WEDDING Planner, Wedding Coordinator, Venue Coordinator, Day of Coordinator... they are all the same right? WRONG.
So what exactly is a Wedding Planner and how is it different from a Wedding Coordinator or even a Venue Coordinator?
The Wedding Planner
A full service wedding planner is basically the first person you go to after the proposal. Set your date and your budget with your significant other and contact your preferred wedding planner. And that's it, just show up on the day of the wedding.
Ok not quite! You will need to work with the planner as we will need to plan the wedding according to what you want. However, the bulk of the planning now shifts to the chosen planner. Tell us the vision you have for your wedding and we will do all the running up and down - the site visits, vendor meetings, perusal of contracts and then present you with the best options based on your needs and of course, your budget.
We can help you select everything you need from the venue to the favours, assist with wedding etiquette and answer all your wedding related questions. Some even plan your honeymoon.
Some may argue that planners are too expensive or a waste of money, but do you know that planners can actually save you money? Because of the relationships that we planners have with various suppliers in the industry, we can negotiate special prices and discounts. Planners can also recommend the best in the industry so we can ensure that you are getting professionals who will deliver an excellent product or service and not disappoint.
The planner will also take on the role of wedding coordinator on the day of the wedding. So what does a wedding coordinator do?
The Wedding Coordinator
A wedding coordinator is also known as a "Day of Coordinator", a term which most coordinators cringe at because work does not actually begin on the day of the wedding. Some have even renamed it "Month of Coordinator". This is ideal for the couple who wants more input into the planning of their own wedding and wants that assistance on the day to pull everything off and ensure all goes well.
Our work doesn't start at 7am on the morning of the wedding. A coordinator meets with the couple ideally one month before the wedding, and has to be updated on all the wedding plans that the couple has already made. Who are the vendors booked? What do the contracts look like? What exactly is each vendor responsible for?
The coordinator must also be told the wedding colour scheme, theme, and other relevant details about the wedding. We now become the main contact person for the wedding and ensure that everyone does what they were contracted to do and that they run on time. Don't stress yourself on the day it's your special day! Leave all that potential stress to the coordinator.
But my venue has provided a coordinator so do I need a wedding coordinator?
Some venues, particularly hotels, have venue coordinators in their employ. Usually, this would be the person you would be in contact with at the venue, making all the necessary bookings and arrangements. These venues tend to offer a few services you would normally outsource at another venue, for example catering and bar, tables and chairs and sometimes the decorator or DJ and sound system. In that case, you coordinate these details with the venue coordinator and they are in charge of those services and ensuring that all their contracted providers perform on the day. But the venue coordinator is responsible for solely the venue's services. They will not be liaising with your limo provider or makeup artist to ensure they are running on time. Remember the venue coordinator is employed by the venue, which means that he or she may possibly leave the job or go on vacation before just before your wedding, having to hand over files to a new person who you now have to build rapport with all over again. However, if you hire a coordinator or a planner, you can be assured that we will be there until everything is over.
A new trend now is that other vendors in the wedding industry such as Decorators, Wedding Boutiques, Florists to name a few, now have added "Coordination Services" to their portfolios. From my experience, this simply means they have a list of recommended wedding suppliers and they can offer you wedding planning advice. So be sure to find out exactly what coordination services they offer and if they actually offer Day of Coordination as explained above.
Everyone wants the picture perfect fairytale wedding and do not want to be faced with the "What if's” on the day of the wedding and have to frantically find solutions to problems on the spot. It's your day leave the stress to the professionals who know how to deal with the situation.
Still not sure if to go with a wedding planner or a wedding coordinator? Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your budget? A wedding planner is a lot more costly than a coordinator so if your budget is a not very flexible, a coordinator may be the better option.
- Do you have the time? Do you have more than 3 - 5 hours a week to dedicate to wedding planning? If not a wedding planner would be the way to go.
- Do you know the right people? If you do not know many professional suppliers that you think you can trust for your wedding, don't randomly choose from the yellow pages or choose the one with the most likes on Facebook. Your best bet would be getting a planner.
- Do you have a knack for planning events and have a vision for your wedding? Then by all means plan yourself and have a coordinator for the day.
Carla Mendez-Ambris is the owner of Amber Marketing & Events and is a certified wedding planner and coordinator with over four years of wedding & event planning experience.