From a day of wedding coordinator to a full-service wedding planner, which wedding planner is right for you? It can be overwhelming when you first get engaged, and it might feel like you have only two options – DIY and maybe hiring a day of wedding coordinator or going all-in with a full-service planner. But the truth is, there's a whole range of wedding planning services out there, and today, we're here to empower you to make the best choice for your special day.
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EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: Which Wedding Planner is Right for You? From Full-Service to Day-of Wedding Coordinator
To fast-forward to a specific part of the podcast episode, check out the timestamps below:
- Full-Service Wedding Planning [7:52]
- Wedding Design [13:25]
- Partial Wedding Planning [19:35]
- Wedding Management and Day of Wedding Coordinator (Wedding Coordination) [22:52]
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IF YOU PREFER TO READ, HERE'S THE SUMMARY OF THE PODCAST EPISODE!
In today's episode, I'm going to help you understand the nuances of each type of wedding planner, from day-of wedding coordinator to full-service wedding planning and design to help engaged couples understand which service fits their needs.
If you’re a wedding planner unsure of what kind of services to offer or what you should be offering with each service, keep listening because we’re going to get to that, too!
Alright. Let’s dig in.
Full-service wedding planning is my favorite service to offer couples because this allows my team and I to be involved in all aspects of your wedding planning journey. If you're looking to be involved in the fun aspects of planning your wedding day without having to do the heavy lifting when it comes to logistics, budgeting, time management, etc. full-service planning is probably the right choice for you!
Having a full-service wedding planner means an experienced professional is overseeing every detail. From budgeting and vendors to timeline management and giving your wedding a cohesive design, we do it all. You'll have one point of contact coordinating all aspects of your day. This means no confusion or miscommunication between vendors and last-minute surprises on your wedding day. Not only that, but they can also provide expert advice on vendor selection (based on their experience working with them in the past), timeline optimization, and overall atmosphere advice to make sure that everything is perfect for your special day.
If there is one thing we wish more couples knew, it's that full-service wedding planning isn't about losing control. Our couples still get to be a part of absolutely everything they care about and want to be a part of! They just get to ENJOY it, instead of anxiously cramming the 200-300 hours it takes to plan a wedding into their work lunch breaks and weekends off.
What Does a Full-Service Wedding Planner Do?
In our full-service wedding planning package, we create a detailed itemized budget for every vendor and expense that we’re tracking, minute-to-minute timelines, inventory lists, and production schedules, the list goes on. We serve as the conduit of information between our couples and vendors. Rarely do our vendors communicate with our couples because we want the process to be streamlined. It gets confusing if vendors and couples are having side conversations about different items because they will inevitably affect other parts of the day and it just gets muddled if we’re not part of every conversation.
This is typically the highest-end offering a planner will have because it’s the most time-intensive. We spend on average 150-175 or more hours planning each couple’s wedding.
In terms of pricing, some planners do a flat fee for full-service planning but we have a percentage-based structure. We do this because I don’t want to have to predict the future of your scope of work. It really depends on each couple and their priorities.
Oftentimes, couples assume that wedding planners and wedding designers are the same. In fact, they are two completely separate services. Wedding design includes curating and managing all of the aesthetic elements and details that come together to create the overall look and feel of your special day. This could include anything from finding and creating the perfect theme, curating a custom color palette, choosing centerpieces, lighting, décor, floral design, designing your stationery suite, and more. All of these components come together to bring your unique vision for your wedding to life!
At my wedding planning company Verve Event Co, we include wedding design as part of our full-service wedding planning packages, it's also not uncommon for couples to hire a wedding designer for design services only, and hire their wedding planner separately.
What Does a Wedding Designer Do?
As a planner, I’m managing the entire budget of the wedding. If I’m not part of the design conversation, I’m not able to advise you on whether or not there’s room in your budget for upgraded linens or special entertainment. Plus, your catering guarantee (which is the number of people you’re feeding that have RSVP’ed they’re attending) will also affect how many table settings and centerpieces you order because it needs to be accurate.
Once you finalize how many people are coming, I still need to go back and make sure we ordered the correct number of tablecloths, napkins, flatware, glassware, etc. And then I need to make sure we have the correct # of centerpieces for all the tables since you probably did some rearranging of the floorplan once you knew who was coming. Maybe we turned a rectangle into a round. Well, a rectangle is going to probably have two or three centerpieces while a round just has one. See what I mean?
Is a Wedding Planner the Same as a Wedding Designer?
However, there are some wedding planners who simply don't want to be involved in the design. Some want to focus on the logistics only. Again, I think that’s hard to separate, but there are those who are really great at just the logistics. With that being said, if your wedding planner also provides design services, it is more efficient to have them handle both aspects rather than coordinating with separate vendors. This streamlines the process and ensures seamless collaboration.
