Wedding Planner Vs. Coordinator (Explained)

When you start planning your wedding, the options of hiring a Wedding Planner Vs. Coordinator will come at you from different angles. Here is what you should expect from each of them.

A Wedding Planner literally plans the long-range aspects of your wedding, and a Wedding Coordinator actually coordinates your wedding after you already planned the bulk of it yourself.

Planning” includes site selections, budgeting, design, food and beverage choices, florals, entertainment, programs, etc., plus everything a coordinator does.

Coordinating” involves making sure everything that should be set up is set up correctly and per the plan, ensuring all vendors are where they should be, and that everything is flowing smoothly throughout your event.

A fully-fledged and well-seasoned wedding planner will often offer both a full wedding planning package and a day-of coordinator package in their portfolio for you to choose from.

Wedding Planner Vs. Coordinator

What Are The Benefits of Hiring A Wedding Planner

There are many benefits to hiring a wedding planner for your big day. However, if you are considering whether or not you need a professional, there are a few things that you need to consider.

First, is anything else going on in your life?

Are you trying to figure out how to juggle work and family and plan an event?

A wedding planner can help relieve the pressure of this monumental task.

They can help organize the event by getting quotes for vendors and researching new locations that will meet all your needs within your budget.

Having them there on the day of the event can be especially helpful with handling last-minute issues.

Secondly, do you have all the time in the world?

Organizing an event such as a wedding can take months of planning and multiple research trips to determine what style, theme, and vendors will suit your taste.

However, if you need it done quickly or are too busy with other obligations, hiring a planner can help relieve some stress.

They will work closely with each vendor and constantly contact the venue and other service providers.

Wedding Planner Vs. Coordinator

What Does A Day-of Wedding Coordinator Do?

Unlike most people’s perceptions, the term “day-of wedding coordinator” should rather be replaced with the term “months-of wedding coordinator”.

There is no way a wedding coordinator can show up on the wedding day and manage your entire wedding!

Typically the term of wedding coordinator is interchangeably used with the term of a day-of coordinator. 

They come onto the scene around 4 to 8 weeks before your wedding to learn about all the details you have already planned out without them.

In other words, you have already researched locations and booked your venue, selected a florist or designer, hired entertainment, a photographer, videographer, photo booth people, did your tasting and picked your final wedding menu, etc.

A wedding coordinator may review contracts and advise if there are any conflicts or questions if you still need to sign up certain vendors.

Wedding coordinators will spend much less time on your wedding than a wedding planner, on average roughly 20-30 hours, which is much less time than a full wedding planner.

This includes multiple in-person meetings, working with you on your timeline, emailing, and preferably a walkthrough.

Since your vendors are usually already hired by you by the time you hire a day-of wedding coordinator, they need to be introduced to everyone in your team weeks ahead.

By doing so, you can start passing the baton and merge the different teams to work together with the coordinator managing everything on your wedding day.

In addition to being your eyes and ears on the wedding day, your coordinator will also act as your intermediary between you and your vendors to tie things together.

They will oversee your design plans and help manage them on the day of, including setting up escort cards, place cards, small decoration items, programs for the ceremony, menu cards, etc. (like a full wedding planner), favors, and any decorations or designs that you wanted to incorporate on the day of like DIY elements, escort card table, etc.

In short, they will oversee and manage your vendors and handle the run of the show for you so that you do not have to worry about a thing while attending to all your duties as a bride!

What Does A Wedding Planner Do?

The benefits of hiring a wedding planner are numerous and worth the investment.

The big difference to a day-of wedding coordinator is that a wedding planner will be with you for the long term, and you would hire them from the get-go to lead you through the entire process of planning your wedding.

Experienced wedding planners have detailed insider knowledge of the industry and will expose you to different ideas that you otherwise may never have thought of.

When you work with a well-seasoned wedding planner, you will get support in helping you to figure out your budget and stick to it.

They will help with the decision-making process by providing recommendations and multiple options of vendors and designs so you can make an educated decision. Not having to do your own research will also save you tons of time.

In addition, they will work with you on a timeline outlining the months leading up to your wedding, a precise schedule for the day of the wedding, and create a scenario for the dinner & dance (run of the show), including the serving times for the food.

A wedding planner flags you on all deadlines and keeps you on track to achieve them.

