Planning a wedding comes with a whole new set of vocabulary, and words you thought you understood suddenly takes an entirely new meaning. Even before you got engaged and started the wedding planning process, you might have heard the term "wedding planner" or "wedding coordinator" and thought they were pretty much the same person.
Have you seen the movie "The Wedding Planner" with Jennifer Lopez? In the opening scene, Jennifer-who plays a full-time start to finish wedding planner--is shown with an earpiece running around orchestrating everything. She straightens the floral arrangements, calms the nervous bride, and cues the bridesmaids. That is what a day-of wedding coordinator does: Runs your wedding day like a Broadway stage manager.
But Jennifer was also a regular wedding planner, helping to choose flowers and invitations and venues, etc. So let's talk about the difference between these two roles--which Ms. Lopez played to the hilt!
An event or wedding planner is responsible for - you guessed it - planning the wedding or event. Wedding planners are all about the logistics, from vendor referrals and contract negotiation to day-of execution of your vision. Planners take the guesswork out of the process, making planning a wedding as seamless and smooth as possible. A planner will keep track of your budget and handle logistics. This is a skill that many can learn, but only the best planners have the years of experience and credentials that set them above the rest! Some planners also provide design or styling services, helping with the creative specifics of your wedding day, while others opt to leave those details to a wedding designer.
On an average wedding, wedding planners spends between 80 to 250 hours planning your wedding and executing your vision on your wedding day.
This is the step that most mainstream wedding media articles skip over. After all, it's a luxury to hire a wedding planner, right? Yes, it is. It's also a luxury to hire a photographer, caterer, band, hair and makeup artist...and the list goes on. Have you ever heard the saying "Failing to plan, is planning to fail"? Well, it's time to take that to heart. During the current COVID-19 Pandemic, I have seen many couples navigating the uncharted territory of decision-making, contingency, rescheduling, contract negotiations, cancellations, and extreme anxiety on their own. But, those couples who have a wedding planner have found themselves in a much better position. Something to think about, right?
The wedding coordinator is pretty much a gift from the gods on your wedding day. They are the woman or man behind the curtain, making sure that your wedding day goes as smoothly as possible so you (hopefully) don't have to worry about ANYTHING. They are not the person you call after you get engaged to help you pick out the perfect venue, caterer, florist, or other design details, but they will take all the hard work and research you've done and turn those plans into reality. You typically meet several months or weeks (depending on the service level you opted to get from them) before your wedding to go over your wedding timeline, guest count, venue details, and more. They are there to take over on the day of the wedding to ensure that all the details that are planned, are executed. As we like to say, a wedding coordinator is essential for any couple who wants to do most of the planning themselves, but when their wedding day arrives, they need a professional to execute all of the hard work and planning.
A venue coordinator is often confused with a day of coordinator but is actually a very different service. While a day of coordinator is focussed on every aspect of the wedding, a venue coordinator is primarily focussed on managing the venue staff and ensuring the catering is on track. They may also be managing multiple events so you cannot expect to have dedicated attention and support throughout the day. Nor are they responsible for dealing with other vendors. So if the worst happened and your DJ couldn’t get there, you couldn’t rely on them to get someone else in and save the day. A venue coordinator works for the venue, a wedding coordinator works for you and will be dedicated to ensuring every aspect of your day is flawless and anticipating issues before they occur. Even if your venue comes with coordinator I would strongly recommend looking into hiring your own day of coordinator.
Of course each situation and venue offering will be unique, so you'll absolutely need to have a very detailed conversation with your vendors to determine what will be handled by whom. By making sure you're familiar with the general responsibilities of the onsite venue wedding coordinator vs a wedding planner, you can avoid quite a bit of frustration and unmet expectations, and be in a position to have an informed discussion with your vendors.
Bottom line friends...Planners are your advocates
Could you buy a home without a realtor? Sure! But would you feel more secure in spending that amount of money on such an important choice with a personal advocate on your side? YES! Thats what we would liken ourselves to as wedding planners...not to mention we would also be your interior designer, psychiatrist and friend through the whole experience and beyond.
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