One of the first considerations many couples will make for their wedding is whether they will hire a wedding planner or wedding coordinator to help with their event planning and wedding day event management. But what exactly is a wedding planner or wedding coordinator, are they the same thing, or what is the difference? The short answer, is that a wedding planner and wedding coordinator are different services and both offer a lot of value that should be considered by engaged couples. There are some wedding professionals that only offer full service wedding planning and other event providers that only offer wedding coordination services. As a wedding and event planning company, we work with couples in the Washington, DC region for both their wedding planning and wedding coordination needs. We get asked all the time about the difference between wedding planning vs. wedding coordination and are sharing the differences below:
Wedding Planning vs. Wedding Coordination, Real Wedding at Hotel Monaco, DC Wedding Planner Bright Occasions, Photography by Egomedia
Wedding Planner – Also known as an event planner, a wedding planner is someone who works with a client on all aspects of planning their wedding. They are able to help with setting a budget, finding the venue, hiring all vendors, and helping the client to stay on track of all important planning tasks from the engagement to the wedding day. Many wedding planners also offer event design services (note: Event Designer is another category below). Wedding planners who specialize in design may create decor plans and implement, while others would bring in decor partners to execute. The wedding planner is the central person involved with supporting their clients needs and bringing in all of the necessary partners to work on the event, keeping everyone organized and ultimately making sure the wedding day all goes as planned. They should be someone who is an expert in their field and able to provide their clients with information and insight on all areas of the wedding.
Wedding Planning vs. Wedding Coordination, Real Wedding at Hotel Monaco, DC Wedding Planner Bright Occasions, Photography by Kristen Gardner Photography
Wedding Coordinator – Also known as an event coordinator, a wedding coordinator fits the definition of coordination pretty closely. Definition, Coordination: “the organization of the different elements of a complex body or activity so as to enable them to work together effectively.” A wedding coordinator helps a client to organize the different elements of the wedding day so that everything flows smoothly. They are not involved with the hiring other wedding professionals and don’t typically help with overall wedding planning areas. Many wedding coordinators will start working with clients over the final month to help create the wedding day timeline, communicate the important logistics details with the other team of wedding professionals and then ultimately implement the plans (the client has already made) on the wedding day. There are many who ask about “day-of coordination“, which literally implies that a coordinator steps in on the wedding day to help execute. We believe this service does little to no purpose and should be avoided. In order for a wedding coordinator to really know all of the details in advance, they should start working with a client before the actual wedding day.
Wedding Planning vs. Wedding Coordination, Real Wedding at Hotel Monaco, DC Wedding Planner Bright Occasions, Photography by Victoria Ruan Photography
Event Designer – There are some who use this title mutually with event planning or wedding planning, but it is often a separate service. An event designer is someone who is involved with the conception and implementation of the creative vision of the wedding. Similar to an interior designer, an event designer may help to create the color palette, style direction and provide input for which details to incorporate. Event designers may also provide floral decor, rental decor, props and other design areas that a couple could include. Bright Occasions (and other DC area wedding planners) offers event design services and some couples may choose to work with a wedding planner who includes event design as a part of their planning services.
Wedding Planning vs. Wedding Coordination, Real Wedding at Hotel Monaco, DC Wedding Planner Bright Occasions, Photography by With Love and Embers
Venue Coordinator – A venue coordinator is someone who is employed by the event space to oversee areas of the space being used on the wedding or event day by the client. A venue coordinator is typically not a replacement for a wedding coordinator or wedding planner. But they will work with the entire wedding vendor team to make sure the venue spaces are being used properly, venue rules are being followed and may act as a liaison for guests for questions related to the event space. Some venues provide food and rentals, and in these instances, the event coordinator or event manager (as they are often titled) will also oversee areas related to food service and the event space set-up of chairs, tables, place settings, etc.
Wedding Planning vs. Wedding Coordination, Real Wedding at Hotel Monaco, DC Wedding Planner Bright Occasions, Photography by Emily Clack Photography
Whether a couple decides to hire a wedding planner or wedding coordinator may ultimately be based on what areas they feel they need the most help with for their wedding. Budget can also play a role in whether a wedding planning or wedding coordination service is best. When interviewing potential wedding service providers, I advise couples to share what areas of struggle they are facing for the wedding and discuss services that may fit their needs. For more information on working with Bright Occasions for DC area wedding planning or coordination, please see our services page.