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  • Tracy Fink

Wedding Planner vs Venue Coordinator

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

Photo by Natasha Fernandez

You just chose your venue and they say they have an in-house coordinator or your DJ tells you for a few dollars more, he will be your wedding planner, does that mean you should still hire a Certified Wedding Planner? 

The answer is ABSOLUTELY! 

The next logical question is, “Why?  What’s the difference?”

There are some distinct differences between a venue coordinator, a vendor that will also help the day of and a Certified Wedding Planner and it’s important to understand what the roles are for each.

1. Location:

Venue Coordinator- It’s simple, their responsibility is everything that deals with their location such as the tables, chairs, linens, food, wait staff, kitchen etc.  They will make sure those items run smoothly based on your discussions and planning that is done in advance but nothing more.

Other Vendor -  Very little is done with assisting with the venue. They will assume what you discussed with the venue is what was done.

Wedding Planner- They are responsible for making sure everything with the venue is what you requested.  That includes layout, color scheme, food choices, in addition to making sure the vendors also have everything they need as well.  For example, your DJ gets to the venue and needs a table and linen.  The Wedding Planner makes sure not only is everything the way you want it, but also the way the vendors need it to make your wedding a success.

2. Vendors:

Venue Coordinator- Most venues will provide a list of preferred vendors that they work with but that will be the extent of what they will handle.

Other Vendor – They might provide a list of preferred vendors that they enjoy working with or are more likely friends with, but they won’t assist in working through the logistics with them.

Wedding Planner - Your wedding planner is an unbiased resource for vendors.  Based on experience, budget, style, availability, etc, your wedding planner will make recommendations and will schedule and attend your meetings with your vendors. They are the main point of contact between you and your vendors.  That means on the day of your wedding, if a vendor is lost or running late or is having an emergency, they’ll contact your wedding planner who will then put out the fire. They are also responsible for looking over the contracts to make sure everything has been discussed that could potentially effect the day of your wedding.

3. Timeline:

Venue Coordinator- A venue coordinator’s responsibility is to have a timeline in place for their catering staff.  It will include the timing of when the Hors d’Oeuvres and meal are set out, when the bar opens and closes and possibly when the cake is being cut.  There is no input as to the rest of the day.

Other Vendor – Depending on what the vendor’s main responsibility is, they could assist with the flow of the evening.  For example, if your DJ is acting as your wedding planner as well, they will be able to keep you on track for events such as the first dance and bouquet toss.  There won’t be any assistance, however, with the wedding prior to their service starting such as when will vendors be arriving.  Also, depending on the vendor, such as a DJ or Photographer, they will be making sure their primary responsibility is being addressed first and assisting with the timeline and flow, second.

Wedding Planner - The wedding planner’s timeline details all aspects of the day from the time that the bride wakes up to the moment that the reception ends.   There is so much more to a wedding planner’s timeline than when vendors arrive and when is the first dance.  A Certified Wedding Planner’s timeline outlines every detail of the entire day. There are so many logistics that go into a well orchestrated wedding and it’s your planner’s responsibility to have that spelled out for everyone involved.

4. Communication:

Venue Coordinator – Unfortunately you are not their only client.  You are more than likely one of at least 50 brides which means delayed responses to phone calls and emails, confusion at times as to what you talked about last, changes in staffing and finally only being able to catch them during business hours.

Other Vendor –  Their communication with you will begin right before the event as their responsibility is to their primary function such as music selection if a DJ or a shot list if a photographer.

Wedding Planner – A good wedding planner is always available.  That means if you have a question or an idea, your wedding planner will want to hear it when you want to share it.  They are also a good non-emotionally involved ear.  There will be times when someone (mother-in-law, fiancé, sister) gets on your nerves or makes suggestions that you don't like.  It’s nice to have someone who is involved in the entire wedding but is not emotionally involved in the situation to be able to talk through things with. 


5. Décor/Design:

Venue Coordinator – They’re not involved with designing your wedding at all outside of layout of tables or linen color.

Other Vendor – They have no interest in assisting with décor or design.

Wedding Planner – Your wedding planner will assist in design and décor based on what you envision.  That can include everything from layout, color schemes, flowers, drapery, lighting, etc. Your wedding planner is also in charge of things such as where do you put your seating chart, photos of loved ones, signage and other items that are not handled by other vendors.

6.  Budget:

Venue Coordinator – They will not assist with anything budget related other than their location/catering costs.

Other Vendor – Their only interest is with the cost of their service.

Wedding Planner – Your wedding planner will keep you on track as to what you should spend based on your overall budget.  Do you know if $3000 for a photographer is a good price?  Depends on your overall budget.  Who do you know that has the experience to give you accurate advice on what things cost?

Brides, don’t make the mistake of thinking the venue coordinator or one of your other vendors can replace a Certified Wedding Planner.  You will find that on your important day that not everything is being handled as it should be which WILL cause increased stress on you and those around you.  Hire a professional!

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