Thursday, January 19, 2012

Interview Questions for your Hotel Wedding Coordinator

The great thing about four and five star hotels is that in recent years they have gotten very good at running weddings. Many of these resorts have hired outstanding wedding coordinators. These places handle most of the wedding planning chores, so not too much effort is needed by the bride, almost the only work she has to do is find herself a beautiful dress and determine what the clothing is needed for the bridal party.

Many couples think they can't afford a wedding at a beautiful hotel resort, that's further than the truth. You see at weddings at hotels, they offer all sorts of bundling of services which saves the couple a lot of money. Many four and five star hotels have designed a ceremony site on their premise, matter of fact many have two ceremony spots, one for outdoors if the weather is nice, and one indoors if there is inclement weather.

At these resorts, you work with their wedding coordinator to help you plan your wedding. There is a lot to cover. You might start out with the ceremony sites and how many guests you plan for the wedding, they may have a number of spots in their venue depending on the amount of wedding guests. Most resort hotels hire outstanding chefs who can prepare gourmet meals and offer all the extras such as scrumptious hot hors d'oeuvres, delicious desserts, a good coffee bar, and even offer an eye appealing wedding cake. Many of the hotels even provide beautiful ice sculptures.

The hotels have under contract many wedding vendors that are on their list of preferred vendors, most of these vendors have had to prove themselves to the hotel in order to make their preferred list. The hotel may offer or may require for you to use in-house wedding musicians, disc jockeys, in house wedding photographers, wedding videographers, bartenders, wait staff, and even have florists and decorators. The wedding coordinator often has a seat planning tool to help you out in your floor planning of your wedding reception. A few wedding coordinators will even help you out with your invitation process, help you gather your wedding guest list, help you design your invitations, and handle your RSVPs and put your wedding favors together.

One the nice things about weddings at hotels, it makes it easy to transition the wedding ceremony to the wedding reception all the events are right there all together, you don't need to travel. Many hotels have great areas to host dance bands, music groups, rock groups, or jazz bands for your wedding. Many have a built in dance floor. They also offer many amenities at the hotel such as health spas, beauty centers, decorative swimming pools, and fancy restaurants.

The wedding area often offers a bar for drinking, and a place for your guests to stay. The wedding couple often gets a free hotel suite once a threshold is reached of a certain amount of rooms booked. Usually hotels will require the couple to block a quota of rooms, it may be 6, 10, 15 or something other. If the couple can afford it, a great idea for out of town guests is to leave a gift basket of local goodies, as an appreciation for traveling afar to come to their wedding. The gift basket should be loaded with bottles of a drink, maybe mineral water, munchies, local treats, a schedule of events, and a map and things to do in the area.

There might be some of your guests that might not be able to afford the hotel of the wedding. You should also try to find a less expensive hotel in the area they might consider staying at and how to get to it such as a shuttle. You might even find a family or friend for some out of town guests to stay with.

The following is a list of questions you might ask a wedding coordinator for your hotel or resort, because of bundling of services, there are a lot of questions to ask to go over.

