If you are recently engaged and starting to plan your wedding, you may have heard the term "Wedding Planner" which most people are familiar with. What you may not have heard of until recently is "Venue Coordinator." Usually this term comes about while you are starting to look at venues for your wedding. Many venues have Venue Coordinators that can help with some aspects of your wedding, however, their role is different than a traditional Wedding Planner. To help with any confusion, here is an explanation of each to help clarify in more detail how they differ and to help you decide what is best for you!
Many people think a Wedding Planner and Venue Coordinator are the same. This is not the case. Their differences are in their job descriptions and in their involvement in your wedding day.
A Venue Coordinator acts on behalf of the venue. They generally are the person you would speak to initially when discussing having your wedding at a particular venue. They have specific responsibilities such as giving you a tour of the property, discussing set up options, providing pricing and checking date availability. They are there to address your questions and concerns pertaining to the venue.
After a contract is signed, the Venue Coordinator works with you to discuss the overall layout for your ceremony and reception, organizes a menu tasting if they are providing the food for your wedding, and acts as a liaison between you and the on-site staff. They will let you know the rules of the venue and what is or is not allowed, recommend a list of preferred vendors that have been pre-approved and keep track of your payments for reserving the space.
At the wedding, Venue Coordinators are responsible for making sure everything is set up correctly, that you have enough tables and chairs, ensure there are enough staff scheduled to assist with set up as well as overseeing the meal service. The Venue Coordinator may or may not stay for your entire event. Often during the reception the Banquet Manager is left in charge to handle the remainder of the event and oversee the venue staff once the Venue Coordinator leaves. Their time with you can be limited due to their set working hours as an employee of the venue.
A Wedding Planner is hired by the couple to assist in planning the details of the wedding from start to finish. They can vary in their level of experience and service, however their main focus is making sure the wedding day runs smoothly and is what you expected or better! They have your best interest in mind and will be there to guide you in the planning process as much as you need. Many can help from the very start by helping research and select a venue, choosing a color scheme, referring vendors and managing all the logistics of the day. They will know every aspect of your wedding so that they are well prepared to handle any situation that may arise and in many cases, work along side the Venue Coordinator which can be a very valuable partnership.
The Wedding Planner will be very focused on the details that you put into the wedding day. They will set out personal items such as your place cards, favors, photographs, guest book, toasting glasses, programs and any other decor for the ceremony and reception. In addition, they will ensure you receive these items back and that everything is accounted for at the end of the night. Their day will likely begin in the morning and end after the guests are gone and the rest of the vendors have all left.
During the wedding the Wedding Planner will make sure that the timeline is being followed closely so that everything happens where and when it is supposed to. They will assist with managing the vendors as they arrive at the venue making sure they are on time and ready to go when they should be and will also be the main point of contact to direct your guests and respond to any questions or concerns. They can help resolve any issues that may arise and check in with the couple to make sure they are taken care of before, during and after the wedding has ended.
Having a Wedding Planner can save you a lot of valuable time. If you are having a destination wedding in an unfamiliar place, need help researching or narrowing down venue options, or are just not sure where to look for reputable wedding vendors, investing in a Wedding Planner may be the solution for you. You and your Wedding Planner will work together and have a very close relationship throughout the planning process leading up to the wedding. They will be there to run ideas by, ask questions and put your mind at ease helping you make decisions that are focused on your vision and keeping in line with your personal style, budget and the overall experience you want to create.
Both the Venue Coordinator and Wedding Planner play valuable roles in making sure you have the best experience you can. A good Venue Coordinator and Wedding Planner will go above and beyond to see that you and your guests are treated well, have a great time and enjoy every minute of your wedding day!
Photos courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
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Image: Danielle Honea Phototography
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.