What’s the difference between a venue coordinator & a wedding planner?


Understanding the difference between a wedding venue coordinator and a wedding coordinator (or wedding planner) can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary frustration. Because the names of the two roles sound very similar, you’ll be forgiven for assuming that they perform the same function. It’s an easy mistake to make. And a common one, too. In fact, many brides mistakenly think that if their wedding venue offers a free on site co-ordinator, they don’t need the services of wedding coordinator at all. You might be tempted to do the same, especially to save on costs. But there’s a good chance that you could end up frustrated and stressed out on your wedding day when the venue coordinator fails to “perform”.

In short, the venue coordinator is coordinating between yourself and the venue staff only.  Unfortunately it is often mistakenly assumed that the poor venue coordinator is going to help set up your decor, liase between your third-party vendors and act as a general overseer on the day. When this doesn’t happen, the coordinator ends up getting a bad rap, being blamed for not performing duties that were actually not part of her responsibilities at all. And the bride spends her wedding day freaking out because nothing is happening as it “should”.

What a wedding venue coordinator does:

Here’s what you can expect from your venue coordinator in most cases:

Your venue coordinator essentially works for the venue. He or she is there to be the point of contact between the bride and the venue staff. She is there to make sure that basic venue facilities, as agreed upon explicitly and contractually, are available to you and your guests.

Your venue coordinator might be working on multiple weddings that day. A super important fact to bear in mind is that if you are getting married at a venue that hosts multiple weddings over a weekend, or even multiple weddings in a day, the venue coordinator is not going to be focused solely on you until all other weddings at the venue have ended. That means that if you’re having an evening reception at a venue which is hosting a morning wedding too, your venue coordinator is going to be on-site overseeing the first morning wedding until its reception ends, possibly mid-afternoon. He or she will likely NOT be available for questions or assistance until then, and you might become super stressed wondering why your decor has not yet been unpacked

What a wedding venue coordinator does not do:

These are the things that your venue coordinator is most likely not going to oversee:

The venue coordinator is not going to set up your wedding decor. They might make a room available for you to store your decor, but they’re not going to make your tables look beautiful or add your ruffled chair covers or even place the cute favours you painstakingly decided upon at each place setting.

The venue coordinator is not going to oversee that outside vendors do their job.

The venue coordinator is not going to assist you with your dress fittings, hair, make-up selection and bridesmaid’s attire.

The venue coordinator is not going to make sure that your carefully plotted wedding timeline is adhered to. With the exception of deliverables that the venue is explicitly providing, such as serving of meals and access to the agreed upon areas, the venue coordinator is not obligated to make sure that things are happening smoothly and according to schedule.

The venue coordinator is not going to help with unforseen issues that arise on the day.


The Wedding Planner

In contrast, the wedding planner works for the bride and groom, therefore he/she represents your wishes. The wedding planner is there every, single step of the way from the initial planning stages i.e. visiting venue options with you and reviewing contracts to wedding day preparation from conducting a rehearsal to confirming details with other contracted vendors. The wedding planner ensures that you get what your venue’s contracts states along with what ALL your other vendors promised to deliver (cake, DJ, stationary, etc.). This also goes for “Day/ Month of Wedding Coordinator” personally hired by you. While they may appear a month out before the event date, they work exclusively for you!

Wedding planners are concerned with whether you are keeping with your timeline so you don’t go over your allotted time and incur additional charges. If you need help reviewing contracts, we are there. If there are any questions from other vendors like the photographer or videographer, we have an answer. If you see stars from all the Pinterest board ideas out there, we are your voice of reason. If your dress has a rip, we have a sewing kit handy. We are there so you, your family and friends can truly enjoy one of the most special days in your life.

Think of us as your very own project manager, in charge of your entire wedding. We are also your mediator, an objective point of view, friend or a shoulder to lean on. A lot of individual attention is given to a bride and groom since a boutique wedding planning company might deal with 15 weddings a year while a venue and its coordinators easily do three times that amount.

Now don’t be fooled. This is not meant to demean the role of on-site venue coordinators. They are a valuable asset to the wedding planning process and planner thoroughly enjoy liasing with them themselves. But its important that couples understand what they are getting into, avoiding hardship, frustration and disappointment come crunch time! Take time to consider your needs and concerns and weigh your options accordingly.

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