If you’re puzzled about the difference between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner, you wouldn’t be the first. Chances are you don’t get married every day (I mean, who does?), which makes making important planning (and financial) decisions like deciding to hire a wedding planner (or just using a venue coordinator) a little bit tricky.
I teamed up with Jordyn and Alexis, the BFF duo behind Simply XO Events (one of my favorite planning and coordination businesses), to break it down for you.
What exactly is the difference between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner?
If you had to break it down into one sentence, what would you say is the definition of a venue coordinator and a wedding planner?
A venue coordinator is someone who oversees the wedding and logistically has the venue’s best interest in mind.
A wedding planner is someone who ensures that every little detail is accounted for and executes those details while keeping the couple’s best interests in mind.
What are some of the ways a wedding planner can support you that a venue coordinator may not offer?
Don’t get us wrong, we love venue coordinators, but not every venue (or every venue coordinator) tackles all of the responsibilities needed to make a wedding day run smoothly.
A wedding planner or external day of coordinator will manage all of the vendors on your wedding day and ensure they know where to set up and what to do. They will also begin to confirm with them 30 days prior to the wedding day to answer any questions and make sure they have a copy of the timeline so everyone is on the same page.
A wedding planner will help to create your wedding day timeline and build that timeline with your photographer so that you get all the dreamy photos you are wanting.
A wedding planner will help with setting up your centerpieces and any additional decor as well, making sure it goes with the right person at the end of the night.
A wedding planner also handles any emergencies that arise and problem solves to come to the best resolution.
A wedding planner will also distribute all wedding floral the day of, from bridesmaids bouquets, to corsages for your mothers, to boutonnieres for the guys.
We will also help run your ceremony from start to finish, and coordinate with the DJ for all of your other wedding day festivities during the reception, such as your first dance and cake cutting.
What does a venue coordinator do then? What are typically their main responsibilities?
Before we dive into this question, it is important to note that venue coordinators are not the same as in-house coordinators that are contracted through the venue to provide day-of coordination. This is often a secondary service that many venues charge for. Not sure what type of support you have? Ask your venue to clarify – we’ve included them below!
Venue coordinators can be really helpful when venue specific questions arise throughout the night. Things like dimming the lights in the reception hall, stocking more toilet paper in the bathrooms, cleaning up a spill, helping with additional trash cans and more. They are wonderful to work with because they understand all of the ins and outs of the venue. However, at the end of the day, they are just the liaison between the venue and the couple. They will also help manage the venue staff working your wedding that night, help share the venue specific guidelines with vendors and ensure the venue stays in good shape throughout the night.
How can a couple decide if they need a planner or if a venue coordinator will suffice?
At the end of the day, it comes down to asking the right questions during your venue tour, or after you sign your venue, to determine the best fit for you on your wedding day.
Consider asking these questions to better understand whether you need a wedding planner or day of coordinator or if a venue coordinator will do the trick:
Will you help create my wedding day timeline with me and share with all of my vendors before the big day?
Will you manage all vendors coming in and out of the venue and answer any questions they may have? What if a vendor does not show up?
How will you help with setup and teardown the night of my wedding, if at all?
Will you tell me and my wedding party when to walk down the aisle and ensure we stick to our timeline the night of?
- Are there any other ways you plan to support us during the planning process or on the wedding day?
You can also ask the venue if they recommend you bring in a day of coordinator on the wedding day. Some even require it. Be sure to check with your venue specifically and they will definitely point you in the right direction.
How will having a wedding planner (or an independent day-of coordinator) improve your wedding day experience?
Hiring a wedding planner can ensure that your day flows smoothly from beginning to end. Wedding planners are invested in your best day ever to make sure that all your little details come to life. It takes the stress off of you and truly allows you, your wedding party and your family to enjoy the day. A wedding planner also has your back throughout the entire engagement process to bounce ideas off of, get budgeting tips and tricks, as well as fight for your details and vision to come to life, no matter the circumstances.
About Simply XO Events: Simply XO Events stemmed from a passion for organic, magical moments & raw, emotive details. Simply XO Events is dedicated to making your first night as a married couple your best night ever. Our keen attention to detail, bubbly personalities, seamless execution, and helping hands throughout the whole process, give you a one-of-a-kind experience like no other.
These girls are good, right? Are you ready for some more life-changing wedding advice? Check out our whole column HERE.