Wedding Planners vs Event Planners and Coordinators – What’s the Difference?
If you’re not in the industry – or at least have a lot of experience planning large-scale events – you probably don’t realize that there are many different kinds of event planners, and they all specialize in different things. Knowing those differences (and knowing what you can reasonably expect from them) can make or break your wedding planning experience.
A wedding planner is a kind of event planner, but not all event planners are wedding planners. Event planners don’t specialize in weddings, but rather work on broader large scale events, like corporate functions and parties. While they can definitely help plan a wedding, event planners aren’t necessarily up to date on the best local vendors and wedding practices. It’s important to remember that if your venue has built-in event planning, the person you could work with has many different kinds of events to plan, and you won’t be her top priority. Also, she is planning from a perspective of what’s best for the venue, and could be working from a preferred list of vendors that has arranged special arrangements with the venue for preferential treatment.
Day-Of Venue Coordinators
These people are employed by a venue and will work with you only on the part of your wedding that takes place at that venue. Things like hotel pickups, transportation and rental returns aren’t part of their job, so all of those details will still fall to you. A venue coordinator is basically a traffic manager for all of the vendors you’ll hire yourself, so if the flowers aren’t being set up the way you wanted them to be, the coordinator probably won’t know. While they’re very helpful to do running around and coordinating on-site, that coordination will really only be with their own staff, and the timeline they create will only be about food and beverage service. Even if your venue includes a person like this, you might decide to hire extra help. This person and a wedding planner can work together very well – but what you’re getting from a coordinator will be very limited, even if the venue uses that person’s service as a selling point.
Full Service Wedding Planners
A wedding planner can help you from the very beginning of the process, and is an advocate for you and your wedding, not for other vendors or venues. She has your vision and budget in mind, and works to ensure that you are top priority for the day. Because she specializes in planning only weddings, her knowledge of themes, decor and catering will be much bigger than an event planner’s. She’ll make sure the DJ has the right playlist, and that the place cards and favors are set out in the way you envisioned – and if things get a little off schedule, she can make adjustments to the timeline and coordinate all of that with the vendors and staff. A wedding planner’s services can also include an engagement party, showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties, and can make sure all of the events work together. And maybe most importantly, a wedding planner can help with family questions and matters of wedding etiquette in a way that event planners and wedding coordinators cannot.