Coordinator vs. Planner vs. Designer: What's the Difference?

Most couples are surprised to hear that there is a difference between coordinators, planners and designers. Planning a wedding comes with a whole new set of vocabulary. Words you thought you understood suddenly take on an entirely new meaning! One of the biggest misconceptions from couples is that there is "no difference is between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator". We are here to explain them and break down each of these roles in detail!

"The Wedding Planner"

What Does a Wedding Planner Do?

Wedding planners are all about the logistics, from vendor referrals and contract negotiation to day-of execution of your vision. Some planners also provide design or styling services (like us!), helping with the creative specifics of your wedding day.

Wedding Planner Duties

1. Puts in 80 to 250 hours.

2. Provides vendor referrals and negotiates contracts; schedules and attends all vendor meetings.

3. Creates detailed timelines and floor plans.

4. Helps determine and manage your budget.

5. Attends site tours and menu tastings.

6. Brainstorms style ideas and coordinates design details.

7. Coordinates hotel room blocks and transportation.

8. Manages the rehearsal.

9. Oversees everything on the wedding day (makes sure everyone adheres to the timeline, handles snafus, manages vendors, and executes your vision on-site).

Hire a Wedding Planner If...

1. You have the budget for it.

2. You want the least possible amount of wedding-related stress.

3. You have no free time because of a demanding job.

4. You have no clue where to start when it comes to planning, and your organizational skills aren't the greatest.

5. You have a very short time frame for planning.

6. You're throwing a destination wedding and/or a wedding weekend involving multiple events.

7. You're hosting your wedding in an unusual space (read: not a hotel, restaurant, or banquet hall).

"The Wedding Designer"

What Does a Wedding Designer Do?

  1. A wedding designer's role is purely aesthetic and doesn't include things like contract negotiations or attending appointments alongside the bride. WEdding Designers specialize in design, consulting on everything from floor plans and lighting design to the flowers, furniture, linens, and attire. They help with the decisions that will give your event a cohesive, stylish, and sophisticated look. A designer has an artistic eye that allows them to conceptualize the whole event and truly transform a space.

Wedding Designer Duties

1. Puts in up to 40 hours.

2. Creates the wedding's design concept.

3. Provides color palette guidance.

4. Oversees the decor budget and vendors (florist, rentals, lighting, stationery).

5. Sources special props and equipment.

6. Attends a site visit to visualize where you want everything to go, devise a layout, and identify potential problems.

7. Creates detailed floor plans.

8. Ensures all of the decor elements are in place on-site at the wedding.

Hire a Wedding Designer If...

1. The decor is the most important element of the wedding for you.

2. You're confident in your organizational and logistical skills, but your creative skills are lacking.

3. You're trying to pull off a very specific theme or you have a million wedding style ideas that you can't narrow down.

"The Wedding Coordinator"

What Does a Wedding Coordinator (a.k.a. Wedding Consultant) Do?

  1. A wedding coordinator is logistically focused, but on a shorter timeline than a planner. They usually begin helping you prepare a month before the wedding and function as the point person on the wedding day. They will confirm vendor contracts and create a day-of timeline, as well as make sure things like payments and guest counts are in order, but won't be involved in the earlier planning phases or keeping track of your budget. Part of their job is to coordinate everything involved on the day of the event, from load-in and load-out to ensuring that everyone is on schedule.

  2. Coordinators make sure everything you've done up until they take over is in good shape. Hiring a coordinator to take over the month before your wedding gives them time to tweak any details and follow up on loose ends. Everything is in order, nothing is forgotten, and you're free to enjoy your wedding day.

Wedding Coordinator Duties

1. Puts in approximately 25 hours.

2. Meets with you four to eight weeks before the wedding to get a handle on what you've planned thus far.

3. Checks in with your vendors to review the signed contracts and confirm logistics.

4. Creates detailed timelines and floor plans.

5. Completes a final walk-through of the ceremony and reception sites.

6. Addresses any overlooked details (such as forgetting to hire a coat check attendant).

7. Manages the rehearsal.

8. Oversees everything on the wedding day.

Hire a Wedding Coordinator If...

1. You want to play an active role in planning your wedding but would like someone to take care of the last-minute details and make sure you haven't missed anything.

2. You're extremely organized and detail-oriented.

3. You don't have the budget for a full-service wedding planner.

We hope you found this information helpful in deciding which role you might need most while planning your wedding!


Maryssa Souza

Owner | Planner

Save the Date! Weddings & Events

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