What's the Difference Between a Wedding Planner and a Wedding Coordinator?
Updated: Jul 13, 2022
Written by: Jeanne D'Aloia, Owner & Certified Wedding and Event Planner (CWEP)
This is a GREAT question and one that we get asked frequently from engaged couples that we meet.
The short(-ish) answer...
A wedding planner is someone who helps you with the planning and design aspect of the wedding and reception-- helping you find a venue, vendors, and all the decor you need for the wedding. Unless you've planned a wedding before, it can be very overwhelming and hard to know where to start. A planner can help guide you through the decisions that need to be made and can suggest ideas to help make your wedding unique and personal. They can help review contracts, set up appointments with vendors, help with wording for your invitations, and make suggestions based on your vision for the wedding...among other things! Think of your planner as a personal assistant for everything wedding related!
A wedding coordinator is someone who makes sure everything goes according to plan on the wedding day. In Minnesota, we are seeing more and more venues requiring couples to have a wedding coordinator on the day of their wedding. A coordinator will start working about a month before your wedding, getting details from you about your wedding details and decor (if they haven't been involved in the planning process), making contact with your vendors, and creating a timeline for everyone to follow on the wedding day. Then, on the actual day, the coordinator works with your vendors to make sure everything is set up the way you envisioned it, down to the smallest details and they will troubleshoot any issues that arise. Your coordinator will fix any issues and you'll never even know it was a problem to begin with, because you won't be worrying about or stressing over it! You and your loved ones will be celebrating and enjoying the day, which is how it should be! A wedding coordinator will also have an emergency kit you can access in case someone loses a button, forgot to brush their teeth, spilled wine on their dress/shirt, or [knock on wood]...someone forgot to bring the rings (yes, believe it or not, this actually happens)! They'll cue the processional during the ceremony, let the best man know when it's time to start speeches, make sure you get time to eat, make sure the photographer knows when the cake cutting will be starting, and SO MUCH MORE! A coordinator is usually recommended from the start of the day through the dinner hour/beginning of dancing. Coordinators may be able to help with cleaning up at the end of the night and making sure all the guests are out of the venue by the specified time.
All of this information might lead you to another question: "Can a wedding planner and a coordinator be the same person?"
Yes! Sometimes planners will include coordination in with their wedding packages or it might be something that's separate! If you're not sure what's included, ASK!
Or You might say, "Well, I don't need one! My venue has an on-site coordinator."
True, most venues do have an on-site coordinator, BUT these coordinators work for the venue, not for you. They help set up tables, chairs, make sure spaces are opened/locked at the appropriate time, and be there in case you need to know if you can hang something on the wall. Don't get us wrong, we LOVE and APPRECIATE venue coordinators because they do an important job and help the wedding coordinator however they can. Yet, they are busy too, managing their staff and making sure things in the venue are correct for your event, which is their job. They don't have time to know or remember all of the minute details you've planned, or make sure the bouquets are strategically placed in vases after the ceremony as part of your decor, or know where to find the photographer when you want a photo with your college roommate you haven't seen in 5 years. That's the wedding coordinator's job!
If you have other questions about wedding planners or wedding coordinators, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a comment below!
P.S. If you're in the market for a wedding planner or coordinator, we'd love to help! Send us an email or fill out our contact form to get in touch!