Differences between a Wedding Planner and Wedding Coordinator

Differences between a Wedding Planner and Wedding Coordinator are the tasks they perform.

VENUE COORDINATOR

Many venues include the services of a coordinator in their packages.  Usually, there is a meeting scheduled with the couple and venue coordinator the day of the rehearsal or a week prior to the ceremony.  Many details are discussed, such as; the timeline, a list of wedding vendors, seating chart, go over special requests and a walk-thru of the venue.   Venue coordinators can easily describe where everything is placed since the same layout is used for every wedding.

Venue Coordinator assists with

  • Rehearsal
  • Getting everyone down the aisle on the wedding day
  • Troubleshoot timeline issues on the wedding day
  • Direct your guests and answer their questions
  • Vendor liaison
  • Oversee set-up and break-down of the venue

On the wedding day they check on the bride and groom periodically to be sure they are having a good time, the food is as expected and will resolve any issues.  Even though the Venue Coordinator is paid by the venue you would be responsible to include them in the headcount for a meal.  A “Thank You” note with a tip or a gift card at the end of the evening would be a nice gesture but not a requirement.

WEDDING COORDINATOR

If your venue does not offer a coordinator and you want to enjoy your wedding day, another type of coordinator is a self-employed individual/company whose specialty is wedding coordination.  They get involved 4 to six weeks prior to the wedding.  Be sure to ask about their fee and payment options.  A Wedding Coordinator stays calm even during chaotic times and is familiar with all area venues and vendors.  They are experienced professionals and offer suggestions that you may not have thought of.

A Wedding Coordinator assists with

  • Seating charts
  • Has a full understanding of your wedding day vision
  • Coordinate arrival and departures of all vendors
  • Help to create a wedding day timeline
  • Are present at the rehearsal
  • Assist with the processional and recessional order of wedding party
  • Troubleshoot timeline issues on the wedding day
  • Direct your guests and answer their questions
  • Be a vendor liaison
  • Oversee set-up and break-down of the venue

Since they are on duty pretty much all day make be sure to ask if you are responsible for lunch, snacks and/or a dinner meal.  A “Thank You” card with a tip or gift card is a nice gesture at the end of the evening.

WEDDING PLANNER

If you are a first-time bride, have more than four in your wedding party, have limited time to plan, the majority of your guests are traveling to your venue or you have little wedding knowledge consider hiring a Wedding Planner.   Due to their experienced-based knowledge, you will be referred to only the best wedding vendors available in your area.  Keep in mind “The Best” is not always the most expensive.

A wedding planner gets involved in the early stages and will guide you through the process even after the wedding day.  They are considered an asset and will save you time and money.  Wedding planners are timeline sensitive calm multitaskers that are goal and detail oriented.  Even the smallest of details are given priority.

A Wedding Planner assists with

  • Timelines
  • Budget
  • Seating charts
  • Has a full understanding of your wedding day vision
  • Makes vendor referrals such as cake, venue, DJ, photographer, videographer, violinist, harpist, florist, transportation, caterer, officiant, rental company, hair/makeup, attire, decor, and lodging.
  • Coordinate all vendors on ceremony day
  • Will read all vendor contracts and track deposits and payments
  • Will work with Venue Coordinators
  • Available 24/7 during the planning phase
  • Direct your guests and answer their questions
  • Will delivery final payments to vendors on wedding day
  • Assist with the processional and recessional order of wedding party
  • On ceremony day, keeps a watchful eye on the bride, groom and their parents
  • Onsite for set-up and break down of venue on the day of rehearsal and ceremony day
  • Will provide a safety pin or bring you a beer

On your wedding day, the wedding planner is on duty and should be part of the headcount for dinner.  At the end of the evening, a “Thank You” card with a tip or a gift card is a nice gesture.  Or, after the honeymoon provide a review of the planner’s services.

Lastly . . . Always choose an experienced wedding professional.  Ask them “How long have you been in business?” And “How many weddings have you done?”  I know it is tempting but you do not want to be someone’s first client even though they offer their services at no cost or a low rate.  Avoid vendors that are dramatic, seem too busy to listen and are difficult to contact.  Instead, choose vendors that are calm, organized and good communicators.

Robin G Patton is a Wedding Officiant.  She is also a Wedding Planner, Coordinator, and Consultant.  She has been in business for 6 years and played a role in more than 200 weddings.