Wedding Planner vs Venue Coordinator | What’s the difference?!
Being a wedding photographer I get to see quite a few weddings each year; how the days go as far as organization and how smoothly the entire wedding day runs. One of the things that I notice frequently is that brides don’t quite know the difference between a wedding planner vs venue coordinator and what they each do for their clients.
Often when I ask my brides if they have a wedding planner that I can work with on the wedding day timeline they tell me that they didn’t hire a wedding planner because they have a venue coordinator who is going to handle all of the details for their wedding day. But there’s a big difference between a wedding planner vs venue coordinator.
So what IS the difference between a wedding planner vs venue coordinator?!
Baldwin Bridal, Sylver Weddings and Events, and Events by Maria have all graciously offered the following advice on what the difference between a wedding planner vs venue coordinator is to help you make the best possible choice for your wedding.
What does a wedding planner do?
A wedding planners job is to ultimately help their clients through the wedding planning process and to make sure that their wedding day runs smoothly. Depending on when they book their wedding planner and what type of help they’re looking for from their wedding planner will determine what the wedding planner will assist the couple with.
Some of the most common things that a wedding planner does for their couples is:
- Assistance finding other wedding vendors from their list of known, tested, and trusted wedding vendors.
- Help creating the style and design for their wedding vision. Such as choosing colors, designs, decor, etc.
- Getting to know the couples love story and works to incorporate that into their wedding day with them.
- Attending multiple meetings with clients to plan the wedding, meet with vendors, or do venue walk throughs.
- Maintaining close communication with the couple and being there to answer any of their questions throughout their entire wedding planning process.
- Analyzing vendor contracts and logistics.
- Creating multiple timelines for the wedding day; for the couple and for each of the vendors to ensure everyone is where they need to be.
- Creating multiple design layout options to figure out the best layout for each part of their wedding day.
- Act as a liaison and point of contact to ensure that their wedding day goes smoothly.
- Attending rehearsals/rehearsal dinners.
- Day of Coordination, which includes overall management and organization for the entire wedding day. Including set up, decor styling, ensuring vendors are on time for setting up, assisting the couple, and keeping the entire days events on track.
What does a venue coordinator do?
A venue coordinator or venue manager is the person who handles everything for the venue itself. Their responsibility is to manage the venue, make sure their employees/vendors are working to their upmost abilities, to ensure the venue policies are followed, and to watch out for the venue’s best interests.
Depending on the wedding venue, their specific tasks that they handle can vary. Sometimes they oversee the setting up of the tables, chairs, and linens. Sometimes they’re only there to open the doors to the vendors and the rest is up to everyone else. Often times even these tasks are handed off to a Banquet Caption for the day of the wedding and the venue coordinator that you’ve been working with for the past year isn’t even available.
So the venue coordinator or venue managers priority is for the venue and not necessarily for their clients. They will not be there to make sure that everything runs smoothly and on time for all of the events throughout the day or to get the couple anything that they need throughout the day or to ensure that each of the vendors are on time for setting up and that they have what they need.
So what are the benefits to you for hiring a wedding planner vs venue coordinator?
With a wedding planner you can be confident that your wedding day is going to go the way you want it to. Your wedding planner will have taken the time to get to know you and your family so that they know who to go to if need be. Your wedding planner is also going to make sure that each of the vendors you hired are doing the job they’ve been hired to do and your wedding planner will be able to provide assistance in finding a replacement vendor last minute if the need ever arises.
Another thing to watch out for is that many wedding venues use a “Pay to Play” method when it comes to referring other wedding vendors to their clients. In other words, the professional vendors on the venue coordinators referral list PAID to be there. They could be the worst in the industry but they will still get referred to couples because they paid to be on the list.
Wedding planners don’t have this restriction and don’t use the “Pay to Play” method. The wedding vendors they have on their list are vendors that they know, have worked with before, they work well with other wedding professionals, do quality work, and that they trust to provide their couples with the best possible product or service for their wedding day. Which is what you want for your wedding day!
Should you hire a wedding planner for your wedding day?
My advice would be to ABSOLUTELY hire a wedding planner for your wedding day. Having been a past bride myself and having made the mistake of NOT hiring a wedding planner, I can tell you from experience that you WANT a wedding planner there to help you plan your wedding day and to make sure the wedding day itself runs smoothly! The amount of time and stress alone that a wedding planner will save you is worth every single penny!!! Plus they’ve done this before, where this is probably your first time and you don’t know everything that needs to be done.
Tips on finding a wedding planner and working with them:
Interview several different wedding planners to see what each of them offers, how they work with their clients, and how well you connect with each of them. You will be spending a lot of time with your wedding planner over the next few months to a year, so you want to make sure you’re a good fit and that you’re comfortable with each other.
Also don’t make the price the reason to hire or not hire a wedding planner. Most wedding planners will be able to make your budget work with their cost included and if they’re not able to then they will tell you up front. Wedding planners put WAY more time into your wedding than you will ever know or see, so don’t ask them for a discount either. The time they put into your wedding will far outweigh what they charge for their services. Plus the time and stress that they’ll be saving you on top of that is worth it’s weight in gold!
When you work with a wedding planner you need to make sure that you’re clear about what you want and to be totally honest with them about your budget. They will be able to help you get the things you want for your wedding within your budget, but they need to know your real budget in order to do that. Also be understanding when they don’t respond right away to you on the weekends. They’ll be working with other wedding clients and will need to give them their complete focus, just like they’ll be doing for the weekend of your wedding.
If you’re a bride planning your wedding in Southern California, be sure to check out the three amazing wedding planner ladies who helped provide this advice! All three of them are on my recommended wedding vendor list and are very well trusted!
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