Wedding Planner VS Venue Coordinator: What's The Difference?

Wedding Planner VS Venue Coordinator:

What's The Difference?

“My wedding venue includes a coordinator, I don’t need a wedding planner or day of coordinator.“ - Brides everywhere.

As a wedding planner, day-of coordinator and former venue coordinator in Arizona, I’m here to tell you that while it is a common misconception, this just isn’t the case. Can venue coordinators be a great asset on your wedding day? Yes. Do they offer the same services and cover the same duties as a wedding planner? The simple answer: Nope! Let’s break it down:

A wedding planner is going to be much more accessible for a much longer period of time.

When you hire a wedding planner, they are available to you from the day you sign on until the day of (or sometimes even days after) your wedding. That’s a continuous period of a year or more! Even if you opt out of full planning and just hire an outside day-of coordinator, this still gives you far more accessibility than you will find in a venue coordinator. My day-of coordination package starts a full three weeks before the wedding so we can review all the details before your wedding day.

In the case of venue coordinators, they are typically available to you only after you have secured a date and put down a deposit at a specific venue. As a venue the goal is to book as many events as possible, so the level of attention and service you get can and will vary based on their level of booking.

There is a significant difference in the scope of services of a wedding planner versus a venue coordinator.

Because a wedding planner works with you throughout the entire planning process, there are very few limitations on what they can offer. Services can include budgeting, venue selection, tailored vendor recommendations, design advice,layouts, the creation of timelines, and many other important planning aspects.

The typical duties of a venue coordinator are much more limited. Their services include assisting you in securing a date at their particular venue, working with their on-site caterer, and setting up anything provided by the venue such as tables, linens and the like.

There are a few important limitations and potential issues to keep in mind when considering working only with a venue coordinator.

At many venues, weddings are not the sole responsibility of their on-site coordinators. Often they are also responsible for marketing, open houses, corporate events, concerts, birthday parties, holiday gatherings and other bookings. These events fall throughout the year and often close to wedding dates. Some venues even hold multiple weddings a day, so you may not have the full attention of the coordinator on our wedding day. I have worked at many weddings where the venue coordinator only popped in a few times throughout the night and was otherwise nowhere to be found!

Another thing to consider is vendor recommendations. Venue coordinators are typically limited to a list of recommended vendors. These lists often only include one to two options for each category, so it can be difficult to find the right vendors for you. Wedding planners, on the other hand, will take your budget, style and other needs into consideration before making recommendations.

It is also important to note what venue coordinators will and will not assist you with. On the day of your wedding, they will ensure proper setup of the venue-provided items, but generally do not help with other setup. This means that the arrival and setup of outside rentals, florals, accessories, etc. will be left up to you. (I actually spent a good part of the morning at my own wedding tracking vendors down and giving them directions, and I had a venue coordinator!).You or your family and friends will also be left responsible for gathering up all your items at the end of the night, which is not a fun note to end on! As a general rule: after the reception starts and dinner is served, the venue coordinator’s night is over.

A wedding planner, on the other hand, is going to be available to you from beginning to end on your wedding day, including time not spent at the venue (such as getting ready). They will ensure that your vendors arrive on time, double check your seating chart, and help guests find the gift table. A planner will keep time for you, bustle your gown and even track down wayward groomsmen in time for bridal party photos!

The takeaway: a venue coordinator works for the venue, a wedding planner works for you.

Getting married in Arizona? Learn more about Blackfern Events’ Arizona wedding planning services, see photos from recent weddings, or contact me!

Get To Know Me!


I'm Sierra, the human behind Blackfern Events! Get inside my head for 20 Questions and Answers:

Why weddings?

Why NOT weddings? Love is awesome. Weddings are awesome. I can't think of a cooler job (...except professional wolf-petter. Is that a thing?)

Zodiac sign?

Capricorn. I (clearly) love lists, challenges, being outdoors, and sarcasm. This also explains my affinity for goats.

Personality Type?

ISTJ. You know: the analytical, efficient, Scandinavian first impressions one. It takes me a minute to warm up, but I promise I don't bite!

What's on your iPod?

A little bit of everything, but you'll usually catch me listening to Anberlin. I have a tattoo to prove it! Other favorites include Nirvana, Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac and David Bowie.

Talent show?

The somewhat impressive (and admittedly useless) ability to recite the film Dan in Real Life in its entirety.

Favorite color?

Clothing? Black. Flowers? Blue. Decor? Grey.

Go-to TV show?

Frasier, every time.

I collect ______?

Tattoos. Framed insects. Chapstick in the bottom of my bag.

Best part of a wedding?

The post-ceremony high! The couple is always overwhelmed, giggly, and intensely cute.

AM or PM?

Most definitely PM (but my sunny morning personality can be bought with a good cup of tea or the promise of adventure).

Guilty pleasure?

Thanks to my Australian exchange student back in high school, Tim Tams. They are chocolatey witchcraft and I cannot be stopped.

I never leave the house without ______?


Favorite hike?

Kalalau Trail, Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kauai. Absolutely gorgeous!

Best way to start the day?

Cuddles with my husband and our pup, Loki.

Everyone loves dogs! Tell us more about Loki:

Loki is a three-year-old, rambunctious and very kissy Husky-Malamute-Samoyed-German Shepherd mix!

Bad habit?

Toothpicks. But I am still not as cool as James Dean.

Dream travel spot?

Iceland. Brian (the super cute husband) and I are planning to honeymoon there over the summer!

Middle name?

Hali (pronounced like Hayley). Short for Haliaaetus, half the scientific name for an eagle.

Yes, I am named after a bird. (My dad is a biologist). Yes, it is very cool.

Everyone needs to know about ______?

Music: The Knife / Food: Sushi Girl Kauai / Tea: Whispering Pines Tea / Art: Meow Wolf

What do you want to see more of in upcoming weddings?

Colored/sparkly gowns. Custom suits. Dogs. Food trucks. Non-cake desserts. Light shows. Mountains. Llamas. Yurts. GoPros. Tattoos. Weird dancing.

Can we be friends?


Tell me something about yourself in the comments or send me a message!





Headshot & Wedding Photos by Alyssa Campbell Photography

Introducing Blackfern Events Blog

Hello and welcome!

Here you will find posts covering recent weddings, styled shoots, planning advice, awesome wedding trends and even the occasional dog photo (because honestly, who doesn't love dogs?).

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Your sassy neighborhood wedding planner,