The difference between a wedding planner + a venue coordinator.
A question that often comes up when I’m talking to couples is what’s the difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator? Why do I even need a wedding planner if my venue has a wedding coordinator included in the package?
Many venues will gladly have you believe that they provide the same service as an independent wedding planner but this is rarely the case and ultimately the biggest difference is an independent wedding planner works for YOU whereas the venue coordinator works for the venue.
But if you want to really know the difference then let’s break it down:
The Independent Wedding Planner
Their number one priority is to make sure YOUR wedding day runs smoothly and you are relaxed and stress-free throughout the day as possible.
You can get a wedding planner to help you plan your wedding right from the start, even before the venue has been chosen and they will have a better understanding of what you want from your day. They will help you craft the design details and organise the logistics so on the wedding day they know every detail so you don’t need to worry about anything not going to your plans.
Your wedding planner will be on site from early in the morning of your wedding until the very last supplier has packed up and departed the venue. They’ll double check everything is just as you had imagined it, from the place settings to the location of your fabulous cake. We deal in the minutiae and timings, making sure that everything runs according to schedule and as planned.
Wedding planners love their lists and will ensure that if anything goes wrong, we have a plan for it. From emergency kits to rectify any spill or stain, to a full list of suppliers’ contact details in case someone’s running late, preparation and practicality help wedding planners make sure there’s never a need for panic.
Wedding planners can save you a lot of time especially if you’re feeling daunted by the amount of research, visiting and comparisons you’re going to have to do looking for venues and suppliers. We can do a venue search for you, meaning that the most you’ll have to do is read a report on the shortlisted places we’ve found for you and then pick which ones to visit together when we can make sure the right questions are asked on your behalf so that you can just get on with imagining your wedding there.
If you don’t want to compare quotes from suppliers or don’t even know where to begin looking for trustworthy, talented wedding professionals, we can again save you time by sourcing your wedding suppliers for you. Wedding planners spend a lot of time in building up a network of trusted suppliers who they can call on. Not only will they be personally acquainted with their work, but they’ll also tailor their recommendations based on your budget, style, and personality. In this way we can be sure that we’re creating a team of wedding professionals that we know can deliver the best service and the best value for money for our clients.
In fact, whatever task you don’t want to get consumed within your wedding planning, we can help you out. Whilst your venue coordinator won’t even know who you’re inviting to your wedding, we’ll be the ones chasing up RSVPs and dietary requirements. If time is your biggest asset, then there’s no greater investment than a wedding planner.
The Venue Coordinator
It’s usually a venue coordinator who will respond to your initial enquiry and show you around the venue, although occasionally you may meet the sales coordinator and only get passed onto your event venue coordinator once the booking has been made. They act partially as a salesperson, an ambassador for the venue and a point of liaison between the couple and the on-site operations team.
Coordinators are responsible for parts of your wedding that specifically concern the venue, like organising your quotes, menu, and food tastings and monitoring your payments. They may check in occasionally to see how your plans are going but are not likely to have much contact with you once you’ve confirmed your wedding date until the month or two before your wedding when you are sorting out the final details like guest numbers and special dietary requirements which usually just involves you filling out a rather complicated in-house form for them (something most planners will gladly do for you).
On the wedding day, they will be making sure the venue is set up correctly, your wedding suppliers are sticking to the rules and service is running smoothly. Often once dinner has been served they will probably hand over to the banqueting or operations manager.
If you’re wedding is at multiple venues, then it’s unlikely your venue coordinator will be able to help at the other venue/s but your wedding planner and their team will make sure that they cover all venues and oversee the setting up and guest transportation between venues.
Some venues will sell you the fact that they can recommend tried and trusted suppliers from their list and the really good ones can but unfortunately many are likely to suggest someone who has paid to be on the list or works on a commission basis, so you’re not really getting an honest referral based on someone’s merits or experience.
A venue coordinator may seem like a ‘free wedding planner’ but actually, they don’t have nearly as close a relationship or as deep an involvement as a wedding planner would have. Being an employee of a venue means that they are answerable to them and less able to offer discounts and opportunities for savings.
Now I love working with an excellent venue coordinator, they know how the venue runs, are great at coordinating the ceremony and are absolutely the best people to oversee the food service. There are of course many outstanding venue coordinators who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their clients have a perfect day and who are a joy for wedding planners to work alongside. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that a wedding planner is essentially yours until you hop off on honeymoon, whereas a venue coordinator is more likely to be available during set office hours and for a limited time on your wedding day. Wedding planners take on a limited number of weddings a year so that we can truly dedicate time to getting to know you and your wedding. Venues deal with larger numbers of couples and sometimes staff changes during the course of planning your wedding meaning you end up working with more than one venue coordinator who understandably may not get to know your wedding nearly as well, especially the parts that don’t concern their venue.
The crux of the difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator quite simply comes down to the fact that a wedding planner has a greater vested interest in every aspect of your wedding because we’re actually working for you.
Need help planning your wedding day? Get in touch today to discuss how I can help you.
All images courtesy of Anushé Low