What's the difference between a wedding planner and a wedding venue coordinator? When you start planning your wedding, you might find yourself asking this question. You may also ask,
- Do I need a wedding planner if the wedding venue has a coordinator?
- What does a wedding venue planner do that the wedding planner doesn't?
What is the difference between an event planner and an event coordinator?
What is the difference between an independent wedding planner and an on-site venue coordinator?
While they may share some similarities, the truth is that there are vast differences between the two roles. (You may even wonder if you need a wedding planner if your venue “includes” one. More on that down below.)
As a luxury wedding planner in New York, we have seen first-hand the importance of understanding these differences to make sure your wedding day runs smoothly. The closer you look at the two roles, the more you'll understand it too! In today’s episode, I’m sharing a few of the MAIN differences between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner. That way, you can decide for yourself if you need both.
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EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: What's the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Coordinator?
To fast-forward to a specific part of the podcast episode, check out the timestamps below:
- Who or what is their focus? [7:42]
- What's their relationship with the venue? [10:54]
- Timeline Management[13:25]
- Budget Management [15:22]
- Your Point of Contact during the planning process [16:50]
Links Mentioned in the Episode
- Visit the ASK THE PLANNER Wedding Planning Templates Shop
- Learn more about my wedding planner coaching service – get on the waitlist for access to a lower introductory price!
- Book a Clarity Call with Desirée
Thank you to our podcast sponsors!
- Visit the ASK THE PLANNER Wedding Planning Templates Shop – Use code SEASON4 for 20% off!
But before I do, if you’re new to the show, Welcome, Welcome. I’m so glad to have you here for season 4 of the podcast. Are you newly engaged? Engaged to be engaged? Is your wedding this winter or fall? Or are you a wedding vendor? I’d love to know!
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Okay – so what can you look forward to for Season 4 of the Ask the Planner Podcast?
1. Never Have I Ever: I added a new segment to my interviews. It’s called Never Have I Ever where we ask guests a question and they have to tell us the truth. For example, some questions I’ve already asked guests are, “Never Have I Ever caught the bouquet at the wedding” or “Never Have I Ever worn a bridesmaid dress again after the wedding.”
I would love for you all to submit questions for Never Have I Ever. So drop them in your review in Apple Podcasts or Spotify. If we use your question in a future episode, I’ll send you a Target, Starbucks, or Amazon gift card.
2. Our guest lineup: I'm so excited about our upcoming guests! Next week, I’ll be joined by financial expert and two-time best-selling author Rachel Cruz. I also have an attorney joining us to talk about things to look out for in vendor contracts, a wedding dress designer, a bridal salon owner, and a bridal fitness expert, as well as some other amazing people!
3. Weekly IG Lives: Finally, we will continue to do our weekly IG lives – for the most part on Wednesdays unless they’re with a guest on the podcast. If you’re new to the show, this is when I hop on to talk about this week’s episode and connect with you all for a few minutes to see how you’re all doing. If you have a preference for when or where I do those lives – morning, night, mid-day, please let me know in your Apple Podcast or Spotify reviews, too!
But wait! There’s more. If you’re listening to this when it originally aired on Oct. 2, for the first 2 weeks of October, you can get 20% off the entire template shop (including the Wedding Day Master Organizer) when you enter the code SEASON 4 (that’s S-E-A-S-O-N-4) during checkout. Get ahead of your wedding planning with all of our templates!
And finally, for all my planners out there, the waitlist is now open to my new coaching service for wedding planners and other service-based businesses. It’s designed specifically for those in their first 1-2 years of owning their business. You can sign up for the waitlist at verveeventco.com/coach and that will put you on the email list to be notified when doors open next week as well as get you access to a special introductory price before the price goes up.
And if you prefer to read, here's the summary of the podcast episode!
What's the Difference Between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Coordinator?
1. Who or what is their focus?
The first distinction between a wedding coordinator and a venue coordinator lies in their main focus.
