Different Roles of Event Professionals

As an event space with several in-house event coordinators, we are frequently asked about our services vs. those of an event planner.  While the names are similar and both roles are important, the job responsibilities are actually quite different.

What happens during the planning stages of a wedding?

                A full package with an event planner typically includes conceptualizing an event from the very beginning, including the ceremony and reception locations.  A planner works with the clients to create a vision for the event, with heavy influence in the décor aspect.  Planners also frequently negotiate details of contracts with other vendors, such as relaying timelines to photographers and DJs.

                On the flipside, an event coordinator does not come on until a specified time prior to the event date.  For example, after an event is booked at dock580, one of our in-house coordinators begins the planning process with that client 9-10 months prior to the wedding date, even if they book a year or more in advance.  A coordinator’s planning process is geared much more heavily toward the food aspect of the event, with additional time on important services including timeline construction and the conceptualization of floor plans.  The remainder of the coordinator’s responsibility during the planning process is to document the details brought in from the clients or planner so that they can be fully executed day-of.

What happens on the day of a wedding?

                As with the early stages of a wedding, a planner’s responsibility lies mostly in décor and client relations on the big day.  Since the planner has had more involvement in the creation of the décor, it is their responsibility to see the clients’ vision come to life, prior to guest arrival.  It is also expected that a planner will keep an eye on things like off-site photos or an unruly bridal party, to make sure everything runs smoothly for the client day-of.

                Once all of the set up is done, an event coordinator’s main responsibilities really begin.  While most planners offer a ceremony coordination service, the majority of dock580’s ceremonies use our in-house coordinators.  Ceremony coordination includes lining up families and bridal party and cuing musicians for the processional.  Afterwards, it is the coordinator’s responsibility to make sure that the remaining items on the timeline go off without a hitch.  From a room flip, to the timeliness of dinner service, to being a liaison between all of the other vendors, the coordinator pulls together the details and services from a logistical standpoint day-of.  Also, since the coordinator is much more familiar with the ins and outs of that specific venue, they are heavily relied on to troubleshoot unforeseeable mishaps, day-of.

What services do dock580 event coordinators provide?

                -  event coordination, beginning 9-10 months prior to the event, including 2-3 detail meetings and a tasting

                -  menu planning

                -  timeline construction

                -  floor plan creation, complete with CAD layouts

                -  organization of the details of your event, including décor & centerpieces, dessert, the bar, other vendors,   and anything else you want to include in your big day

                -  day of set up of basic décor & centerpieces, as well as timeline execution and troubleshooting

When do you need a planner, in addition to your venue-provided event coordinator?

                Many clients are planning from out of town, out of state, or even out of country; a planner can be crucial in these situations.  Having someone who can represent your vision in person is a huge comfort.

                Time is another huge factor in deciding whether or not to hire a planner.  Many of our clients have busy work schedules, travel for work, or are still working on their degree, all of which mean they don’t enough time to fully plan their own wedding.  Hiring someone to deal with the tedious details frees you up to focus on your other goals.

                Finally, some people just don’t know all that goes in to planning.  Sometimes those of us in the industry forget that not everyone plans hundreds of weddings a year.  If you just got engaged and you have a vague idea of what you want but no idea how to get there, a planner can help you achieve your vision.

                At the end of the day, your planner and your coordinator work together to cover every base of your event to make one of the biggest days of your life everything you dreamed of.



The Caribbean is best known for its tropical climate, turquoise waters, and powder white sand beaches with a few having pink and or black sand beaches. First, let me tell you a little history of the islands and my island, Antigua and Barbuda.


Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493, the island was settled by ​Venezuelans,​ m​ost of whom traveled by canoe. The first known settlement was by the Amerindians, then the Arawaks, who were then displaced by the Caribs, an aggressive tribe. D​uring his second voyage, Christopher Columbus ​sighted the island and named it after a church in Spain, Santa Maria La Antigua. Most Antiguans are African descendants of slaves brought to the island centuries ago to work on sugar plantations. Remnants of wind mills used for the production of sugar can still be found on the island. Some were restored while others were transformed into shops or stores.



Becoming acquainted with the history of the Caribbean, you first have to understand its culture. The Caribbean culture has historically been influenced by the Europeans -especially the British, Spanish, and  ​French -​ as well as ​the African slave trade and the indigenous peoples. The rich culture and cuisine set against a backdrop of crystal clear waters and never ending sunshine is what gives the Caribbean its lasting influence on travelers. Tourism is by far the biggest money earner in the Caribbean because of its exotic tropical setting.


Each island has a national dish and my island in particular has two popular ones. Ducuna (DOO-KOO-NA) is a steamed dumpling made from grated sweet potato, coconut, flour, and spices. The other is Fungee (FOON-JI), a paste made of cornmeal, okra, and water, very similar to polenta.

