Figuring out if you need a wedding planner OR coordinator will help you simplify wedding planning and allocate your budget appropriately!
It can be confusing to decide whether you need a wedding planner or coordinator. But I’m here to help you understand the differences and make the right choice!
Before we dive into the differences in planners and coordinators, it’s important to understand that you need someone helping you on the day of your wedding.
When you’re sipping champagne and preparing to marry the love of your life, the last thing you want to do is deal with a missing caterer. Your wedding should be about celebrating you and your love… not arranging flowers, paying vendors, or checking the lighting.
A great photographer will work with you to create a custom timeline for your photos (making sure you have a flexible timeline for a stress-free day is my jam!). But we can’t manage your vendors or direct the rest of your wedding day! You want your photographer to focus on capturing the emotions and gorgeous details of your day – not telling your DJ when to start the processional music.
Wedding Planner or Coordinator – What’s the Difference?
A wedding planner is typically a full-service vendor. You’ll usually start working with a planner towards the very beginning of the planning process, or at least 9-12 months in advance.
Planners help you choose vendors, connect you with great resources, and attend planning meetings with you, or even on your behalf.
You typically hire a planner based on a percentage of your wedding budget, with a minimum budget accepted.
A wedding coordinator, on the other hand, is less hands-on. While many coordinators of “day of” services, they typically will start working with you at least 30 days before your wedding.
Coordinators don’t help you hire vendors, but they do take over communication and confirmation of delivery or arrival once they come on board.
A coordinator will be on location to direct the flow of your wedding day. They solve problems that inevitably arise and make sure everyone is where they need to be throughout the day.
Just to be clear – many venues include a “venue coordinator” – but that is not the same thing as a wedding coordinator. The venue coordinator will make sure the venue guidelines and policies are followed and enforced, but they aren’t going to manage your personal timeline. (I know, that can be confusing! Make sure to ask your venue for clarification so you understand exactly what you’re getting!)
Do I Need a Planner or a Coordinator?
Now that we’ve covered the difference in the two vendors – we need to figure out who you need!
If you are super busy, easily overwhelmed, or not interested in wedding planning… working with a planner is for you.
If you want to choose your own vendors and just want someone to help with details on the big day… working with a coordinator is for you.
While a wedding planner can be a big expense, they can also save you time and stress. Wedding planners know people in the industry. They can hook you up with excellent vendors. And they handle all of the back-and-forth communication.
If the thought of an inbox full of vendor requests and calendar meetings makes you want to cry, you may want to reserve enough of your budget to work with a full-service planner.
Choosing to work with a wedding coordinator will also save you stress – especially on your wedding day. Make sure someone else can manage the logistics so you, your mom, and your bridal party can enjoy the experience.
Need help finding the right wedding planner or coordinator? Your wedding photographer has probably worked with a lot of wedding pros. We love recommending the best people we know.
I give my wedding clients all the inside info and tips! Questions about your planner or coordinator? Just ask!