A wedding planner is dedicated to serving you and ensuring your wedding day is a success. A wedding planner will prioritize your needs, as well as those of your partner, wedding party, and guests.
A venue coordinator's main priority is the venue and its operations. Conversely, the venue coordinator's primary concern will be the venue itself and the team associated with it.
That’s a very high-level view of the two roles. But you probably still don’t know what that means for you. So let’s dive further into it.
Venue Coordinator’s Role:
A venue coordinator's primary role is to ensure the venue's operations run smoothly.
They're responsible for ensuring that the venue is ready for you, the venue’s vendors arrive on time, and the timeline for your ceremony and reception is followed. This means that they typically have a set process, such as a preferred vendor list and layout plan for the venue. They will typically not manage any aspects of outside rentals, decor, or transportation (beyond sending you a PDF with a list of names anyway!).
Wedding Planner’s Role:
On the other hand, a full-service wedding planner will take care of all aspects of wedding planning.
They will guide you through every decision: from vendor selection, design, timeline, budget, and so much more. They will handle the day's logistics, troubleshoot anything that arises, and ensure all vendors and guests are comfortable. A full-service wedding planner has a far broader scope of work, ensuring all aspects of the wedding are coordinated and aligned, whether it involves the wedding venue or not.
Shuttles are a good example of where the venue coordinator does not get involved. Most venue coordinators are not going to put together a transportation schedule for the bus company and coordinate with them to ensure they're following the schedule, etc.
2. Their Relationship with the Venue
The second distinction between the venue coordinator and the wedding planner is their relationship to the venue. A venue coordinator works solely for the venue, ensuring everything within their scope operates accordingly. They can help you answer questions about lighting or suggest other vendors that have previously worked with the venue. However, when push comes to shove: their loyalty will always be to the venue as they are the ones that employ them. This means that if there ARE any issues on your wedding day (or leading up to your wedding day), they are less likely to advocate for you.
Conversely, a full-service wedding planner will work closely with all vendors, including the venue coordinator. They will work on your behalf and collaborate with the venue coordinator to ensure your vision is executed. Full-service wedding planners understand the importance of developing great relationships with venue coordinators, which can lead to better vendor recommendations and problem resolution. Contrary to popular belief – we are not out to replace venue coordinators either! We all want to work together for the mutual benefit of our couples!
But at the end of the day, your wedding planner works for YOU. This means you will always have an advocate on your wedding day so that you can remain present no matter what. That's well worth the investment.
3. Timeline Management
A third key difference between the venue coordinator and the wedding planner is the timeline management.
The venue coordinator typically has a timeline that ensures the venue is ready (as per your contract). Their focus is primarily limited to the start and stop times of your wedding ceremony and reception, versus a wedding planner which may be more invested in the minute details. You won't find your venue coordinator, for example, checking in on your hair and makeup teams to ensure your first look can happen on time.
We take timelines very seriously around here (you know this already if you follow us on Instagram or have purchased our Day Of Timelines bundle in the wedding planning template shop). We create individual timelines so that EACH vendor is aware of the exact timing of their services. The reason is, we want to ensure everyone is on the same page. Seriously, we have everything planned down to the minute. As a full-service wedding planner, we also ensure that all services, including setup and tear-down, are carried out correctly. Your venue coordinator is not reading your contracts between your other vendors to ensure you got what you paid for! And speaking of money…
4. Budget Management
That bring us to our 4th key distinction between a venue coordinator and wedding planner.
A venue coordinator is not responsible for managing a client's budget; they are only responsible for what you are paying the venue. We have talked about this A LOT on the podcast. Choosing a wedding venue without having a comprehensive spending plan is one of the biggest mistakes we see couples make when they choose to DIY their wedding planning (or book their venue before hiring a wedding planner). A full-service wedding planner works to manage the entire wedding budget. We create a detailed budget breakdown for each vendor and ensure all of the expenses (and gratuities) stay within your budget. We also know how to work with budgets of all sizes to maximize your investment.
