Venue coordinator versus wedding planner... they sound like they must be the same job and they must do the same things, right? Truth be told, no, there's actually a big difference between the two jobs. Of course, you might assume or have been told that your venue comes with a coordinator, but it is always important to find out what they do/won't do. Before your wedding planning journey begins, we will showcase the differences between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner because it's not an uncommon question for newly engaged couples during the venue shopping experience.
VENUE COORDINATOR/MANAGER; THEIR FOCUS IS ON THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CLIENT FROM THE VENUE'S PERSPECTIVE.
We will be the first ones to tell you that we love venue coordinators! They are experts of their venue and have helped educate us on countless tips, tricks, do's and don'ts, cant's and wont's. Since they work for the venue, their job is to look out for the venue's best interest and ensure the venue's needs and responsibilities are taken care of. They may be responsible for everything at the venue, from renting out the event space to selling and serving food and beverages, managing rentals, designing, setting up, dimming the lights, adjusting the air conditioner, cleaning up, and locking the doors. Venue coordinators are some of the hardest-working people in the wedding industry, and their knowledge about their event space is remarkable. They are constantly answering questions from vendors about load-in/load-out, having back-up plans for inclement weather, overseeing alcohol being served to protect their TABC licenses, how to cut the power, where the fire exits are, and everything in between! Seriously, their role is crucial to the operation.
WEDDING PLANNER/DAY OF COORDINATOR; THEIR FOCUS IS ON THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CLIENT, THEIR FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND GUESTS.
Wedding planners can fix a stain on your wedding gown, give orders to their three assistants, calm down the overly stressed Mother of the Bride, line up five intoxicated groomsmen, and cue the ceremony music - all at the same time each person walks down the aisle. It sounds like a chaotic mess, AND IT IS, but it's what planners are hired to do! A wedding planner works for YOU, yes YOU! They aren't vastly experienced with MULTIPLE venues; they can work anywhere and everywhere. Has your planner never been to your venue before? HAVE NO FEAR! By the time your wedding rolls around, they will have likely met with the venue manager, had a consultation with your done a final walkthrough, conducted the rehearsal and showed up early on wedding day probably putting them there more hours than you have spent at the venue. They already can locate the bathrooms, the catering kitchen, and where vendors can load in/out. They know exactly where to tuck the bride away so the groom won't see her before the ceremony begins.
Most importantly, their client's needs, desires, goals, and vision are their top priority. A wedding planner is responsible for managing all of the details of your wedding and is looking out for your best interests, while advocating for your happiness and aiming to please the venue, your families, and your guests. Wedding planners are with you throughout the planning process and the entire day of your wedding, executing all of your greatest wishes. The most significant difference between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner is up to YOU, because YOU hand-picked, interviewed, and vetted them whereas the venue made the decision to hire their on site venue coordinator/manager.
BUT BACK TO THE VENUE COORDINATOR...
They know ALL of the ins and outs of their venue, but there are a stark differences between a venue coordinator and a wedding coordinator. For example, if you plan on having your rehearsal the day before, keep in mind that there is a chance your venue might be booked and you can't have it on site. On top of that, they traditionally do not run your rehearsal, but they may be there to unlock the doors for it. Some venues have multiple buildings on site, therefore you might not be the only client hosting an event that day, which means you may have trouble locating your venue coordinator throughout the day - another responsibility that your day of coordinator can take on. Also, with such a competitive industry, you may notice that the person you toured the venue may not be the person who is present on the day of your wedding. Although they're just as qualified, if you are wanting to establish a solid relationship throughout the process, they aren't guaranteed to be there on the day of your wedding. Light bulb go out? Air conditioner won't turn on? Both bathrooms are out of paper towels? Making sure your vendors don't put tape on the floor that could cost you your deposit? You can bet your venue coordinator will be able to handle all of these things for everyone's best interest.
BUT BACK TO THE WEDDING DAY OF COORDINATOR...
Headache? Dress needs to be bustled? Cold glass of water? Change of shoes? Passing the microphone for toasts? Now THAT is what your day of coordinator is signed up to do. There are a few different tiers of planning packages, ranging from full service to partial planning to month (or day) of. You may or may not need a full service planner depending how much time you have to devote to the planning process, Let's face it, most of us work full time, so we don't have as much time as we would like to plan a wedding so make sure that the package you choose is what makes sense for you and your significant other. Wedding planners dedicate their passion and time to your wedding; they are there to take the stress out of your wedding planning process from your first conversation, regardless of the level of service you select. In addition, your wedding planner is the main point of contact for ALL of your vendors, family members, and friends throughout the process; and trust me, they usually become your best friend throughout the process! Wedding planners wear many hats. They coordinate all of the tiny details.. Who's bringing ice? Where the cake is being cut? Who is going to cue the photographer, videographer, officiant, and DJ right before you walk down the aisle? Who can hand out my gratuity? Also they think quick on their feet during every second of your wedding and behind the scenes, they create your floor plan, your timeline, your vendor arrival times, and all of the small things in between. In addition, they will be responsible for making sure your vision is brought to life. They will make sure you eat lunch when your nerves kick in, while lining up everyone for the ceremony, to securing the centerpieces and table settings on a windy day, and making sure your grandma is not sitting next to the loudest speaker. They want to hand you your favorite drink after the I do, cue the grand entrance and thumbs up the DJ to begin the first dance, while teaching you how to cut the cake. They pack up all of your gifts, line up 100 intoxicated guests for a sparkler exit and make sure everyone gets on the shuttle with all of their belongings.
OUR LOVE LANGUAGE IS PASSION... AND CHAOS.
When you see us crying while you walk down the aisle, it's not because we are stressed, but it's because we've spent the past six months to two years by your side, waiting for this exact moment. You've become more than a client to us - you've become our friend and we have spent the time getting to know your families. That's a wedding planner's dream. A talented wedding planner is a gift to yourself, for the one time in your life you live the role of bride and groom, and then afterwards you get to wonder how people could EVER live without one!
That's the difference between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner. At the end of the day, the venue coordinator's priorities are to have a happy client, a raving review, and photos to showcase their venue. A wedding planner also strives for a happy client and raving review, but they spend their time focusing on the client experience. They are the ones available at your beck and call all day and night. They will unjam your zipper, bustle your dress, facilitate the timeline, and coordinate your sparkler exit while loading up all of your gifts/decor at the end of the night. The venue coordinator will stay close by their side to turn off the lights, ensure that the vendors cleaned up properly, and lock the doors. It's important that the two don't get confused because they have completely different roles on your wedding day. At the end of the day, they both rely on each other for a successful wedding and a raving review on both ends is always appreciated.