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One of the most frequent questions we get is: what is the difference between a full-service wedding planner and a day-of coordinator?
In today's wedding industry, these titles often are being loosely or used and we know it gets confusing. We're here to educate you on the differences, because it is important to know where the services and roles differ so you get the services you want and need! We also know that hiring a wedding planner / coordinator is an important financial investment and considering factor in your wedding budget so it's best to be well-informed before you make a decision.
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FULL-SERVICE WEDDING PLANNER
Hiring a full-service wedding planner is ideal if you’re a time-strapped couple who wants to let a pro handle all the tiny and not-so-tiny details from “Yes” to “I Do”. This person is experienced in all areas of the wedding. It is their responsibility to guide the couple through the entire process professionally. Wedding planners are ultimately your support system every step of the way throughout your planning process. Think of a wedding planner as your new best friend. This person has no other job but to make sure your wedding is exactly what you want it to be. Wedding planners are known for their incredible organisation and multi-tasking skills as well as their attention to detail.
A wedding planner would actually get to know the personal style of the couple, along with their vision for the wedding. They work with them to find the best venue and vendors that will help make the couple’s wedding vision become a reality. It is the wedding planner’s duty to ensure that the theme and colour palette of the wedding is reflected throughout the celebration, starting from the style of the invitations, to the ceremony and reception flowers, the table place settings, the music, the food, and even the wedding dress.
Most planners can suggest ideas to customise your wedding and make it uniquely your own, as well as share their expertise on wedding etiquette and advise as needed. They look at the overall logistics, acting as a liaison between you and the venue, sorting out the details and helping put together a realistic itinerary for the entire day. Most importantly, your wedding planner’s first responsibility is to the two of you. She will be onsite on your wedding day, acting on your behalf to look after everything from start to finish!
One of the main reasons couples hire a wedding planner is for the peace of mind you will have at your wedding. You will be able to relax and enjoy your big day knowing that your wedding planner, who has been working along with side you every step of the way, is there to manage things and make sure all of the vendors are working together to bring your dream wedding to life!
When you choose to hire a wedding planner might vary, but theoretically, they are the person you call shortly after you get engaged and after you figure out a general budget.
Wedding Planner Duties
Generally puts in 80 to 250 hours.
Helps determine and manage your budget.
Provides vendor referrals and negotiates contracts; schedules and attends all vendor meetings and venue site tours.
Creates detailed timelines and floor plans.
Propose/discuss style ideas and coordinates design details.
Coordinates hotel room bookings and transportation.
Manages the rehearsal.
Oversees everything on the wedding day (making sure everyone follows to the timeline, handles mishaps, manages vendors, and executes your vision on-site).
Hire a Wedding Planner If...
You have no clue where to start when it comes to planning, and your organizational skills aren't great.
You have the budget for it.
You want the least possible amount of wedding stress.
You have little to no free time because of a demanding job.
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MONTH/DAY OF COORDINATOR
Hiring a month of coordinator is ideal if you’ve already planned your perfect day but you’d love some extra support on the actual day. Although it is often called 'day-of coordination', this service is actually a ‘month-of coordination’ because this is actually what ‘day of coordinating’ encompasses; at least a month of work leading up to the wedding day.
A wedding coordinator essentially has a leadership and organisation role over all wedding vendors, details and wedding-day tasks. Their sole responsibility is to manage and oversee the running of your wedding day itself. Unlike a wedding planner, they aren’t involved in any of the pre-wedding preparation like booking vendors or managing contracts. A wedding coordinator will step in around one month before the day and work with you in this final lap of your wedding preparation journey.
Wedding Coordinator Duties
Puts in approximately 25 hours.
Meets with you four to eight weeks before the wedding to find out what you've planned thus far.
Checks in with your vendors to review the signed contracts and confirm logistics.
Creates detailed timelines and floor plans.
Completes a final walk-through of the ceremony and reception sites.
Addresses any easily overlooked details.
Manages the rehearsal.
Oversees everything on the wedding day
Hire a Wedding Coordinator If...
You want to play the main role in planning your wedding but would like someone to take care of the last-minute details and make sure you haven't missed anything.
You're extremely organized and detail-oriented.
You don't have the budget for a full-service wedding planner.
Image credit: Andri Tei
BONUS: WEDDING VENUE COORDINATOR
A venue wedding coordinator is responsible for coordinating details about your actual event at the venue itself. They may offer some advice along the way, but they are not your wedding planner. They also won’t be responsible for setting up any additional items not included in your package (for example – centrepieces, flowers, place cards, signage, and another decor). In contrast, your wedding planner is responsible for managing all of the details of your entire wedding. It is unrealistic to expect a venue wedding coordinator to take on the same responsibilities as a wedding planner.
In some venues, such as hotels, one person will manage things leading up to the wedding, and then pass the reins to an event banquet event manager.
The responsibilities of a venue coordinator can vary depending on the venue, but generally include:
Managing and coordinating all services offered onsite (for example, food and beverage service or in-house furniture selections)
Coordinating venue staff
Giving vendors access to your venue and managing deliveries and pick-ups
If you are thinking of hiring a professional wedding planner or coordinator, we’re here to help! Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org