Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner: What’s the Difference? 

Since the moment you started dreaming of your wedding day, it is more than likely you have begun to paint a picture in your mind and imagine every little detail of the big day. This is perfectly normal! However, for some ladies these details don’t come as easily, and sometimes even the details aren’t necessarily the most significant part of this picture as long as you and your fiancé end up happily married at the end of the day, right?!

Well, whichever way you may have it (providing every last detail from your beautifully illustrated daydream or getting assistance from a seasoned professional in the wedding industry), it is safe to say that you may need some help to make all your dreams come true. This is where Wedding Planners like us at Whiskey & Wine Events come in! 

Unfortunately however, a common misconception in the wedding industry is the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Coordinator. And let me tell you, there’s a big difference! Because these titles are often used interchangeably, you may be led to believe that you are receiving services that aren’t truly in line with the actual purpose that each professional serves, which may result in wedding day disasters that can easily be avoided if you understand the key differences between the two. So let me break this down for you!

Wedding Planner - Wedding industry professional, hired by the bride and groom who aims to address all your wants and needs leading up to and on your wedding day. Responsible for making sure every detail is planned and carried out to the couple’s unique specifications. 

Venue Coordinator - (a/k/a, Wedding Coordinator) Wedding industry professional, employed by a specific venue as a “middleman”, answers any questions and concerns regarding the venue itself, and addresses the needs of the bride and groom regarding food (catering), staffing for the event, and rentals (i.e., tables, chairs, china, cutlery, linens, etc.) as these details pertain to the venue specifically. 

To put it simply, a wedding planner works for YOU, and a venue coordinator works for the VENUE! Seems easy enough, right? Well, in the past some brides have been misled to believe that the venue coordinator can somehow replace a wedding planner, which is entirely false! Venues may use selling points like “venue coordinator services are included in the cost of the venue,” or, “let our venue coordinator help you to address all the details of your big day” which can be quite frustrating if you aren’t familiar with the actual responsibilities of the venue coordinating profession. Yes, venue coordinators can be extremely helpful during the planning stages to coordinate certain aspects of the event, i.e., rentals, vendors, catering, timeline. However, they will not always be present on the day of your wedding, and they will not necessarily have your best interest at heart. 

Below I have included a few more critical differences to further separate the two professions, which I hope will serve to better educate new brides-to-be so they can make a decision that best suits their needs when choosing a venue coordinator, a wedding planner, or both!

Design -

Your Wedding Planner is exclusively responsible for the entire design of your special day, i.e. theme, venue, timing, flowers, decor, attire, etc. with your input, of course! 

A Venue Coordinator has pretty much nothing to do with the design of your wedding. This is not part of the services they offer, unfortunately. 

Communication  - 

From the moment that you hire a wedding planner, you have VIP access to their expertise! A Wedding Planner is your personal connection to everything wedding. It isn’t uncommon for a regular exchange of phone calls, emails, and even texts to occur between you and your wedding planner in the months, weeks, days, and even hours leading up to your wedding. 

Venue coordinators are in contact with hundreds of brides, and it may be difficult to receive a timely response to even the simplest of questions via phone or email. This can be frustrating if your venue has limited coordinators and/or a busy schedule.

Vendors -

Your Wedding Planner will be the middleman (or middle-woman 😃 ) between you and all of the vendors that may be necessary for your big day, i.e., caterer, florist, baker, DJ, photographer, rentals, transportation, lodging, etc.. Not only will you be provided with a list of your Wedding Planner’s most trusted vendors, but they will be able to provide insight on the best vendors to fit your needs. One of the main responsibilities of your Wedding Planner is to make sure all of the “moving parts” (i.e. your vendors) work together seamlessly so that your day comes together just as you have planned. And staying in constant contact with all of these companies is critical in making this possible! 

In regards to vendors, the Venue Coordinator is only responsible in most cases for providing a list of preferred vendors used by their venue. However, they will not actually coordinate these vendors on your behalf, which typically requires a considerable amount of time and effort on your part. 

Timeline -

Although it may be self explanatory, your Wedding Planner is ultimately in charge of the timeline for your wedding day. They will harmonize all vendors, correct any catastrophes, and overcome any issues that may arise leading up to or on your wedding day. The Wedding Planner is ultimately the executor of all the plans you have made, which allows you to focus on whats important, relax and enjoy your day!

A Venue Coordinator has very little to do with timeline come your wedding day. They will solely be in control of when food is prepared and subsequently served, and this is only if their venue offers catering. Additionally, the Venue Coordinator will be responsible for making sure breakdown and clean up occurs in a timely fashion. 

 

At the end of the day, both of these professions play important roles in making your wedding day dreams come true. However, don’t be led astray in thinking that these terms can be used interchangeably because Wedding Planners and Venue Coordinators operate with quite different agendas. Hopefully, after reading this you feel a little more confident in your ability to choose what’s best for your needs on your big day! We would love to hear from you with questions and/or experiences you may have had during the early planning stages of your special day, and also how we can help to make sure you can “Be Your Guest” at your own wedding!

Hiring a Wedding Coordinator was the best decision I made for my Wedding Day ~ Thank you Stacey and the team at Whiskey & Wine Events ~ Valerie C.