why are couples included in the task team?
Because if couples don’t deliver information on time and in a format, that meets the requirements of the Champions, then they could negatively impact on the delivery of their own wedding. Don’t let them trawl the internet looking for generic templates; it’s a waste of their time and yours. Give them templates based on your organisational needs, that they complete to an agreed schedule that includes their reception seating, menu choices etc. Catering can then complete their orders on time, enabling them to secure the best price and quality, plus they can plan their rosters. Operations can order the correct amount of table cloths and napkins and the evening team can set up the correct number of tables and chairs. Beverages can order the correct wines and look for deals and of course, importantly, Accounts can send the final invoice. This all helps all of the departments achieve their Gross Profit targets, leads to good customer feedback and ensures overheads are kept to a minimum.
So, I recommend that every venue owner identifies their Champions, sets aside quality time (out of peak season) and puts together agendas that lead to the production of job sheets. That way time can be effectively managed, stress points reduced, and every couple’s wedding should be a resounding success.
Based in Kent, The Wedding Owl can provide you with successful strategies on how to start-up, grow or turnaround your wedding business, in the challenging and increasingly competitive wedding market contact her on 07957218340 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her blog at http://www.theweddingowl.com