If you want to hire a wedding planner for DESIGN SERVICES only, that’s also possible. Just make sure you understand clearly what they’re incorporating into the design and what you’re still responsible for. Are they going to source any of the design elements for you? Will they provide you with a list of vendors that have what they’re recommending? Or are you responsible for finding everything?
Make sure you both understand who’s responsible for what.
Speaking of having a clear understanding of responsibilities, that brings us to the third service.
3. Partial Wedding Planning
Partial wedding planning strikes a balance between hands-on involvement and professional guidance. It's an excellent option for couples who want to take charge of certain planning tasks (or don't have the budget for full-service planning). However, they still value the expertise of a wedding planner for specific aspects or vendor recommendations.
This service is often customized to your specific needs, whether it's budgeting assistance, vendor selection, or design inspiration. It provides you with the flexibility to be active in the planning process while still benefiting from professional guidance.
When shopping for partial wedding planning packages, some wedding planners offer a “set list” of inclusions. On the other hand, some will allow you to purchase a bundle of a set number of hours (ie. 10 hours, 20 hours, etc). Decide what works best for you and the type of support you desire.
We don’t offer this service at Verve because I think it’s confusing to say I do this but not this. I’ll help with this part but not that part. Also, I just really like getting to know our clients and spending time with them. With Partial Planning and Wedding Management, which is the next service I’m talking about, it feels more transactional and that’s just not my vibe.
However, many planners offer this service so if you think this is a good fit for you, you’ll probably find someone who offers it.
Our fourth and final service is “wedding management” which has taken on several different names in the wedding industry. If you see wedding planners advertising packages like “day of coordination” (or day of wedding coordinator), “month of coordination,” or “wedding management,” they're usually referring to the same thing. This type of wedding planning package is designed to help couples who have already planned the majority of their wedding but want assistance managing all of the details leading up to and on the day of the big event. A coordinator will usually come in three to two months (maybe one) before your wedding date to ensure everything is running smoothly.
We offer Wedding Management services on a limited basis based on availability. Our calendar usually fills up with full-service weddings, so we only book wedding management weddings if we have an opening in our calendar six months before the date, which hasn’t been the case for the last year.
This is definitely a service a newer planner is going to offer to get more experience, but I also think it’s the hardest one to service because there’s just SO MUCH to get caught up on. But if they have good systems in place, they can do a really amazing job.
What is a Day of Wedding Coordinator?
I’m going to get on my soapbox for a second and say that the term day of wedding coordinator is very misleading and actually doesn’t exist. If you truly want someone to come in the day or week before your wedding completely cold and unprepared to “just set things up” you might as well be throwing your money into a barrel and lighting it on fire.
You are setting up this person and your wedding for failure. I barely remember conversations I had a day ago. Do you really think a person is going to be able to take all the information you give them the day or week before your wedding and confidently directly your entire vendor team that you’ve spent an entire year planning and communicating with?
Nope. It’s not a realistic expectation. They’re going to arrive on site and your vendors are going to be like, Who’s this chick? Well, my last email with the bride said this. Are you sure that’s correct?
So if you’re hiring someone for this service, make sure you ask them what their process is for getting ramped up to ensure they understand and know everything that’s in your head so you can truly enjoy your wedding day.
There are some wedding planners that ONLY offer this kind of service and they crush it, so to each their own!
Which Type of Wedding Planner is Right For You?
Choosing the type of wedding planner you want doesn't have to be an “all or nothing” decision. It's a spectrum, ranging from the holistic approach of full-service planning to something to tie up the loose ends like wedding management, which shouldn't be confused with day-of wedding coordination. Every couple has unique needs, and thankfully, there's a service tailored for everyone.
Whether you require full service or not, the right wedding planner service is out there waiting for you. Remember, it's not just about planning an event; it's about curating an experience that will last a lifetime. If you would like to work together to plan your heirloom occasion, I would love to hear from you! You can check if we’re available on your date here.
Should You Hire a Day of Wedding Coordinator?
I hope this discussion helps you in making the right choice for your wedding planning journey. Whether you opt for full service, design, partial planning, or coordination, there's a service out there for you. Remember, it's not just about planning an event; it's about curating the experience for you and your loved ones.
If you have any questions about today's topic, send me a DM or leave it in your review on Apple Podcasts, or leave a voicemail on our wedding planning hotline at 585-210-3467.
For all my planners, if you have questions about what services you should be offering or want a better idea of what should be included in each service, I would love to help you with my coaching and mentoring service for wedding planners. You can learn more about that service here.
Thank you for tuning in, and until next time, happy planning!
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