Wedding Planner vs. Wedding Coordinator vs. Wedding Designer vs. Venue Manager: Titles defined

There is often a lot of confusion for brides in regard to the different responsibilities and talents that come along with the different titles that wedding professionals hold. I find this often in regard to wedding coordinators, wedding planners, wedding designers and venue coordinators. Unfortunately, there are some people out there that want to lump all of theses titles together, which ends up being an injustice to the bride. You deserve to completely understand each persons role so that you can make an educated decision about your needs and wants for your wedding day.
imageWedding Planners
The job of the wedding planner is to PLAN all of the details involved in the wedding process. This includes ordering flowers, negotiating contracts with a photographer and videographer, arranging for musicians and properly booking all wedding vendors. They may advise on color selections, ceremony and reception locations and menu choices. A good analogy would be going on a road trip in a limo; the couple is in the back with tinted windows, sipping champagne. They arrive at their destination stress free, but without knowing how they got there.
imageWedding Coordinator {Weekend Wedding Warrior}
The job of the wedding coordinator is to take all the details that the couple/family planned and pull them together to create a cohesive event. This usually involves helping the couple choose a floor plan, creating a timeline and processional, and contacting all the vendors so that everyone is on the same page. A good coordinator will eliminate any, “oops, I didn’t think of that” moments. The coordinators role includes managing the rehearsal, being the contact for all the vendors on the wedding day, and being present the whole day of the wedding from setup to tear down to help manage anything that arises. The main focus of the coordinator is to advocate for the couples wishes and execute the event so that they couple can focus on what’s truly important…getting married. Continuing with the road trip analogy, hiring a coordinator is like going on a trip with a detailed map. You are driving and making the majority of the decisions, but you are well prepared with a travel guide!
imageWedding Designers
An event designer is specifically hired for the aesthetic of the wedding. They are in charge of creating a cohesive look for the wedding day. This most likely will include linens, flowers, rentals, and detailed decor. Designers setup the morning of the event and teardown once the event is complete. They generally do not “work” the event and they certainly are not coordinating it. They are considered one of the vendors a planner or coordinator would hire or manage. Hiring an Event Designer is like renting a fabulous car for your road trip. You tell them the color and style and they find it for you so you can just hop in and drive away!
imageVenue Coordinators
A venue coordinator is an integral part of ensuring that everything related to the venue and their staff runs smoothly and per the arrangements discussed in advance. Employed by the reception site, a reception site coordinator is often a salesperson working on behalf of the venue. The venue coordinator is responsible for collecting all your necessary paperwork and contracts for the space as well as for working with you on site inspections and accommodation agreements. One of the most frustrating situations a bride can find herself in is having been misinformed on the responsibilities of a venue coordinator and finding that the venue coordinator will not actually fill the role of a wedding coordinator at all. Very rarely will a venue coordinator line up the processional, cue the DJ for introductions, etc. They are responsible for the building/venue not the couple.

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Wedding Planner Vs. Wedding Coordinator

Warrior Alicia and I (Maggie) had the pleasure of spending the night with our husbands at West Baden Spring Hotel last night. The wedding director at the hotel invited a group of wedding planners & coordinators from Indy, Northern KY, Louisville, & Lexington to show off the property and educate us on their meeting spaces. Not only did we get to tour the stunning properties of West Baden Springs and French Lick Resorts, eat the wonderful food, and stay in the lush accommodations…we also were able to bond and discuss with the leading wedding planners in the surrounding cities. The one topic that was consistently discussed was the role of a wedding planner vs a wedding coordinator. No matter what we call ourselves we all agree that brides, grooms, and vendors need more education in this department. So if you see a problem, fix it!

Wedding Coordinator – First think of the word “coordinate

transitive verb

1: to put in the same order or rank
2: to bring into a common action, movement, or condition : harmonize <we need to coordinate our schedules>
intransitive verb
1: to be or become coordinate especially so as to act together in a smooth concerted way

A Coordinator puts the pieces of a wedding together so that the event will be harmonious and smooth. Generally, coordinators are gathering information from the Couple and advocating for them through out the wedding. The Couple is planning the wedding, but the Coordinator is making it happen in a clean and structured way. Successful Coordinators can be hired as far out as 1.5 years before a wedding or as soon as 1 month before a wedding!

Wedding Planner – If a person calls themselves a Wedding Planner that means that they are planning the wedding. They are their throughout the entire decision making process to help the Couple make good choices. They have their hands in every step and they are generally helping with every element including design. A colleague was recently telling me that they were insulted to be called a wedding coordinator when they work their butts off for months and months not just putting all the pieces together, but helping to create the pieces as well. Wedding Planners generally like to be hired well in advance of the wedding so that they can be their from the beginning to the end.

So, which Couples need a Wedding Coordinator? – Wedding Coordinators are for Couples who want to plan their own wedding. They want to do the majority of the steps themselves, but they want a professional at the wedding to pull all the pieces together so that the Couple can enjoy their wedding.

Which Couples need a Planner? – A Planner is a great option for Couples who want someone to help them with every step of the wedding planning process. They want someone helping them choose their design, their vendors, menu, etc.

Weekend Wedding Warrior, LLC is very confident in saying that we are Wedding Coordinators NOT Planners. We respect and love Wedding Planners! Often we refer Couples to Wedding Planners if they are looking for more than we offer. However, we are not nor do we want to be Wedding Planners. We just want everyone to play to their strengths and be respectful of others strengths. There are more than enough weddings to go around and there is plenty of room for both Coordinators & Planners in the wedding industry! We feel lucky that we were able to spend time at West Baden Springs with respectful and like-minded Planners who support us as Coordinators. They don’t want to do what we do and we don’t want to do what they do 🙂