What is the difference?...... And why is there a difference?
Understanding the difference between a wedding venue coordinator and a wedding coordinator (or wedding planner) can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary frustration.
Because the names of the two roles sound very similar, you’ll be forgiven for assuming that they perform the same function. It’s an easy mistake to make. And a common one, too. In fact, many brides mistakenly think that if their wedding venue offers a free on site co-ordinator, they don’t need the services of wedding coordinator at all. You might be tempted to do the same, especially to save on costs.
But there’s a good chance that you could end up frustrated and stressed out on your wedding day when the venue coordinator fails to “perform”.
Firstly, I would like to say that I love venue coordinators – they’re great! They know their venues inside out and they are the experts at making sure its prepared properly. During planning they can advise on what has worked well before and they’ll ensure you know the limitations/rules. They are there on the day to ensure the venues operations run smoothly. Your venue coordinator will deal with any issues that arise, such as overactive air conditioning, or tatty toilets.
However, that is a very different role to that of a wedding planner. Simply put, the difference comes down to allegiances. A venue coordinator works for the venue, making sure you are happy with the venue. Meanwhile, a wedding planner works for you, with the sole objective of making sure you get your perfect wedding and a seamless day. This definition explains how your use of the two different professionals can affect everything from venue negotiations through to the tasks they will/will not get involved with.
Here are some examples of the differences in the roles of a venue coordinator.
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What a wedding venue coordinator does:
Show you around the venue
Arrange menu tastings if the venue provides catering
Act as point of call between yourself and the venue staff
Ensure basic setup of tables and chairs is fulfilled if included in contract
Ensure on-site food and drinks are served correctly and as agreed, if catering is included in contract
Ensure there is no damage to the venues property by yourself or third party vendors you bring in
What a wedding venue coordinator does not:
Does not set up you decor in the specific way you are wanting it. (they may say they do
Does not stay till end of wedding reception. Leaves after meals have been served.
Does not help with pack down at the end of the night and ensures that all your decor hire pieces are packed away and all your gifts / cards are stored safely.
Does not make sure that your guests leave the place clean, and might charge you an additional cleaning fee for that service.
May not be available the entire day, if having to work in an office and plan other events too. They will not be your eyes and ears!
Does not liaise between your third party vendors to ensure that things run smoothly, if there are delays or if there is anything missing. They will not know.
Does not create or manage your wedding day timeline (getting ready, photographs, timely decor set up, etc) and will not get in touch with photographers/makeup/third party vendors before your wedding day to let them know what time they need to be arriving in the morning, and what time they need to be packing down.
They will not sort out transportation, or be there for your guests with any wedding related / timeline questions.
Whereas your wedding coordinator will go above and beyond to do all the above for you. You have contracted them for you, and you will be paying them, they are obliged to work for you and make sure they do the best job possible for you to have your perfect stress free day. The venue coordinator is getting paid regardless if your wedding is there or not.
Maybe you hear the venue coordinator say: “Of course I’ll be there to assist on the day should you need anything.” But what you think she/he means is: “I will plan and take full ownership of making sure that each and every detail falls perfectly into place for your wedding day, and will take responsibility for all third party vendors too.” Although your venue coordinator will offer her assistance with emergencies should you need it, that is quite a different thing from taking responsibility for the running of the entire wedding.
Hopefully that make a little sense and help you decide if you need to hire a wedding planner at all!
But if you do... my packages are here ;)