Wedding Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner

You have probably heard the term Wedding Coordinator and Wedding Planner a million times and thought that they were exactly the same thing. There are actually quite a few differences in their jobs and the actions that they take to help you prepare for your wedding. Let’s lay out the actual differences in the jobs that they do!

Wedding Planner:

A Wedding Planner is the person who takes all of the stress away from your entire wedding planning process. They are with you every step of the way from beginning to end. Generally you call them right after you get engaged and then they help take over everything from budget tracking, vendor referrals, contract negotiations, and even the execution of your wedding visions! They are a trained professional who can steer you in the right direction and make recommendations based off of who they have successfully worked with in the past. If you don’t have 150 plus hours to plan a wedding, your Wedding Planner will be your best friend! They will also usually work with you if you only want them to take over certain aspects of the planning process. Some Wedding Planners also have a great eye for wedding design! Be sure to discuss with your Wedding Planner exactly what they offer so you know if they also offer design or day of coordination as well.

A Wedding Planner:

  1. Puts in anywhere from 100 to 250 hours
  2. Gives vendor referrals and negotiates contracts
  3. Schedules and attends all vendor meetings
  4. Creates detailed timelines and floor plans
  5. Helps determine and manage your budget
  6. Attends site tours and food tastings
  7. Creates style ideas and coordinates design details
  8. Coordinates hotel room blocks and transportation
  9. Manages the ceremony rehearsal
  10. Oversees everything on the wedding day including making sure everyone adheres to the timeline, handles mishaps, manages vendors, and executes your day of wedding vision

Wedding Coordinator:

A Wedding Coordinator is the person responsible for the logistics of your wedding and generally begins helping anywhere from 1-2 months before the big day. The coordinator is usually the point person on your wedding day but isn’t involved in the earlier planning or budget tracking. They generally confirm vendor contracts and timing, create a day of timeline, and make sure payments and guests counts are in order. The main part of their job is the logistics of the wedding day including load in, load out, and ensuring the timeline is kept. They ensure all planning up until they begin helping is in tact and hiring them at least a month out gives them time to tweak things if needed. They take the hard work you’ve done and turn it into a reality and a beautiful wedding day. A coordinator may be included with your venue so be sure to check before hiring a separate one. Also, be sure to check exactly what your coordinator includes because that may vary as well.

A Wedding Coordinator:

  1. Puts in approximately 25 hours
  2. Meets with you four to eight weeks before the wedding to get a handle on what you’ve planned already
  3. Checks in with your vendors to review the signed contracts and confirm logistics
  4. Creates detailed timelines and floor plans
  5. Completes a final walk-through of the ceremony and reception sites
  6. Addresses any overlooked details
  7. Manages the rehearsal
  8. Oversees everything on the wedding day

Keep in mind:

  1. Be sure to book your planner or coordinator ahead of time. Just how weddings and venues book up quick, so do wedding professionals. I recommend securing them as soon as you have a wedding date or even sometimes before so that you know they will be available. Even if they aren’t going to help until closer to the wedding, then at least you know they won’t book up on your wedding date.
  2. It is going to cost to hire a planner or coordinator. Full service wedding planning, production and design can be 15-20% of your entire wedding cost where a day of coordinator will generally run $1500-$300 total depending on how much time and effort is going to have to be put in. Pricing will vary depending on what state and region you are in. Costs are never exact until you speak with your representative.
  3. Do your research! Make sure the person you wish to hire has a good reputation and rapport. There is no certifications required to become a wedding planning/coordinator. There are certifications which can be achieved however such as an ABC or an ACPWC but that still doesn’t give you enough information. Look on their website, look at their social media, meet with them face to face and vet them. You want to ensure that your wedding will be in the best of hands if you are going to pay them all that money.
  4. If you can’t hire a full wedding planning team to handle everything, at least see if your budget can handle a day of coordinator. This will ensure that on the day of, you will not be so stressed. You want to be able to enjoy your wedding day and not have to worry about any mishaps or snafus. If you hire a coordinator, they will take on these responsibilities for you.
  5. Be sure exactly what is included in your planners/coordinators costs and fees. You will need to know exactly what they will do versus what you will need to do. You don’t want to just assume they will take care of securing flowers and then they don’t because that could be a disaster.

Upcoming Blogs:

Friday: Pros/Cons of Working with Professionals vs. Family/Friends

Tuesday: Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties

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