We're in wedding planning mode again today – have you been following these super helpful posts in our Wedding Experts Planning Tips series? I do hope they're making the planning process seem a little less daunting.
Okay, over to Andri…
In my last post, we discussed how to go about sourcing your ideal wedding venue and in your own search you may find yourself meeting many wedding coordinators at the venues you visit. If you’re wondering what the difference between a wedding planner and venue coordinator is, then let me enlighten you!
A lot of people think that the two roles are the same and that hiring a wedding planner is essentially the same as paying for the same service twice. In order to save you from finding out the hard way, let me just tell you right now that that’s entirely inaccurate! From the difference in our job descriptions to our involvement on the wedding day, the quickest way to explain why planners and coordinators are two separate entities is the fact that coordinators work for and are beholden to the venue; wedding planners work for you.
The Wedding Planner
Wedding planners have one priority: making sure your wedding runs completely smoothly and is even better than you had imagined. Planners offer various levels of service, but are likely to have planned most, if not all, of the elements of your wedding from start to finish.
You can get a wedding planner onboard right from the start to help create a design scheme and source a venue, so they will have a greater knowledge of your ideals for the day. Your wedding planner will have an exact idea of the logistics and style of your wedding, meaning that there’ll be someone on hand throughout the process who knows about every last detail of your day (and who isn’t you, as you’ll be a bit busy getting married).
Without putting too fine a point on it, a wedding planner will be onsite from early in the morning of your wedding until the very last supplier has dismantled and left the venue. They’ll double check everything is just as you had imagined it, from the place settings to the creases in the tablecloths. We deal in details, timings and minutiae, making sure that everything runs according to schedule and plan.
Wedding planners have lists of lists and can make sure that if anything goes wrong, we have an answer for it. From emergency kits to rectify any spill or stain, to a full list of suppliers’ contact details in case someone’s running late, pragmatism and preparation help wedding planners make sure there’s never a need for panic.
The Venue Coordinator
It’s usually a venue coordinator who will respond to your initial enquiry and show you around the venue. They act partially as a salesperson, an ambassador for the venue and a point of liaison between the couple and the on-site operations team.
Coordinators are responsible for aspects of your wedding that specifically concern the venue, like drawing up your pro forma, organizing menu tastings and monitoring your payments. You’re not likely to have much contact with them once you’ve confirmed your wedding date until the month or two before your wedding when you are sorting out logistics.
Their responsibility on the actual wedding day is to ensure that the venue is set up correctly, your wedding suppliers adhere to their rules and that your refreshments and wedding breakfast are served correctly. Many venue coordinators leave after the main meal has been served, perhaps leaving an operations manager or banqueting manager in charge.
If you are having a multi-venue wedding then your wedding planner and their team will be able to oversee setting up of the multiple venues and guest transportation between them, again something which your in house venue coordinator who is tied to their venue will be unable to do.
If you ask a venue coordinator for a supplier recommendation, they are likely to suggest someone from their recommended list. In many cases, these are suppliers who have paid to be on the list or work on a commission basis, so you’re not really getting an honest referral based on someone’s merits or experience.
By contrast, wedding planners invest a lot of time in building up a network of trusted suppliers who they can call on. Not only will they be personally acquainted with their work, but they’ll also tailor their recommendations based on your budget, style and personality. In this way we can be sure that we’re creating a team of wedding professionals that we know can deliver the best service and the best value for money for our clients.
If you read my last article about sourcing your wedding venue and felt a little daunted by the amount of research, visiting and comparisons you’re going to have to do, then there’s definitely a case to be made for having a wedding planner in your life. We can do a venue search for you, meaning that the most you’ll have to do is read a report on the shortlisted places we’ve found for you and then pick which ones to visit. We’ll even come along to make sure the right questions are asked on your behalf so that you can just get on with imagining your wedding there.
If you don’t want to compare quotes of suppliers or don’t even know where to begin looking for trustworthy, talented wedding professionals, we can again save you time by sourcing your wedding suppliers for you.
In fact, whatever task you don’t want to get consumed with in your wedding planning, we can help you out. Whilst your venue coordinator won’t even know who you’re inviting to your wedding, we’ll be the ones chasing up RSVPs and dietary requirements. If time is your biggest asset, then there’s no greater investment than a wedding planner.
Forget the idea that a wedding planner is a costly addition to your wedding. We’re well-versed in sourcing services through tough negotiations on your behalf, seeking the most bang for your buck and passing on any savings from preferential rates to our clients. In the long run, a wedding planner can save you not only time, but also money.
A venue coordinator may seem like a ‘free wedding planner’ but actually they don’t have nearly as close a relationship or as deep an involvement as a wedding planner would have. Being an employee of a venue means that they are answerable to them and less able to offer discounts and opportunities for savings.
There are of course many outstanding venue coordinators who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their clients have a perfect day and who are a joy for wedding planners to work alongside. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that a wedding planner is essentially yours until you hop off on honeymoon, whereas a venue coordinator is more likely to be available during set office hours and for a limited time on your wedding day.
The crux of the difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator quite simply comes down to the fact that a wedding planner has a greater vested interest in every aspect of your wedding because we’re actually working for you.
Many thanks to Andri for clearing that up for us! As always with Andri's guest posts, I come away from them thinking that's ‘good to know' and ‘I wish I knew that when I was a bride'. I hope you do too.
Photos (unless otherwise stated) by Fanni Williams Wedding Planning & Design: Always Andri Wedding Design Venue: Beauberry House Florist: Stem Flowers, Ruth Curran Crawley Cake Designer: Rosalind Miller Props: Out of Love