Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner Coordinator, So What Is the Difference? Is There A Difference?

 As you go through the wedding planning process visiting venues, you probably have come across a lot of vendors, and particularly quite a number of event professionals.

You've probably even heard people introduce themselves to you either as a wedding planner, wedding consultant, event manager, venue coordinator, bridal consultant, event coordinator, or a wedding coordinator, do I need to keep going?

You get the picture. The options are endless isn't it?

 Today, we are going to focus on two significant but different roles that you may come across during your wedding planning journey...

The Venue Coordinator and the Wedding Planner/Coordinator 

Let's breakdown these two roles shall we? This is by far one of the most common question, or topic that I hear from engaged couples when they are deciding to hire a wedding planner. Often times the discussion goes like this:

Bride and/or Groom: Our hotel comes with a coordinator that is helping us with our wedding, why do we need you?

Wedding Planner & Coordinator (Me): Venue Coordinators are NOT wedding planners. In fact, I will work with your venue coordinator, but you should know they are only limited to the interaction of their in-house vendors and venue the day of your wedding. 

Furthermore, I go into an in-depth analysis and provide the advantages of having a wedding planner & coordinator versus the disadvantages of having just a venue coordinator, which I will share with you now.

Venue Coordinators
First, venue coordinators are a great resource. When you visit with venue coordinators, they should they be able to provide you all the answers you need to know about your venue and provide you with their preferred vendors list of vendors. The preferred vendors list is a list of vendors that have proven their expertise with the venue, by showing a history of successful work at the venue through previous events and weddings at the venue.

Now let's get to the venue coordinator's role. Venue coordinators' bosses are to the venue first, the bride and groom comes in second place. Their primary job is to sell you their space in the form of a venue rental. If the venue is a full-service venue, your venue package includes meal service, a cake, etc. The venue coordinator will coordinate your menu options, and meal tastings. They may even be able to provide you with basic decorative options based on what they have in their inventory, such as linen and seat covers for your tables and chairs. It should be noted that venue coordinators do not coordinate with your outside vendors such as florists setting up centerpieces, and they do not set up your venue such as placing your guestbook, unity candles, or toasting flutes, and guests favors. They also are not responsible for handling any gifts or monies that may be given to the bride and groom the day of the wedding. Venue Coordinators are limited to what they can do for you because their scope is limited to what the venue can offer you. 
  • Venue Coordinators do not assist you with selecting a vendor that meets your specific needs and wants or prepare/represent you when you attend vendor's meetings.
  • Venue Coordinators do not review and/or negotiate your contract terms with vendors
  • Venue Coordinators may not necessarily keep you on budget, but bust your budget with add-ons 
  • Venue Coordinators may or may not conduct a wedding rehearsal. If the ceremony is at a place of worship, usually there is an in-house coordinator to conduct the rehearsal.
  • Venue Coordinators may or may not provide a limited wedding day timeline to the bride and groom

The Venue Coordinator you work with throughout your planning process may not be the same person that will coordinate the venue's activities the day of your wedding. The venue coordinator's job usually ends when meal service for your wedding ends. If the venue is at a big venue, or a hotel, the venue coordinator may leave for the day after meal service ends. If the venue is at a smaller venue, the venue coordinator usually stays or assigns someone to wait until all the guests leave, so they can secure, lock up the venue for the night. 

Wedding Planners & Coordinators
Wedding Planners primarily serve as your consultant, and lay the "ground work" for your wedding. They take your wishes & dreams, and aim to package it into a beautiful reality, all while staying within your budget! Wedding Planners are able to align you with vendors that are specific to your wants and needs, and often this information of preferred vendors of the wedding planner is not freely given out until you hire the wedding planner.  More than likely, you will receive special benefits that may result in services at a discount compared to those who seek out the same services without being represented by a planner. The planner is able to pass on these discounts to their couples because of the relationship they've built over time with vendors who have proven their expertise by working with the planner at previous events and weddings. 

Wedding Planners may also serve as the Wedding Coordinator for the day of your wedding too. There are also wedding professionals who specialize and only provide wedding coordination on the day of the wedding.  The common term you may hear is called day of coordination service, but more like month of coordination (which is another topic, that we will discuss later, I PROMISE!). Wedding Coordinators' primary role is to manage the flow of the day with all your vendors, so that you can enjoy and relish in the moment of your wedding day with your dear family and friends. You are not worrying whether or not your cake and flowers arrived, or what time car service is coming, or what happens if the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, or who is going to "man" the gift table? The beauty of the wedding planner & coordinator is that you hired them, they work for you! 

  • Wedding Planners provide you with a customized list of vendors based on your style and budget
  • Wedding Planners & Coordinators review and/or may negotiate terms of your contracts
  • Wedding Coordinators can be zany and geeks about lists and logistics. They create a production schedule for ALL the players in your wedding(vendors, bridal party, family & friends), and provide you and perhaps even people in your bridal party a timeline of what happens from the time you wake up, to the time you wave good-bye to your guests on your way to your get-away car
  • Wedding Planners & Coordinators conduct the wedding rehearsal 
  • Wedding Planners & Coordinators are not salesmen/saleswomen at heart, but are truly passionate about weddings and aim to provide you a whirlwind experience throughout your engagement
  • Any hiccups that arrive on the wedding day whether they are venue related, vendor related, or guest related are managed by the wedding planner & coordinator, because you are their primary vested interest.

The Wedding Planner & Coordinator usually is one of the last to leave the wedding to ensure everyone has left safely, and to ensure the venue space is not left in disorder, and that gifts and monies are transported to its destination. 

Bottom Line: The venue coordinator's allegiance is first and foremost to the venue, their employer. The wedding planner and/or coordinator's first priority is always the bride and groom, which is their employer. 

I hope you found this breakdown helpful. 

If you know someone who will benefit from this information, please share this information with them! Also, I would love to hear what you think below in our comments section of some of your experiences with venue coordinators, wedding planners & coordinators.

For more information about our Wedding Day of Management company, please visit our website at

Ciao for now,