The Difference Between a DOC, Venue Manager and Maitre d'

Photo courtesy of Misty Dawn Photography
There are several different people you may come into contact with while planning your wedding.  Each one plays a very important role in the overall success of an event.  Sometimes it can be confusing to understand what function each will be responsible for, so here’s the scoop on who does what! 

DOC or Day of Coordinators
A Day of Coordinator is a wedding planner who is hired to work the day of the wedding.  They are responsible for everything on the day of the wedding so that you have peace of mind and can enjoy your day.  A DOC is responsible for setting up the venue, for example, setting up your place cards and gift table, adding any extra decorations to the venue that you wanted, making sure everything is ready for the ceremony (decorations, candles, readings, etc). Other responsibilities include making sure all the vendors are onsite and prepared, directing guests and answering their questions, distributing flowers to your VIPs, lining everyone up for the ceremony processional, giving your musicians queues, wrangling your family and friends for photos, bustling the bride’s gown, ensuring your guests find their reception tables quickly and easily, facilitating the formalities of the event, packing up all of your decorations and gifts at the end of the reception and making sure all guests safely leave for the after party.  They ensure the day runs smoothly and according to plan and will take care of any issues without bothering the bride and groom.  They are the point person for the wedding day and the advocate for their client’s wishes.  A DOC does not work for a particular venue.  They are independent from the venue and work with the Venue Managers and Maitre d's, along with the other professionals you hire for your big day, to create a successful event that is carried out to your expectations.

Even though a DOC is hired for the wedding day, they usually have more of a hand in planning the event.  At Proud to Plan, we have 3 planning meetings with our DOC clients and we help them develop a timeline for the day, flows for the ceremony & reception and also confirm all those arrangements with each vendor the week before the wedding. DOC's can offer tons of ideas and recommendations for your wedding and also serve as a great sound board for ideas you may be considering.  They will have plenty of suggestions, tricks and tips and will work with you to execute the wedding of your dreams within a realistic budget. Most Day of Coordinators offer more packages than just "Day of Service."  Many offer packages that range from partial planning to planning the entire wedding and also offer a la carte options so you can customize a package to fit your needs. 

A Venue Manager 
The Venue Manager is the person who oversees all the departments at a venue and ensures that they are running smoothly. Sometimes this person is responsible for selling the services at the venue, too.  Typically you may work with the Venue Manager in the planning stages of the wedding and then this person may hand off the details to the Maitre d' to run the event the evening of the wedding.  For example, if you booked your wedding at a country club, you may tour the property, review details of the contract and choose the menu for the wedding with the Venue Manager. However, on the day of the wedding, the Venue Manager will hand those details over to the Maitre d' who will be onsite the day of the wedding.  This is not always the case, as some Venue Managers will stay throughout the reception and are the last person to leave the premises.  They are ultimately responsible for the venue and will handle any facility-related issues that may arise. 

Sometimes the Venue Manager conducts your tasting and/or your detail planning meeting, too.  At the tasting, you will sample the selections you are interested in offering to your guests as well as discuss things like timing for the formalities/meal service and floor plan. This can take place anytime from before you contract to about 3 months out. Your detail planning meeting will happen within the final month of your wedding.  At this meeting, you will provide specifics to the Venue Manager about your decisions and will give a final count for meals and guest tables. Sometimes the Maitre d’ will attend this meeting, so you have a chance to meet them before your wedding day.

Maitre d' 
You are probably familiar with the term Maitre d'.  The Maitre d' is the headwaiter and ensures that the dining portion of the evening runs smoothly.  The Maitre d's is the main communicator between the kitchen and the dining room. He/She is the person who keeps the kitchen on time during the meals and lets the Chef know when the salads are cleared and the dining room is ready for the entree. 

The Maitre d' manages the wait staff for the evening as well.  Not only is he/she in charge of scheduling and assigning tables to the wait staff but is also responsible for any situations that may arise.  Sometimes the Maitre d' is also referred to as the Captain. 

Often, there is also a Bridal Attendant. Sometimes this person can be the Maitre d’ but typically it’s another role, altogether.  This person exclusively handles the needs of the head or sweetheart table and the family or bridal party tables.  The Bridal Attendant ensures the VIPs are well taken care of and have lots to eat and drink throughout the night. 

The Maitre d' will work with your DOC to ensure proper timing of the event.  For example, the DOC and Maitre d' will make sure they are both on the same page for timing of things such as the Toasts, First Dance, Cake Cutting, etc. and the DOC will alert the VIPs and vendors when those formalities happen while the Maitre d’ alerts the kitchen and staff.  This keeps the reception schedule moving along seamlessly and stress-free for everyone involved! 


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