Wedding Planner vs Wedding Coordinator Vs Venue Coordinator (Part Three) / by Laurie Cohen

We are frequently asked to speak about the differences between awedding planner and venue coordinator in Arizona.   Since we originally blogged about some of the differences we have had a huge response to our post, and have added on to it on occasion.  Today, by popular demand we are adding a "Part Three" and include the distinction between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator. 

Often times couples question whether or not they need BOTH a venue coordinator AND a wedding planner or coordinator.  There are occasional exceptions but as a rule the answer is a resounding "YES!"

We have discussed that venues can vary quite a bit in the services that they provide to a couple before and on their wedding day.  At resorts, restaurants that regularly host weddings, and country clubs, your venue coordinator is most often a representative of the Catering Sales/Service team and will help you arrange for the food and beverage portion of the wedding. They may also facilitate the use of ceremony elements like any available chairs, banquet tables and often water or refreshment.  For reception, this individual will work with couples to schedule your menu tasting and ensure that your food and beverage choices are delivered on wedding day.

A wedding coordinator is a fabulous creature you will hire to coordinate the final approach to your wedding. The wedding coordinator has not planned your wedding, but she or her will take over, (usually about 30 days before the big day) and take all of the vendor coordination off your hands.  This may involve:

  • Directing your rehearsal
  • Reviewing your wedding contracts with you
  • Making recommendations about wedding day details
  • Creating your vendor timeline
  • Creating your wedding party timeline
  • Making sure your vendor team knows what to expect and preparing items they need for wedding day
  • Assisting with paper products, such as ceremony programs, escort and place cards, menus, etc.
  • Supporting you and your families in the weeks leading up to the wedding
  • Addressing any issues that arise on wedding day or in the days prior

The wedding coordinator has a lot of responsibility and works incredibly hard to make sure you don't have to worry about anything on your special day. A wedding planner is usually a wedding coordinator too.  But in addition to all the wedding coordination, a wedding planner starts with you at the beginning (or at any point in the process) and is with you each step of the way plan and design your dream wedding. Just a few of the many, many items your wedding planner will cover with you:

  • Wedding Venue Selection
  • Wedding Date Choices and Selection
  • Wedding Budget Estimation and Management
  • Vendor Recommendations (all of your vendors, from bridal gown to officiant to wedding day musicians to ceremony programs)
  • Wedding Color Palette, Design Direction and Design Development
  • Vendor Negotiations and Contract Review
  • Wedding Rehearsal
  • Wedding Day Timeline

In most cases it is the responsibility of the couple (or their wedding planner) to coordinate the vendor arrivals and deliveries. But since you will likely be busy with wedding hair and make up appointments, enjoying your family/wedding party and getting gussied up for the big event, the fabulous wedding planner you hired will ensure your wedding vendor team arrives on time and everything is prepared for him or her to do a stellar job.  This includes but is rarely limited to proper placement of ceremony flowers, linens, decor, rental items, escort cards, table numbers, gift table and any other decor details.  


Still on the fence?  Many four and five star venues now require clients to hire at least a "day of" wedding coordinator (this is a misnomer, and actually means "month of" coordination) to ensure that the personal details are attended to.  We know of numerous Arizona wedding venues that offer a considerable discount for working with an prequalified, reputable wedding planner.  

One last thing...even the most full service venues may require that you have someone (bride, groom, friends, family) pack up all of your belongings at the end of the evening and remove them from the premises.  Consider hiring a planner that offers the option to strike your wedding and reception at the end of the night.  From experience we can tell you, neither you or your guests will want to pack up candles, linens, vases, flowers and decor after your fun and fabulous event!

Have questions about Arizona wedding planning services? Email us today, we'd love to chat with you!