There are several key differences between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator, but sometimes it’s not crystal clear from the start of your wedding planning process.
The difference between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner lies in their primary responsibilities leading up to the wedding day and during the wedding day. While exact responsibilities will differ (depending on the professional and package chosen), here’s an overview of the key differences between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator.
Fun fact: Our fearless leader, Laura Lyn, has prior experience as a Venue Manager/Coordinator and is also an expert Wedding Planner with eight years of experience. When she says they are very different, you can trust she speaks from experience. 👍🏼
When planning a wedding, wedding planners work side-by-side with couples to ensure the day runs smoothly. This typically includes creating a comprehensive budget and guiding you in-depth with hiring/securing vendors. When choosing wedding vendors, wedding planners should attend meetings, review contracts, and ensure details are as planned.
On the other hand, the venue coordinator is more prone to give you a list of approved or recommended vendors to research on your own. Having a list of potential vendors is helpful, but it will take more leg work (by you!) to connect with these prospective vendors, determine if their services are in line with your budget and to check the availability.
Ultimately, your wedding planner will be working with a “big picture” mentality…overseeing all the miniature details that make up that big picture. A venue coordinator is going to be more singularly focused on the details that relate to the venue itself.
On the wedding day, wedding planners represent the desires and needs of the couple and see to it that all event execution favors that primary focus. Venue coordinators represent the property and focus their time on the property itself. It’s worth noting that your contract is with the venue and not the venue coordinator, so their main focus is the venue itself (rather than you as a couple.) There are several key differences between wedding planners and venue coordinators on the wedding day.
The Wedding Ceremony
If included in your service package, wedding planners will attend and direct your off-site wedding ceremony. This also typically includes attending and directing your wedding rehearsal as well! The venue coordinator wouldn’t be responsible for an off-site ceremony.
You will sometimes encounter venue coordinators that try to persuade you that they can execute your wedding reception without you having a Planner or Coordinator to represent you. If your wedding ceremony is offsite, this is a dead giveaway that the venue coordinator has not represented your needs accurately because they do not offer any assistance or guidance beyond the specific property they work for.
The Wedding Reception
The wedding planner ensures that the couple is happy and kept in the loop throughout the day’s events, including the wedding reception. Additionally, wedding planners set out personal items for the couple such as the guest book, special toasting flutes, etc. Plus, they pack it all up at the end of the night with all of the gifts and cards for safekeeping. Throughout the reception, the wedding planner ensures key events such as wedding party introductions, toasts, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc. stay on track. Having a wedding planner ensures the venue coordinator can focus on the logistical things such as parking, restrooms, power, set up of tables and chairs (if included), house catering and bar, and staffing (if in-house). Venue coordinators will likely stay until dinner is underway, while a wedding planner stays the entirety of the event.
All in all, the noteworthy difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator is their relationship with you, the couple getting married! A wedding planner’s intent is on making sure your wants and needs are met, whereas a venue coordinator is focused on ensuring the venue is well-maintained and well-represented.
Photos by: Two Chics Photography