Interview Questions for your Hotel Wedding Coordinator
1-Ask for a brochure, what is the name of the hotel, address, phone number, and website information?
2-Ask for a business card, what is the name of the wedding coordinator, phone number, and contact information such as their email address?
3-What is the name of the hotel manager, phone number, and email address?
4-Is the hotel available for the date of our wedding?
5-Can the hotel have enough room for the amount of our wedding guests?
6-Can the hotel handle the budget we have for our wedding?
7-How long has the hotel been in operation?
8-How many weddings does the hotel handle in a year? during a typical week? during our wedding week? on our wedding day?
9-How many years has the wedding coordinator been handling weddings?
10-How many weddings has the wedding coordinator handles in their lifetime? in the past year? in the past month?
11-How does the wedding coordinator like to communicate? how often do they communicate?
12-Are other weddings or events happening at the hotel the day of the wedding or do we have the only wedding happening?
13-Is there a portfolio of pictures of other weddings they can share?
14-Does your hotel offer a wedding site location for our wedding ceremony? if so, how many guests can fit in the location? do you have chairs for the location? how will the location be laid out? how will the location be decorated? are there props and decorations for the ceremony?
15-Can a tent be used or can we bring a tent for the outdoor wedding ceremony site?
16-How many wedding reception locations do you have? what does each location feature? how many guests can each room handle? how might the rooms be decorated?
17-What is the allotted time for a reception? (typically a hotel offers the room for 5 to 7 hours which includes 2 hour set-up).
18-What should happen if the wedding reception runs over the allotted time? is there overtime costs?
19-Is there an in-house caterer? are we allowed to bring our own caterer?
20-What is the chef's specialty? how much experience does the chef have? can we meet him/her?
21-Is there a menu of choices? can we see it? can we take a menu of choices home for review? can we meet with the caterer to get a recommendation of choices?
22-Is there a location to offer a cocktail hour before the reception? if yes, what types of drinks will be available? how many guests can the location accommodate? how far is the location from the reception area? is there a bar? can appetizers and hors d'oeuvres be offered? are bartenders and wait staff provided or would we need to find some? are there decorative restrictions? how long can the cocktail hour be?
23-Can we bring our own bartenders and wait staff to the wedding reception?
24-Is there a menu of choices for appetizers and hors d'oeuvres?
25-Does the caterer provide a wedding cake? can we provide our own wedding cake? is there pictures of wedding cakes from other weddings made by the hotel? where is the wedding cake stored? how many days before the wedding cake is baked?
26-Are there desserts offered? what choices are offered? is there a menu of choices?
27-Is a coffee bar available for the reception? are flavored coffees part of the coffee bar? what else is provided for the coffee bar? (cups, saucers, sugars, coffee straws, napkins, other hot drinks such as tea, other).
28-Is a candy buffet bar available? can a chocolate fountain be included? what are the possibilities? if you don't offer a candy bar, can we provide our own?
29-Does the hotel offer ice sculptures? can we provide our own?
30-Is there a taste test provided of the main entrees? for the hors d'ouevres and appetizers? for the wedding cake? for the desserts? can we come for a taste test before signing a contract?
31-Can you tell me about the bartenders? how many will be available for the amount of our wedding guests? how much experience do the bartenders have? can we bring our own bartenders? can we bring our own liquor? can we bring our own wine? are there corkage fees? (a fee for each alcohol bottle opened) how should tips be handled? (no tipping should be allowed for wedding guests, should be handled by the wedding couple). Can no tipping signs be used by the bartenders stations?
32-Does the hotel require a cash bar or an open bar as an arrangement? what times can the bar be opened? what time must the bar be closed?
33-How much wait staff doe the hotel employ? have available for our wedding? can be bring along our own wait staff? how aides in the kitchen? how many waiters/waitresses? how many busboy?
34-Does the facility have their own insurance? how much does it cost?
35-Does the reception have a tool for seat planning? is there one we can take to use? do we or does the wedding coordinator handle the seat planning? can adjustments to seating be made late in the process?
36-How many tables and chairs will be needed for our wedding reception? are more needed?
37-How will the head table be arranged and set up?
38-What other buffet tables will be available and be used?
39-What type of serving will be used? sit-down dinner? buffet style? other?
40-What type of tableware can be used? what dishes will be part of the place setting? what flatware can be used for the place setting? what glasses can be used for the place setting? does the hotel provide charger plates or can charger plates be used? what serving vessels and dishes be needed for the buffet tables? are there any supplies that will need to be rented from a rental services store?
41-Are there any additional supplies needed for the kitchen?
