Wedding Planner vs Wedding Coordinator: What is the Difference?

When you first get engaged, it's easy to get overwhelmed by wedding lingo and to-do lists. Thankfully, there are professionals available to help you plan and execute your big day.

One of the biggest distinctions you’ll want to learn about is the difference between a wedding coordinator and a wedding planner. Planners and coordinators have very different roles in the wedding planning process.

While you may have thought they do similar things, each professional has their own set of duties. 

Between the colors and the flowers, you have enough decisions to make. Using a wedding professional means someone else can help you with dilemmas like where to seat Aunt Edna or the different shades of pink. 

This guide will go over everything you need to know about wedding coordinators and wedding planners to help you decide which one is right for you.

Here’s a breakdown of what each pro does, how they differ and how they can make your life easier.

What is a Wedding Coordinator?

A wedding coordinator, also known as a wedding consultant, will work with you for a shorter time than a wedding planner.

These professionals may start helping you prepare for your wedding about a month before the big day. A coordinator's main job is to be the day-of point person.

A wedding coordinator will be responsible for helping you plan your day-of timeline, confirm contracts with vendors, and ensure that your wedding payments and guest counts are on track.

Your wedding coordinator won’t be involved in the earlier stages of planning your wedding, such as the design, or maintaining your budget.

The main job of your coordinator is to help keep your wedding day on schedule and to make sure everything runs smoothly.

From checking in and coordinating vendors to making sure none of your important details get forgotten, your wedding coordinator is there to help you relax and enjoy your day.

It is important to bring in your coordinator early so that they can get up to speed on your plans, your vendors, and the important details.

Wedding Coordinator Duties

A wedding coordinator will meet with you anywhere from four to eight weeks before your wedding. After going over your plans, your coordinator can help see if there are any loose ends or any big red flags, they can help you with.

Your coordinator will also review your vendor contracts and make sure your logistics are confirmed.

A wedding coordinator is also responsible for creating detailed timelines for your wedding. Coordinators also firm up floor plans. 

Your wedding coordinator will complete the final walk-through at your reception and ceremony sites as well.

Your wedding coordinator will look over the details of your wedding and make sure nothing is overlooked. Let’s say you missed a catering deadline, your wedding coordinator can help catch these mishaps before they turn into a bigger problem.

Lastly, your coordinator will manage your wedding rehearsal and oversee everything on your wedding day.

When to Hire a Wedding Coordinator?

A wedding coordinator is like your go-to person on the day of your wedding. If you want to have an active role in planning and designing your wedding but you want someone else to handle the last-minute details, a coordinator may be a great option.

If you’re a detail-oriented person who needs everything in order, a wedding coordinator will be like your over-organized best friend.

A wedding coordinator also costs less than a wedding planner because they work with you for a shorter amount of time. If your budget is a concern, a coordinator might be a great option for getting some extra help.

Hiring a wedding coordinator will help you relax, let loose, and enjoy your day while someone else takes care of all the little details.

What Does a Wedding Planner Do?

A wedding planner’s main focus is on the logistics of your wedding. From vendor referrals and negotiations to executing your vision for the day, planners make the whole process easier.

A wedding planner is there to make sure every detail is handled. Planners help take care of wedding logistics and keep you on-budget as well. 

Wedding planners have an army of vendors and other wedding professionals they work with. When you first start planning your wedding, finding vendors can be one of the most overwhelming aspects. Wedding planners can take the guesswork out of choosing them. 

Using a planner can help narrow down vendors to only the ones they trust and have relationships with.

Some wedding planners also offer wedding design services. If this is important to you, ask if they are designers before your first meeting.

If not, and you need additional design help, planners usually have designers they can refer you to. 

Wedding Planner Duties

A wedding planner is someone you can start working with right after you get engaged. Your wedding planner will help refer you to vendors, negotiate contracts, and will come with you to vendor meetings.

Your wedding planner will create detailed timelines for your wedding events and also help you with floor plans.

One of the most important things your wedding planner will do is to help you create your budget. From here, your planner will help make sure you stay within that budget and make any necessary adjustments. 

Your wedding planner will come with you to site tours, menu tastings, wedding-related meetings, and fittings if you’d like.

A wedding planner may also help you brainstorm design ideas and help you bring your vision to life.

Your wedding planner will help you coordinate transportation, book room blocks, and make sure your day-of logistics are buttoned up.