On average, wedding planners work a whopping 80 to 450 hours on your wedding due to their long time commitment knitting together all details about your wedding.

You should be ready to attend 5-10 or more super detailed meetings that average one to two hours or longer.  These will all be worth it and take the burden off your workload.

Many wedding planners will also help you with emotional support when you are drowning in unsolicited opinions coming from close family members wanting to get across their own points of view.

They can often help clarify situations and give advice and directions on questions to things that your loved ones may not have expertise in.

Besides recommending vendors, wedding planners will help review vendor contracts and advise on adjusting the language if needed, help contract negotiations, do walk-throughs, attend the wedding tasting, and plan design meetings.

Wedding Planner Vs. Coordinator.

Wedding Planner Vs. Coordinator (What They Have In Common)

  • Both are the onsite presence and main point of contact at your wedding for vendors, bridal party, and guests during your wedding rehearsal, ceremony, and reception.
  • They make sure your day-of timeline is followed to a tee, and the pace of your event stays fluid.
  • They help usher guests from church to the wedding venue, or on-site ceremony, from room to room in tandem with the timeline to minimize transitional times.
  • Both oversee and communicate with vendors as things unfold on the day of the wedding.
  • Upon agreement, they will take care of the final payment to vendors (including gratuities).
  • They supervise the dinner schedule with entertainers (band, DJ), Caterer, and Banquet Staff to maintain the chronological order of events.
  • Both oversee and check the setup and design details implemented at the venue.
  • They resolve any dilemmas you may have on your wedding day and provide assistance with last-minute errands, like replacing on a fly a bowtie that was left at home, etc.
  • They also provide personal assistance to the Bride and Groom (i.e., having Advil handy if needed, getting the comfortable footwear that you left in the dressing room, helping to get your wedding gifts together upon departure).
  • They layout your programs for the ceremony, set up your gift card box, set up your seating chart or escort cards, place your tables numbers, set up your individual place cards on the dinner tables, keep an eye on the gift table, and arrange the favors you picked out for your guests.

So What Does A Venue Coordinator Do?

To be all-encompassing, we need to brush on the term venue coordinator.

A venue coordinator is typically the salesperson at your wedding location and is often referred to as a catering or catering sales manager.

They will assist in booking the venue and the catering portion of the event if it is being held on-site.

Catering or catering sales managers are an essential part of your wedding, and they are in charge of everything that happens on-site.

Therefore, they will not be concerned about whatever happens outside the venue, i.e., your ceremony if it is off-site, transportation, and all the other moving parts that don’t happen directly at the venue.

They will not discuss and advise on hair and make-up but would, on the other hand, help you with getting a dressing room to get ready in and help provide whatever food and beverage you may need while you are getting ready.

Their main focus is on location, including logistics, food and beverage consultation and coordination, staffing, and keeping the timeline during the live event.

The catering sales manager will typically not contact you until it’s time for the menu planning, conducting walk-throughs, and coordinating details, including creating floorplans with you and your wedding planner or coordinator.

They will not aid you with your wedding timeline for the months leading up to the day of your wedding or the day-of timeline until the actual event begins.

But they will be involved in all the timeline details during the actual reception to coordinate with the venue’s culinary, banquet and housemen team.

If you are working with a capable catering sales manager, it is absolutely possible to plan your entire wedding without the help of a wedding planner or wedding coordinator.

Remember, only about 30% of all weddings in the US are hiring a wedding planner.

You can expect a competent venue coordinator at high-end venues to handle many of the duties of a wedding coordinator but make sure to ask upfront what you can expect from them.

Final Thoughts

Many couples are in a position where they need to find the right person for their wedding, and not everyone has an idea of what they need or how to go about it.

There are so many options available. It can be difficult picking one!

Wedding planners assist long-term with all aspects of your wedding. They do this by interviewing you and making sure that you and your partner are organized enough to make sound decisions. From there, they will then create a plan for the event and carry it out.

Wedding Coordinators come in later in the game after you already planned out most of the bulk of your event.

Like a wedding planner, they will manage and organize all the moving parts of your event on the day of your wedding.


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  1. Pingback: How To Plan A Wedding Without a Wedding Planner: 16 Tips - Wedding CheckPoint

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