Wedding Coordinator vs Wedding Planner: What’s The Difference?

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How To Choose Between a Wedding Planner vs a Wedding Coordinator

Kari of Feathered Arrow Events and Wedding Planning
Photo by: Simply Adri

When you first get engaged, there a million questions that run through your mind. (So much so, that I even have steps you should take when you first say “yes!”). Naturally, one of the biggest questions couples have is…how do we plan this wedding? And while looking for help, couples can get confused about whether they need a wedding coordinator or a wedding planner. Therefore, I wanted to break down the difference between a wedding coordinator vs a wedding planner to help you decide which option is best for you!

The “Day Of” Coordinator Myth

bride and groom cheers with champagne
Photo by: Rachel Stelter Photography

One of the biggest things I hear from couples starting the planning process is that they’re looking for a “day-of” coordinator. I’m not exactly sure how this phrase was started but it gives couples the completely wrong impression. Let me be clear: The concept of “Day-of” Coordinator is a myth. Someone cannot simply show up the day of your wedding and expect it to run smoothly. It just doesn’t work that way. If someone tells you they can, I can almost guarantee you’ll be disappointed. Planning your wedding takes time, communication and triple checking everything. If someone shows up that day, they won’t have any ideas about your layout, design preferences, or vendor needs. 

Wedding Venue Coordinator

minimalist autumn wedding at Triunfo Creek Vineyards with simple white fabric hanging from tree
Photo by: Rebecca Theresa Photography

Another thing I often hear from couples is that their venue offers a coordinator. This is absolutely wonderful if your venue offers this! However, what I will say is that a coordinator who works for the venue, is really only able to speak on behalf of the venue. While still extremely helpful, they want to make sure things run smoothly by the venue’s standards. It’s better to hire a coordinator or planner who is there for you as a couple. Someone who knows your story inside and out, your design preferences + can help troubleshoot any issues that arise. Also, the venue coordinator won’t be helping with all the other planning aspects that an outside coordinator can help with throughout the process. So be really clear on what that entails if the venue says they provide someone.

Wedding Coordinator

Intimate vineyard wedding reception at Roblar winery under market lights with blush pink and greenery
Photo by: Lauren and Jared Bowser

When you are considering hiring a wedding coordinator, you might also find that they call their service “wedding management”. A wedding coordinator is a great option for couples who are organized and looking to plan the bulk of their wedding themselves but you need someone to come in at the end to make sure everything is buttoned up. A wedding coordinator will offer some resources, if needed, but for the most part they’ll really dive in about 8 weeks out from the big day. A coordinator will review contracts + invoices, create timelines + floor plans, attend a final detail meeting at the venue and lastly, run the wedding rehearsal before the big day. 

Pro tip: You need to book a wedding coordinator as soon as possible because dates book up fast! Don’t wait until 2 months before your wedding to try and hire someone! 

Wedding Planner

Kari of Feathered Arrow Events with bride and groom at their spring wedding at Hotel Figueroa
Photo by: Photo by: Cheers Babe Photography

If you are the type of couple who really wants someone to take the lead on organizing your wedding, hire a wedding planner. Most planners offer some type of “partial” or “full” planning packages, it just depends on your needs. As a wedding planner, I not only take on all the duties of a coordinator, additionally I can help oversee your budget, find your vendor team, keep you on track with planning deadlines + design your day. Rather than starting closer to the wedding date, a wedding planner will jump in with you from day one! I like to offer my couples a ton of FREE resources and guides

I hope this helped you decide if coordinator vs planner was the right fit for you! No matter what you decide, I think the most important part is to hire a planner who is there for YOU! This is your wedding day! It should be everything you wanted + more. If you are ready to start your planning process, check out our different planning packages here and we can create a custom package to best fit your needs! 

PS friends – If you want to find out some wedding planning secrets, check out this blog post!


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Expert Party Planner, Podcaster, and Creative Entrepreneur.

I'm a creative entrepreneur at heart and have been running my business for over 10 years and have planned and executed over 150+ weddings. I'm an expert in this industry and care deeply about my clients and making sure they have the best experience. I just launched a podcast with my work wife, Gabby Pinkerton of Cause We Can Events, called Just Another Biz Podcast! Go check it out!

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