What's the Difference Between a Venue Coordinator and a Wedding Planner?
Updated: Jun 3
Does your wedding venue include a wedding coordinator? Couples are often confused about the difference between the venue's wedding coordinator and an external wedding planner. And no one can blame you, whoever knew it was so complicated! We’re going to explain the common misconceptions between the two, so you can relax and know that everything will be taken care of.
Couples often imagine their venue coordinator will look after the whole planning process and be by their side the whole day. In this case, why would you hire an outside planner when the venue is giving you one for free? But it's worth being aware that they have very different roles.
So, what will I get from my venue?
Venues are usually broken down into sales coordinators, wedding coordinators and operations teams.
Usually, your sales coordinator will deal with your initial enquiry, show-round and booking. They will know everything there is to know about the venue, but their goal is to try and sell the venue to you. Sometimes, in smaller venues or hotels, the sales coordinator and the wedding coordinator are the same person, in which case you'll get one point of contact in the lead-up to your big day.
The role of your venue wedding coordinator is to make all arrangements at the venue in the lead up to your wedding day, including catering, timings and set up requirements. They'll be an expert when it comes to weddings at their venue, so they'll be able to answer any logistical questions you may have, as well as providing guidance and advice for how your day should run.
Finally, your operations team will run your big day. Whilst your venue coordinator may be present, the operations team are well-rehearsed in making sure everything is set up perfectly and that the day runs to your timings. They'll be the ones serving your food and directing your suppliers to the right place.
So what are the key differences between in-house venue coordinators and wedding planners?
On the day responsibilities:
A venue coordinator will oversee the parts of the day that are provided by your venue, such as catering, layout, and linen, making sure everything happens perfectly. On the other hand, a wedding planner will oversee ALL aspects of the wedding, making sure no corners are cut and all suppliers are on time, in place and everything is running smoothly. Your wedding planner's only purpose on the day is to make sure everything is perfect for you so they’ll be paying much closer attention to detail to ensure the day is exactly how you imagine.
A venue coordinator will oversee the parts of the day that are provided by your venue, such as catering, layout, and linen, making sure everything happens perfectly. On the other hand, a wedding coordinator will oversee ALL aspects of the wedding, making sure no corners are cut and all suppliers are on time, in place and everything is running smoothly. Your wedding planner's only purpose on the day is to make sure everything is perfect for you so they’ll be paying much closer attention to detail to ensure the day is exactly how you imagine.
A venue coordinator may provide you a list of preferred suppliers which usually pay commission to be on the list. These have often worked at the venue before, but won't be tailored to your taste or budget. However, a wedding planner will get to know you and help bring to life every detail of your big day exactly how you imagine it, researching the perfect suppliers and presenting you with multiple options and prices for your budget.
Pre wedding meetings:
You may meet with your venue coordinator 2 or even 3 times in the lead up to your wedding to update them on your plans. A wedding planner will meet many more times before the wedding and will always be available to discuss your ideas and plans. They may also come with you to meet with suppliers and attend menu tastings, to provide guidance and advice. Your wedding planner will take care of all of your payments, contracts, logistics, wedding tasting, accommodation, rehearsals and even your budget, making it much smoother process - so you get to enjoy all of the fun parts of planning a wedding!
Your venue coordinator may have hundreds of couples to look after at any one time, as well as other venue responsibilities. On the day, they will also have other distractions, whether these be other events taking place or emails to get back to, although their main responsibility will be looking after your wedding. On the other hand, your wedding planner will only take on a handful of couples a year, and will therefore have much more time for you. You may also find your venue coordinator will be unavailable for whole days or multiple days in a row during busy periods, as they are actively running weddings away from their desk.
Your venue coordinator will provide you with a schedule for your day which details everything happening with the venue such as arrival time, food service and first dance etc. Your wedding planner will assemble a much more extensive schedule for you, starting from when the bride wakes up until the end of the night. All suppliers and other persons involved receive a copy, ensuring everyone is where they should be and when.
Styling and design:
Your venue coordinator will not help with any styling or design of your wedding as this isn't their role. Your wedding planner is much more hands on, and will sit with you to design and create your dream wedding, discussing colour palettes, mood boards and bringing lots of inspiration and expertise. Be aware that every wedding planner has a distinct style so whilst they may offer ideas and themes, it’s important to check your wedding planner's experience before hiring them to make sure they align with your taste.
Hiring a wedding planner will save you time scrolling for hours to find what you’re looking for, as well as a great deal of stress! They will make the day run smoothly with professional suppliers and no hiccups. If you're unsure, always check with your venue to find out what they will handle so that you know what else there is to take care of.
Contact us if you would like to find out more about our full wedding planning service.