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Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner

“I won’t need a wedding planner after all, my venue has a day-of coordinator”. This is a common response wedding planners hear from couples who are planning their big day. While a venue coordinator is certainly valuable (I myself have worked with some great ones on my clients’ wedding days) there is a misconception that with a venue coordinator, you are getting a free wedding planner and that a professional wedding planner is therefore not worth the extra investment. This is unfortunately untrue, as there are so many significant differences between the role of a venue coordinator and that of a professional wedding planner.

For starters, venue coordinators are employed by the venue, which means their main priorities are insuring that the deliverables in the contract you have signed with them are carried out. This can include menu tastings, ensuring tables and chairs are set up correctly on the wedding day, and that the meal is served on time. If you choose to set out escort cards, favours or a candy table, this is not generally something they would take care of, and this is the last thing you want to be thinking about (or doing yourself!) on your wedding day.

Something else to consider – since a venue coordinator is employed by the venue, if the individual you have been liaising with for a year or more prior to your wedding leaves their job, a different coordinator would need to be assigned to your wedding. This can create unnecessary stress and frustration as you have to essentially to start from scratch with them to make sure no details you have already discussed with the previous coordinator are missed.

On the other hand, once you hire a professional wedding planner, their sole focus is YOU – from beginning to end, and everything in between. It is our job to make sure the planning process is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible, and that your wedding day goes off without a hitch.

If you’ve hired your wedding planner from the beginning, he or she will get to know you well. They will be aware of your likes and dislikes, you will have discussions about your worries for the day, and your planner can preemptively deal with these concerns. A wedding planner can save you time, money, and the headaches involved in trying to research and select the best vendors for you. They can provide recommendations of vendors that will be the best fit for your budget and personalities, and you can rest assured that the recommendations are based on merit only, as WPIC certified planners do not take kickbacks. In fact, often vendors will pass along a discount directly to the couple if a planner refers them.

Whether you have hired your wedding planner for full planning or just month-of coordination, he or she will meet with you approximately 4-6 weeks prior to your wedding date to go over every single detail of the day, personally confirm arrival times with each of your vendors (and will also have a list of key contact numbers with them on the day), and create your detailed wedding day itinerary.

On the day, your wedding planner will ensure the timeline you’ve agreed upon is adhered to by the venue and vendors, give you cues when it is time to walk down the aisle, make your grand entrance, cut the cake, make speeches, and more.

Unlike a wedding planner, a venue coordinator will not be on site to coordinate your ceremony rehearsal, and most often if you are not getting married in a church, neither will your officiant unless you pay a hefty additional fee. Nor will they be, on your wedding day, able to run to the store for extra picture frames when it turns out you forgot to buy enough for your table numbers, reach into their emergency kit for extra pins when the father of the groom’s boutonniere breaks, come to the rescue of a guest with an upset stomach, or just minutes before you are about to walk down the aisle, sprint back to the bridal suite to retrieve your oh-so-sweet but temperamental flower girl’s tutu that she previously refused to put on, but has now decided she will wear. Yes, these are all actual scenarios I have dealt with myself!

At the end of the day, a wedding planner is more than someone who you sign a contract with to execute your big day. They are your confidante, your sounding board, your gut-check as you navigate the often overwhelming process of wedding planning. Wedding planning can easily become a full-time job of its own, many times overshadowing the joy and excitement of what should be the best time in your life (you’re ENGAGED!). Hiring a professional wedding planner can put your mind at ease knowing we’ve got this, so you can truly enjoy this milestone in your life.