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!