Wedding Planners vs. Wedding Coordinators

A wedding coordinator talking with a bride.

When you start planning a wedding, you may be tempted to enlist in the help of a wedding planner or a wedding coordinator. While hiring these individuals to assist in facilitating your perfect wedding day, you may wonder what the differences and similarities are between them. While at first glance they may seem pretty much identical, they’re actually pretty different.

Wedding Planner Duties

A vintage couch and coffee table at a wedding reception decorated with boho accessories.

Wedding planners pretty much do it all! These professionals assist primarily in coordinating the logistics of a wedding—of which there are an abundance. They also are great for providing a bride and groom with reliable vendor referrals. These are people they’ve worked with time and time again and are trusted to do a great job at your wedding.

Wedding planners also keep track of your budget and work closely with couples on the design aspect of their wedding. They allow their keen eyes to assist with the creative specifics of your day. They can work with your florist to make your vision come to life. Many planners also have an arsenal of decor products such as candle holders, vases, and other accents that they keep for all of their clients to use at their weddings.

Think of a wedding planner as an all-encompassing service when it comes to making your day happen. From start to finish, planners help you book and, in some cases, negotiate prices with vendors that you are booking. For vendors you’re hunting for, they help you source them. Wedding planners attend venue tours and tastings with you throughout the planning process. They assist in all of the logistics of your day, such as working out the necessary hotel blocks, seating charts and floor plans. They will also build a wedding week and wedding day schedule, facilitate your rehearsal, and sometimes even stuff and send the invitations on your behalf. For wedding planners, there is no task too big or too small. All in all, they are that “behind the scenes” person or team that works endlessly to bring your perfect day to life.

Wedding Coordinator Duties

An archway at a wedding decorated with lights and flowers.

On the other hand, wedding coordinators, sometimes also referred to as wedding consultants, somewhat overlap with what traditional wedding planners do, but there are also some differences to point out. These vendors are focused primarily on logistics, and they’re usually only hired for a short segment of the time spent wedding planning. In fact, in some cases, couples only use the services of a wedding coordinator on the actual big day.

Most typically, wedding coordinators work with a couple the month before the wedding as the “point person” who will make the magic happen behind the scenes on the wedding day. They work to confirm your vendors, manage and schedule any final payments, ensure guest counts are correct on the vendor side, and even create a day-of timeline as far as the logistics for the day are concerned.

Think of this vendor as someone who is going to help facilitate every logistical part of your wedding day, from the first delivery to the last pick-up of the night. These individuals are there to receive your floral delivery and are there when your chair rentals get returned. They’re great for tying up loose ends and ensuring that no detail gets missed on the big day. More than that, they’re a reliable partner to handle odds and ends and all things logistical on your wedding day, giving you the freedom to enjoy and not worry about whether the vendors are on time and if they need any assistance or not.

Unlike wedding planners, wedding coordinators do not offer much help booking and negotiating with vendors, nor do they give many referrals due to how late in the process they’re involved. They also don’t aid much in the overall design of the wedding like planners do. They won’t be there to attend most site visits or do the little things like stuff invitations.

So, Which Should You Hire?

Now that you know the differences, you may be wondering which of these vendors, if either, you should hire.

Hire a Wedding Planner If…

There are a few good reasons to hire a wedding planner over a coordinator. First, make sure you have the money in your budget for this. Planners can be quite expensive, so that’s definitely a consideration. Next, hire a wedding planner if you’re not interested in tending to many of the little details of your day. Another compelling reason to hire a planner is if you’re completely lost as to where to start with planning and you don’t have the desire to organize yourself to do it.

Wedding planners are also very useful if you’re getting married in a complicated or unique space, like a library or outdoor venue. Finally, they’re a great option for a destination wedding that involves a lot of wedding-related events and planning from afar.

Hire a Wedding Coordinator If…

There are also a lot of great reasons to hire a wedding coordinator instead. If you’re looking for a more economically friendly option, a coordinator may be the route for you. Also, if you’re interested in actively planning the details of your wedding but don’t want the stress of managing the vendors on the day-of, a coordinator is a fantastic option.

Both of these vendors are great options, but before you decide, knowing their duties and the differences between the two is vital.

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