A Venue Operation Can Only Have One Boss

A venue operation can only have one boss. And You’ll Do Good To Remember That! Hello, my name is Les, and I’m married to Teri. Together, we own and operate Denison Ridge Weddings and Events in Clayton, Washington. And in my real life job, I’m the boss. But at Denison Ridge… well, not so much. Okay, let me elaborate just a little bit.

In the normal day to day operations, it’s more like a partnership. Teri and I discuss options, lay out strategies, and execute plans as a team. Sometimes that can take a while, because we’re both a little – shall we say – head strong. So our version of teamwork can look a little like a competition from time to time. But we eventually get back to being on the same side and working toward the same goal… usually, lol.

But on wedding day, there can be no partnership (at least not in our case) because as I said, we’re both a little head strong. Since most wedding days operate on a tight schedule, there is only limited time for resolving differences of opinion. And – here’s a little nugget of wisdom for you guys out there – wedding day is all about making it a special day for the bride.

Now I’m not saying

Now I’m not saying the groom doesn’t count or that he doesn’t care – NO – what he cares about (or what he should care about) is making it a special day for his bride. And the same goes for all of the other men on wedding day.

So, back to me: as the husband, I’ve come to realize – mostly because Teri told me – that on wedding day, she is the lady in charge. That’s not to say that she doesn’t value my opinion or require my assistance. But on wedding day, things have to happen on schedule.  There may be some discussion and deliberation, but for the venue manager on wedding day, the first order of business is to have the venue ready.

At Denison Ridge, the venue is open for business at 10:00 a.m. on wedding day. When I say open for business, I mean the yard is immaculate, the ceremony location is set and chairs are in place, the tables are set according to the bride’s instructions, tables and chairs have been cleaned, and linens are on the tables and fluttering in the breeze by 9:00 a.m.

How, you may ask, did we arrive at this organizational arrangement? Well, mostly by trial and error. It all fell into place one wedding day, when I – being in not so cooperative a mood – caused my own beautiful bride to break down into tears. The day was like any other typical wedding day – which was my first mistake – there is no typical wedding day.

If you are interested you can see How our Wedding Venue got Started.

As a venue operator

As a venue operator, you will be well served to remember it may be another typical day in your life, but it an extra special day in the life of the bride and groom and their guests. But I digress – back to the topic at hand. It was just another day in the life of a venue operator – as I said, this was my first mistake – and I was late to get out of bed and get moving.

According to Teri’s schedule – which is the only schedule that matters on wedding day – we were already running behind. Running behind means my lovely bride is already feeling additional stress – mind you I said additional, because wedding day always arrives with some amount of stress. Remember, it is an extra special event on an extra special day that you are hosting, so you should be feeling some stress, it’s only natural.

To make matters even worse, my son and daughter – our venue hired hands – were equally tardy in getting up and getting started. When Teri – who’s already feeling additional stress – sees us working at a leisurely pace, she’s not very pleased.

This is where I, being the boss, inform Teri that she’s not my boss and that we’ve got everything handled. Which leads me to my second little nugget of wisdom: it’s all about your attitude. Instead of apologizing for my late start and assuring Teri that we’d have everything back on schedule as soon as possible, I cop an attitude – a not so good attitude.

Did I mention a venue operation can only have one boss?

This means

This means, that Teri and I are not enjoying our day, and we are not enjoying each other. In case you haven’t surmised the obvious, let me point it out. This is not a good place to be for venue operators on a wedding day. In the end, we were able to pull ourselves together and provide a spectacular setting for a special day. But, not before working through our issues.

Several days later, Teri and I sat down for an after wedding debrief; something that I highly recommend. Debriefing the day’s events lends itself to making improvements to the operation of your venue. This is something we always try to do.

During our debrief, Teri said we need to do better with staying on schedule. We discussed how to make that happen.  She knew what the answer was, and finally said it out loud. There needs to be one person responsible for making decisions on wedding day. There needed to be a boss and it needed to be her.

After some thought, I finally agreed. And while it made sense to me, let me state the obvious: Teri is the logical choice. She understands the bride’s perspective far better than I ever will. And beyond that, she’s got great organizational and planning skills. Her people skills are better than mine. And she’s much more approachable than me.

Let me wrap this

Let me wrap this package and put a bow on it: operating a successful venue will require an organizational structure. And while that may look like a partnership most of the time, on wedding days, it’s critical to have one person who is in charge. And for us, it made sense that it be Teri. Regardless of who it is, pick the best person for the job and show respect for them in that role. Because, a venue operation can only have one boss.
Best of luck!

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