What is the difference between an independent wedding planner and an on-site venue coordinator?

Many brides and soon to be married couples don’t know the difference between an independent wedding planner and an on-site venue coordinator. While independent wedding planners and venue coordinators have some similarities they are certainly not the same, and unless you’re in the wedding industry the difference between the two can be confusing. To make sure you know exactly what each professional offers, we’ve put together a list of their dos and don’ts as well as their pros and cons. Read on for everything you need to know to determine which is best for your big day.

Venue Coordinator VS. Wedding Planner

Wedding planners and venue coordinators are both there to help make sure things go smoothly on your wedding day, but while wedding planners are known to go above and beyond, venue coordinators are often more limited.

Venue Coordinator

An On-site Venue Coordinator Does:

  • Provide a venue tour.
  • Book your wedding date.
  • Manage the venue.
  • Create a floor plan and manage decor set-up.
  • Make sure the kitchen is operating efficiently.
  • Handle logistics.
  • Make sure any service booked through the venue is maintained.
  • Provide vendor referrals.
  • Work multiple weddings in one night.
  • Know the ins and outs of the venue.

An On-site Venue Coordinator Doesn’t:

  • Help you plan every last detail.
  • Stay for the entire wedding.
  • Know what is supposed to happen every minute of your wedding.
  • Stay consistent (the venue coordinator you work with may not be the same one that is at your wedding).
  • Act as the main point of contact between you and your vendors.
  • Design your ceremony or reception.
  • Communicate with you constantly.
  • Make themselves available to you 24/7.
  • Get to know you personally.

Wedding Planner

A Wedding Planner Does:

  • Manage the venue.
  • Schedule and attend all your vendor meetings with you.
  • Work with you to stay within your budget.
  • Tailor decor set-up to meet your vision.
  • Work with you consistently from start to finish.
  • Manage your to-do list.
  • Manage your vendors and act as the main point of contact between you and all your vendors.
  • Organize events leading to your wedding day such as rehearsals.
  • Know exactly what is going to happen every minute of your wedding day.
  • Attend to the needs of the bridal party.
  • Communicate with you constantly.
  • Make themselves available to you 24/7.
  • Design your ceremony and reception.
  • Stay for the entire wedding.
  • Help you make major decisions.
  • Get to know you personally.
  • Take care of any last minute changes.

A Wedding Planner Doesn’t

  • Come included with a venue package.
  • Focus on the venue

The don’ts list for a venue coordinator is much longer than the dos, while for a wedding planner the opposite is true. The biggest difference between an on-site venue coordinator and an independent wedding planner is that venue coordinators take care of the big picture while wedding planners take care of every last detail. When you compare the two, a wedding planner does a lot more for your wedding than a venue coordinator, but a wedding planner also comes with an extra fee. If you’re still not sure which professional is best for you, take a look at the major pros and cons below.

The Pros and Cons

Venue Coordinator Pros

  • Comes with your venue package.
  • Is very familiar with the venue.
  • Is experienced with coordinating many weddings at the same venue.

Venue Coordinator Cons

  • Works for the venue.
  • Focuses on the venue.
  • Doesn’t create a personal connection.

Wedding Planner Pros

  • Works for you.
  • Focuses on making sure everything goes smoothly for you from start to finish, not just for the venue.
  • Creates a personal connection.
  • Is experienced with coordinating many weddings at different venues.

Wedding Planner Cons

  • Doesn’t come included with your venue package.

The Best Choice For You

Venue coordinators and wedding planners have a lot of overlapping tasks and skills, but the biggest takeaway is that an on-site venue coordinator works for the venue while an independent wedding planner works completely for you. A wedding planner is fully dedicated to everything you need from the moment you book them to the very end of your wedding. On the other hand, a venue coordinator’s biggest priority is to make sure everything goes smoothly for the venue, and they often won’t stay past your dinner reception. So how do you really know which to choose?

 

If you have family and friends who are heavily involved in your wedding and want to be a part of scheduling and planning then you might only need a venue coordinator. If you don’t have many people involved in your wedding and the stress of taking care of vendors and details yourself is too much, then a wedding planner might be the best choice. In the end it comes down to your specific wedding needs and now you have all the information you need to make the best choice for you.

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