When it comes to your wedding weekend, your planner will help manage the rehearsal, oversee your wedding day and make sure every detail is perfect.

From checking in vendors to keeping everything on schedule, your planner will handle everything on the day of your wedding.

When to Hire a Wedding Planner?

If you have the budget, hiring a wedding planner can take a huge weight off of your shoulders. If you’re looking to just oversee the big decisions but leave the major planning to someone else, a professional wedding planner may be the way to go.

If you have a demanding job that doesn’t give you a lot of free time, a wedding planner can make sure everything gets taken care of, booked, and scheduled.

Another reason a wedding planner may be right for you is if attention to detail isn’t your forte. Weddings come with a lot of decisions, if this gives you anxiety, a wedding planner can make many decisions for you.

Wedding planners can often take care of wedding design elements as well. If you have a vision but you aren’t sure how to actually execute it, a wedding planner that also helps design events can be a huge help.

If you live in a different state, your local wedding planner can also act on your behalf when you can't be present in person. 

Key Considerations

When it comes to deciding which wedding professional is right for you, there are a few factors to consider. From what you need help with to your timeline and budget, here are a few questions to ask yourself before you hire a pro.

1. How Much Help Would You Like?

When deciding between a wedding coordinator and a wedding planner, think about how much help you need and what you like off of your plate.

From finding vendors to keeping your wedding on schedule, a wedding professional can help you as much as you need.

If you’d like someone to walk you through the entire wedding process, making major decisions, a planner could be your best option.

If you want to be primarily involved in the planning and design of your wedding a coordinator might be better suited for you. A coordinator mainly helps with your day-of logistics and final details.

Consider how much you want to be involved, how much time you have to dedicate to your wedding planning, and also what details you’d like handled.

You should also think about how much of the design you want to do yourself. If looking online and saving pictures to your phone is as far as you're willing to go, consider hiring a wedding planner who also designs.

If the professional you’re interested in, isn’t a wedding designer, they can usually recommend someone they work with to help make your vision come to life.

2. When to Hire a Professional?

One of the best things you can do is to hire your wedding professional early on in the process. Just getting this done will help check a major to-do item off of your list. 

Even if you aren’t using their help until a month before your wedding, book your wedding professional as soon as you know your wedding date or even get engaged.

Booking early can also give you the most bang for your buck. If you hire a wedding planner, early on, for example, they can help recommend vendors and even join you in early meetings.

Depending on where and when you’re getting married, popular wedding professionals book up fast. To help make sure you get your first choice, try and meet with coordinators or planners as soon as possible.

For recommendations, reach out to your friends who have recently gotten married. Sometimes, an old-fashioned referral is the best way to find a professional you can trust.

3. How Much Do They Cost?

Your budget is another factor to consider when choosing between a wedding coordinator and a wedding planner.

According to The Spruce, a wedding planner will typically cost between 15% and 20% of the total cost of your wedding. This may vary depending on where you live, the location of your wedding, and how much time your event takes to plan and coordinate.

Wedding coordinators will usually charge between 5% and 15% of your entire wedding budget. 

Your professional’s fee will depend on their demand, their experience, the average wedding cost in your area, as well as the scale of your wedding.

If these services are something you’re interested in, talk with your partner about which option may work best for you and your budget.

Why Work With a Wedding Professional?

When you’re planning your wedding, it is easy to get bogged down by the decisions. From big decisions such as your venue to the little details that go into your dream day, using a wedding professional can take a lot of the stress off of your plate.

One of the best decisions you can make is choosing to work with a wedding coordinator or a wedding planner to help streamline the day. Both professionals are there to help you with many or even all aspects of your wedding.

Whether you need a lot or a little help, making your ideas come to life is something a wedding professional strives for. 

Wedding professionals free up time to enjoy being engaged and most importantly your big day.

During the months and hours leading up to your wedding, all you need to focus on is marrying your special someone.

Let’s Get Hitched

Wedding coordinators and wedding planners have really different job descriptions. Knowing the difference between wedding pros can help you make the best decision for you and your partner.

Wedding planning can be stressful. Trying to plan one of the biggest events of your life while also managing work and everything else you have going is a lot to handle. Once you decide between a wedding coordinator or a wedding planner, you'll be able to focus on what is most important.

Just remember that no detail or decision is too small to get help with. Each wedding professional is there to support you in whatever way you need. 

If you’re looking to get connected with local wedding professionals, visit the registration page here to learn more about the 2022 Event Planner Expo.

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