Tips & Tricks

Guide to Wedding Planners, Designers, Coordinators, and On-Site Coordinators

What's the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Wedding Coordinator? Do I need to hire a Wedding Coordinator if my venue has one on-site? Many think that these titles are interchangeable, however, they would be very wrong. Read on to find out the differences and when you should hire which?

Wedding Planners:

-What they do:
Wedding planners are all about the logistics and planning. Some may also provide design services or styling services that will help with the creative specifics of your wedding day.

-Typical duties:
-Put in the most hours helping you plan.
-Provides vendor referrals and negotiates contracts, schedules and attends all vendor meetings.
-Creates detailed timelines, floor plans and schedules.
-Helps determine and manage your budget.
-Attends site tours and menu tastings.
-Brainstorms style ideas and coordinates design details.
-Coordinates hotel room blocks and transportation.
-Manages the rehearsal.
-Oversees everything on the big day (makes sure everyone sticks to the timeline, handles issues, manages all the vendors, and executes your wedding vision on-site).

-Hire if:
-You have the budget for it.
-You want the smallest amount of wedding-related stress possible.
-You have no free time because of a demanding job.
-You have no clue where to start and your organizational skills aren’t the best.
-You have a very short timeframe for planning and executing.
-You’re hosting your wedding in an unusual venue (not in a hotel, restaurant or banquet hall).

Wedding Designers/Wedding Stylist/Wedding Architect:

-What they do:
A wedding designers job is purely aesthetic. They work on the overall style and design for your wedding day.

-Typical duties:
-Creates the wedding’s design concept.
-Provides color scheme or palette guidance.
-Oversees the décor budget and vendors (your florist, rentals and lighting).
-Sources special props and equipment.
-Attends a site visit to visualize where you want everything to go, devise a layout and identify potential problems with the décor.
-Creates detailed floor plans.
-Ensures all of the décor elements are in place on-site for the wedding.

-Hire if:
-The décor is the most important element of the wedding for you.
-You’re confident in your organizational and logistical skills, but your creative skills are lacking.
-You’re trying to pull off a very specific theme or you have a million weddings style ideas that you can’t narrow down.


Wedding Coordinators:

-What they do:
Wedding coordinators as like wedding planners, but on a shorter timeline. They usually come in and help you a month or so before the wedding as well as functioning as the point person on the big day.

-Typical duties:
-Meets with you 4-8 weeks before the wedding to get a handle on what you’ve planned thus far.
-Checks in with your vendors to review the signed contracts and confirm logistics.
-Creates detailed timelines and floor plans.
-Completes a final walkthrough of the ceremony and reception sites.
-Addresses any overlooked details (like forgetting to hire a coat check attendant or a tent rental).
-Manages the rehearsal.
-Oversees everything on the big day.

-Hire if:
-You want to play an active role in planning your wedding but would like someone to take care of the last minute details and make sure you haven’t missed anything.
-You’re extremely organized and detail oriented.
-You don’t have the budget for a full service wedding planner.

On-Site Coordinators:

-What they do:
On-Site Coordinators are responsible for everything that specifically deals with the venues. They are not wedding planners or designers or coordinators, they will not help you plan your wedding. They are there to ensure that the venue is doing what the contract says. 

-Typical duties:
-If the venue provides catering, make sure there are kitchen and wait staff scheduled to fit the needs.
-Will possibly provide you with a list of preferred vendors.
-If catering is provided, they will create a timeline for the catering staff.
-Be there during your wedding to make sure that venue provides what was contracted for.