5. Lastly, one of the differences between a wedding planner and venue coordinator is that your point of contact might change with the latter.
Working with a venue coordinator can be wonderful, but it is important to remember that point of contact may change throughout the planning process. This means that you may have one person during the sales process, a different person at the beginning, and by the time your wedding rolls around, you may be dealing with someone else entirely. Trust us – this can be a huge source of frustration during this already stressful time. And let us just say – the good venue coordinators always get promoted. Especially with larger wedding venues.
On the other hand, with a wedding planner, your point of contact is consistent from start to finish. We also will manage all communications on your behalf. You will not have to worry about who to go to for what or whether something has been done correctly. Any hiccup will all be taken care of before you even realize it has been an issue. Even if you are a highly organized person, you'll appreciate this peace of mind.
Let’s summarize those key distinctions before we talk about if you need a wedding planner. The main differences between the venue coordinator and a wedding planner are:
- In their focus. A wedding planner is dedicated to serving you and ensuring your wedding day is a success. A venue coordinator's main priority is the venue and its operations.
- The venue coordinator typically has a timeline that ensures the venue is ready (as per your contract). Their focus is primarily limited to the start and stop times of your wedding ceremony and reception, versus a wedding planner which may be more invested in the minute details. You won't find your venue coordinator, for example, checking in on your hair and makeup teams to ensure your first look can happen on time.
- Third, timeline management. The venue’s timeline really focuses on their setup needs for the ceremony and reception. They typically won’t be managing when your vendors for their setup and take down – such as hair and makeup.
- A venue coordinator is not responsible for managing a client's budget; they are only responsible for what you are paying the venue. If you work with a full-service planner, they are creating a comprehensive spending plan for your entire budget.
- Finally, a 5th key difference between the venue coordinator and the wedding planner is that your point of contact will likely change for the venue, perhaps multiple times. You’ll work with a sales manager during the contracting process, a catering manager during planning, and an event manager or banquet captain on the day of the wedding. With a wedding planner, typically you’ll have one person throughout the planning process from planning to execution.
Do you really need a wedding planner?
So when you’re planning a wedding, it can be tempting to think that the venue coordinator is all you need. After all, they know the space and will have some ideas for decorations and activities. When touring a venue, they may even promise they will be there to guide you every step of the way. But the truth is that if you want your big day to go off without a hitch (and you actually want to ENJOY planning your wedding) then hiring a wedding planner, preferably a full-service one, is absolutely essential.
There's no need to worry about forgotten details or unwelcome surprises – just sit back, relax, and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event! And hey, shameless plug here: At Verve Event Co, we specialize in creating unforgettable weddings in Upstate New York and beyond. So reach out because we would love to work with you and would be happy to travel wherever your love takes you!
What's the Difference between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Coordinator?
And that wraps up today’s episode. I hope this episode helped you get a better understanding of the two roles, how they work together, and their limitations. If you have any questions, I’m more than happy to answer them! Feel free to DM me on IG at @asktheplannerpodcast. I respond to everyone. Or you can leave a voicemail at 585-210-3467. We are planning to do a listener Q & A where I answer your real questions, so make sure you send them to us and I’ll answer them on the show.
If you want even more help, I’m only a phone call away, and you can set up a 90-minute clarity call with me at verveeventco.com/clarity or shop all of our wedding planning templates in the Wedding Planning Template Shop at shop.verveeventco.com.
Again, don’t forget that for the first 2 weeks of October, we’re having a sale in the template shop. Enter the code SEASON 4 during checkout to get 20% off your entire cart, including our Wedding Day Master Organizer, which includes templates of the files that we use to plan all of our weddings and we print and take with us to our weddings. I even include a word-for-word email of what we send to the printer so he can print out and bind all of our books!
For planners, I guarantee that this set of templates will be a game-changer for your wedding business. And for all my DIY brides, these templates will seriously have you so organized that your vendors will thank you over and over again for being so prepared. You can find that in the Wedding Planning Template shop.
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