If Jennifer Lopez has taught us anything about weddings, it’s that being a wedding planner is an extremely fulfilling, fast-paced and romantic job (especially if a young Matthew McConnaughey is involved!). But, wedding planners aren’t the only people whose jobs fall into that category. Think day-of- you put together the show, but who’s running it?. Wedding coordinators are a very significant part of the wedding industry, and if you’ve started wedding planning you’ve probably come across the term and wondered what it means.
Luckily, we’re here to help you understand the difference between the two roles and, more importantly, help you decide which is the right option for you.
The difference between wedding planners + wedding coordinators
At their core, wedding coordinators and wedding planners are both concerned with the logistics of your wedding. From your wedding vendors to your wedding day decor and everything in between, coordinators and planners play a huge role in making sure your day runs smoothly.
However, the fundamental difference between them is timing. A wedding planner works with you as early as the day you get engaged to help choose vendors and venues, craft your invitations, create a guest list, design your decor aesthetic, and anything else you can think of that your day requires. They are very good at helping you stay on budget, negotiate contracts with vendors, and keeping you on track leading up to your wedding.
A wedding coordinator, on the other hand, is your go-to person on your wedding day to make sure that everything is happening when and how it should. As a result, they may only start to meet with you a few months before your wedding to iron out timeline details, confirm vendor contact information, and tie up any loose ends that you might have missed during the planning process. You have planned your vision, a coordinator will execute it. All of your plans come together on your wedding day, when they become your go-to person for making sure everyone knows where they need to be and when.
Since wedding coordinators are so heavily involved with wedding day logistics, it’s not uncommon for them to work directly with a venue. Take Cellar52 and The Timber Barn, for example (convenient, right?). Both a part of The Stella Collective, these venues include for their couples a day-of coordinator who works with them during the four months leading up to the big day- focusing on quite literally everything. These services are included in their venue rental, making it an incredible value-add that makes getting married with them even sweeter. You shouldn’t have to budget this- it's just as important to the venue that your day runs smoothly- a coordinator is a no brainer. If you are an MO (mother-of) we hear your sigh of relief.
Wedding planners + wedding coordinators at a glance
Still not sure who to choose? Here’s a summary of what you can expect from both planners and coordinators as you navigate wedding planning.
Part of every stage of planning, likely before a venue is selected
Recommend vendors & services and request quotes on your behalf
Attend site visits, tastings, and other vendor meetings
Help create & stick to a budget
Can help make decisions around aesthetics, design, and wedding peripherals
Colour stories & wedding vision to life and presents options
Coordinates transportation & accommodations if required
Run rehearsal walkthroughs
Timeline development for the day(s) before until “I do”
Handles day-of emergencies outside of venue
Execute day-of logistics outside of venue
Higher price tag for services
Often work with a venue directly
Day-of timeline development before and after “i do”
Begin heavy involvement 3 or 4 months prior to your wedding
Give you creative freedom to make all aesthetic & design choices
Recommend vendors & services
Run rehearsal walkthroughs
Executes final walkthrough of venue & ceremony space
Handles day-of emergencies at the venue
Execute day-of logistics in close connection with your venue
Organizes and coordinated vendors day-of
Venue set up and layout.
Experts at finer details like seating charts, floor plans, & event timelines
Choosing a planner or a coordinator: there’s no right answer
If it’s within your budget, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to deciding whether you need to hire a wedding planner or a wedding coordinator. At the end of the day, both have your best interests in mind and just want to see you and your fiance happily married! Just make sure you don’t have to life a finger on your wedding day.
Still considering your options? Download our handy-dandy wedding planners and wedding coordinators cheat sheet for easy reference as you decide which is best for you!