42-What type of linen options are available for the reception? can the hotel provide linens for the color scheme or wedding theme we have chosen? what type of linens are available to cover the tables? are there linens for chair covers? are there colored napkins? can we use a rental services company for linens to match up with our color scheme?
43-What type of bar needs doe the hotel offer? what type of drinks are offered? can we control the times bar service is offered? what garnishments are offered? can we restrict tipping of the bartenders? what mix of drinks does the bar include? is there a corkage fee? what happens to drinks that are opened?
44-Are there tables offered for the wedding cake and wedding gifts? is the wedding cake away from the wall for picture taking purposes?
45-How would the wedding reception be decorated? can we have control of decorating the wedding reception? can we do our own wedding reception decorating? are there any restrictions? how long before the reception can the area begin to be decorated?
46-Does the hotel provide table centerpieces for the wedding reception? can we decide on table centerpieces  for the reception to use? can we bring our own table centerpieces?
47-Does the hotel use a florist for decorations? do we have any say on floral design? does the florist handle floral needs for the wedding party? bouquet for the bride? bouquets, boutonnieres, and carnations for the bridal party? any other floral decorations? floral centerpieces? flower petals on tables
48-Who makes the decision on decorations, the wedding coordinator or someone other?
49-Can lights be color coordinated to our wedding scheme? what type of lighting is allowed?
50-Are hanging fabrics allowed to be used in our wedding reception? are we allowed to to bring our own decorator for hanging fabrics?
51-Can pyrotechnics be used in the wedding reception area?
52-Does the hotel employ their own wedding exclusive musicians? are the musicians on a preferred list? can we bring our own musicians? can there be a wedding band? is there another location for the wedding band or can they play in the reception location? where would the band be located? where would the dance floor be located? are there music restrictions? is there a music time ordinance? what time should the band be booked? can we hear the musicians before choosing them? do we have a choice in musicians?
53-Does the hotel employ their own disc jockeys? are the disc jockeys on a preferred list? what is a good location for the disc jockeys? (note disc jockeys and musicians should not be too close together or their equipment might get interference from each other such as screeching).
54-Are there electrical outlets set up for the musicians and disc jockeys or might extra wires be needed? can special lighting be used by our musicians?
55-Is there an electrical engineer available for our musicians and disc jockeys?
56-Who handles the time activities of when things begin? (seating, cocktail hour, toasting, dancing, music begins, disc jockey begins, cake cutting, etc.)
57-Are there any servants available to cut the wedding cake? is there a cake cutting fee? are there plates for the cake? are there cake knifes and cake servers available?
58-Are there any hotel restrictions? (smoking, lit candles. alcohol favors, other)
59-Is there anyone assigned to handle the wedding toast? are toasting glasses available? is champagne available? is wait staff available for the toast? can we bring our own champagne? what happens to the champagne not opened?
60-Does the hotel employ wedding photographers? are the wedding photographers part of a preferred list? can we bring our own wedding photographers? what packages are offered? how many shots will they take? when do they start and finish? do they create an album?
61-Does the hotel employ wedding videographers? are the wedding videographers part of a preferred list? can we bring our own wedding videographers? what packages do they offer? when do they start and finish? when would our video be ready?
62-Does the hotel employ wedding officiants? are the wedding officiants part of a preferred list? what happens if we need to bring our own officiant because of our religion? can we bring our own officiant(s)?
63-Are there other rental items that need to be addressed?
64-Are there other areas in the hotel we can use for our wedding such as a lobby or a hall? what furniture is allowed for areas we have control? does the hotel have furniture we can use or can we bring in additional furniture?
65-How do we arrange for someone to transfer wedding gifts to a home?
66-What condition are the bathrooms and how many bathrooms are near the reception area? can we decorate the bathrooms further?
67-Is there a room for the bride near the reception area in order to change? what does the room provide?
where could an emergency bridal kit be kept?
68-Is there a room available for bridal party members?
69-Does the ceremony site and wedding reception site have handicap access?
70-Is there a coat room available or a spot for a coat rack available? is there a coatroom attendant? (the tipping should be handled by the wedding couple) can a sign be placed for no tipping?
71-How is parking handled at the hotel? how many parking spaces are available? is there shuttle service? shuttle service to the airport? is there bus service? where is the bus stop? is taxi service available? where would limos drop off and pick wedding party guests up? is there an in-house limo?
72-Are there events in the area that might interfere with parking?