                                                                                                           Ducuna Creole Cod Fish and Calaloo


Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of African, European, East Indian, Arab,​ and Chinese. However, each island has created styles unique to that region. The ingredients most common in island dishes are rice, plantains, beans, cassava (a starchy root vegetable), cilantro, bell pepper, chick peas, tomatoes, sweet potato with a white flesh that is ​firmer than the more popular orange one, and coconut. Meats locally available are beef, goat, poultry, pork,​ and an abundance of fresh seafood. A traditional seasoning for the region is a green herb and oil based marinade, which imparts a flavor profile truly Caribbean. Ingredients included onion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, celery, green onion,​ and herbs like cilantro, marjoram, tarragon,​ and thyme. This seasoning is used in a variety of dishes like curry, stews,​and roasted meats. 


So when traveling the Caribbean, immerse yourself in the culture of the islands, its cuisine, music,​ and historical sites. Remember, the beach is just the beginning. 

 - Chef Andie 



Wedding Traditions

When people begin to plan their wedding ceremony, most begin with the traditions – the bride wears white; the bride stands on the left of the alter and the groom on the right; the couple CANNOT see each other before the ceremony; there must be a bridal party….. etc, etc, etc. But from where do these traditions come? Here’s a little history lesson to help you decide what to include in your wedding day, and what you want to leave to the history books.

First and foremost, the bride did NOT always wear white. Shocking, no? This tradition came around in the 1800s when Queen Victoria wore a white dress. Quite the trend setter that one; she also was the first to use Wagner’s ‘Bridal Course’ for the processional. Before the Queen’s wedding, Brides would wear the nicest dress they owned, no matter the color.

Photo credit: Rosey Red Photography / 10.10.15 Claire & Dustin Krebs

Secondly, walking down the aisle, why are the men on the right and the women on the left? In ye olden days, Brides were often kidnapped and brought to the ceremony. Brides & Grooms were NOT allowed to see each other before the ceremony, just in case the site of the other person would make them change their mind. During the ceremony, the men would need to keep their right arm free to access their sword to protect the woman they captured from being taken back. So romantic. Whoever was the best kidnapper helper would automatically become the ‘best man.’

 Photo credit: Christa Kimble Photography /  

Speaking of bestmen, in Roman times, bridal parties were ‘required’ for safety. They believed that dressing up a bridal party in the same outfits as the happy couple would confuse the evil spirits from attacking. Matching body-guards, if you will.

These are just a few traditions. Throughout the world, each culture holds unique and beautiful traditions to celebrate marriage. But no matter what you decide to include (or exclude) for your ceremony, we will celebrate with you in the commitment you make to each other.

 Photo credit: Courtney Martin /  10.24.15 Devin & JR Lynn

Anddd just in case that wasn’t enough of wedding lesson for you, watch this sassy 4 year old tell her dad about weddings.

Happy weddings!

Emily xoxo



Take a risk.

Looking back over my years, the taking of risk has been instrumental in all phases of my life.  Together, my wife and I will measure risk in matters of family, household, and business to keep us moving toward our goals.

Give to others.

Give back, period.  Give of time, money, in-kind donations, mentoring … or all of the above.  Build into others.  I am blessed to be on two boards, coach high school football, and mentor young men.  We can all touch a life to make it a little bit better.  By the way, the “I don’t have time” excuse doesn’t fly; make it a priority.  This is critical for character building.

Bigger than you.

Look for and be a part of things bigger than yourself.  We are meant to be in community.  Having part in a cause or outreach that transcends your life helps to fulfill and keep perspectives on whatever life throws at you.  These are usually areas of passion with a good measure of interaction.

In closing, always keep your dreams bigger than your memories.  Fulfilling others will, in turn, fulfill you. 

- Steve Rayo


Wedding Pictures...

Everyone wants them and everyone gets them!

Here at dock580, the coordinators are constantly getting asked for suggestions on where to get outdoor pictures taken onsite. So, for all of our current and future brides, take a look at where we think our best onsite locations are for wedding pictures!


One of our favorite spots to recommend is the blue garage doors in the north parking lot. Oftentimes, when we first mention it, our clients are skeptical.  Once we send them some pictures, they love the location as much as we do!  What do you think?



Our terrace in front of the Venue has an amazing backdrop of downtown Columbus. Whether you take pictures during the day or in the evening, you will, without a doubt, have a beautiful skyline behind you! 


We also have a lot of beautiful brick walls around The Smith Brother’s Hardware Building that we suggest taking advantage of.

 Photo courtesy of TyNicole photography


Speaking of The Smith Brother’s Hardware building, there’s an amazing archway leading you onsite, as well.

 Photo courtesy of Mark Rabbit Photography


On the front side of The Smith Brothers Hardware Building, there is a beautiful garden with seasonal flowers.

Photo curtsey of Julian Allen Photography


Needless to say there are many photo opportunities right here on site. You don’t have to leave premise to get amazing wedding pictures!

A big “Thanks” to all our past clients and, of course, our photographers for the amazing pictures that you are always taking of what we consider to be the best event venue in Downtown Columbus!

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