73-Is there valet service provided at the hotel? how can we set up valet service for our wedding guests? (the rules for weddings are, the wedding couple should cover valet charges, valets are not suppose to get tipped by wedding guests).
74-Is there a limousine service offered by your hotel?
75-What type of heat does the hotel use? does the facility have air-conditioning? do we have control of the thermostat control of the reception area?
76-Would a guest book table be allowed? where could it be situated?
77-Where would a bride and groom reception line be situated?
78-Can a photo booth be allowed? can we bring in props for guests to wear? where could a photo booth be situated?
79-Where could a slide show and table of pictures be situated?
80-Do you have an easel or a wall to show where wedding guests are seated?
81-What restrictions do the entrance area have? can we decorate the entrance area?
82-Is there a quiet area we can reserve in which guests can hold conversations, that's not too far away from the reception? can we or the hotel equip the area with furniture?
83-Is there an area we can have musicians to entertain our guests? can we have a string quartet? a harpist? a pianist? a violinist? a soloist? a mariachi band? a guitarist?
84-At what times can ceremonies and receptions begin? At what time must the reception have to close up?
85-Is there a wait staff that cleans up after the ceremony and reception?
86-Does the wedding coordinator help with guest lists, wedding invitations, and wedding favors?
87-When would final headcount and food orders need to be provided? can the hotel handle restrictive diets?
88-Are there special meals that can be provided for our own wedding vendors?
89-Are there special meals for children?
90-Are there nanny services provided by the hotel?
91-Can the hotel accommodate our overnight guests?
92-Can we protect a block of rooms for overnight guests? is there a discount offered if we reach a certain level of rooms booked?
93-At what date would the block of rooms become unprotected?
94-Is there any other way to get a discount?
95-Is there someone at the hotel that can handle gift baskets? can gift baskets be left in the room or must be left at the front desk?
96-Is there concierge service provided by the hotel? (concierge service is like a help and information desk)
97-Does your hotel provide honeymoon suites? what amenities do the honeymoon suites offer? do we get the honeymoon suites for free if we reach a threshold of visitors or from having our wedding and wedding reception at your hotel? are there amenities offered to our wedding guests?
98-Are there any special discounts offered? discounts to have our wedding for specific dates? discounts to have the wedding a specific date of the week?
99-What less expensive hotels or bed and breakfasts would you recommend that need cheaper arrangement?
100-Can we view the premises of wedding locations at the hotel including ceremony site, reception locations, the kitchen, rooms the bride can use, and rooms for guests and honeymoon suites?
101-Can we take pictures of the ceremony site and reception areas as well as other areas we are touring?
102-Are there pictures we can see from other weddings that have taken place at the hotel?
103-Can we stop by and see the hotel, how it is set for upcoming weddings?
104-Are there special wedding packages offered by the hotel?
105-How are cancellations and refunds handled?
106-What is the latest date needed to sign a contract to book our wedding?
107-How much is the final cost for our wedding?
108-Can we see all costs broken down?
109-Do the costs include everything? are there any hidden charges that we might encounter?
110-How are tips and taxes handled?
111-Can we review the contract before making a final decision?
112-At what date is the deposit due?
113-When is final payment due?
114-How can the payments be made? (credit card, debit card, certified check, personal check, cash, Paypal, other)
115-Are fireworks allowed at the hotel? are there outdoor restrictions?
116-Is there anything that needs to be discussed not covered?
117-Can we get 3 referrals from other couples that used the hotel for their wedding on the past year? (contact at least 2 couples, ask them to rank 1-10 about communication, service, food, wedding cake, promptness, and how well the hotel was decorated, about vendors and any restrictions they encountered)

As you can see there is a lot to cover when interviewing a wedding coordinator in a hotel, the great thing about it, the hotels tend to use high quality vendors and the coordinator cuts down on the wedding planning that needs to be done. You might want to check out a number of hotels in the area before deciding on one. Make sure you find a coordinator you are comfortable dealing with, ask. Visually inspect the premises, meet all your wedding vendors and check out the kitchen and honeymoon suite too. Bring along a family member or friend with you on your interview? Add, subtract, or adjust questions to your particular need?

Hotel weddings take a lot of headaches from wedding planning, they aren't as expensive as you might think because of all the bundling you get. Many hotels have many restrictions though, particularly in the decoration area and might insist you use their dishes, linen, liquor, and photographers. Some hotels are stricter and others are more lenient.

See you on the other side!


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    Interview Questions

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