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What's the difference of a Wedding Planner and a Venue Coordinator?

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Your wedding is such an exciting and BIG event in your life. I know that you are taking all factors into consideration when choosing your wedding vendor team. You have been discussing your options for your wedding and have come up with a lot of ideas but are maybe unsure what next steps to take, or you have a lot of “I don’t know”s… Wedding planning can be tough, there are so many details to consider, family opinions to take into consideration, and a budget to follow. It can all be so stressful to balance.

But you want your engagement and wedding to be FUN! Not stressful…Hiring a wedding planner can take so many things off your plate.

But maybe you're thinking I have a venue coordinator, why do I need to hire a planner too?? Don't they do the same things?

That is a common misconception. You DO need BOTH. Having been a venue coordinator for 5 years I know that position well. In my time, I learned the ins and outs of that role, and many times had to step in when there wasn't a planner. This was above and beyond,and should never be the assumed standard of venue coordinators.

Here are the basics, venue coordinators work for the venue and will generally put venue needs first. For example, venue start and end times, power needs of the venue, and rules and regulations enforcement at the venue. Their scope is venue focused not COUPLE focused.

This leaves you with concerns... I have addressed those.

What about my vendors?- Most venue coordinators (VCs) are only responsible for asking you WHO your 5-12 vendors are instead of helping you find them.

A wedding planner will vet them, handle communication and insurance, and coordinate payment schedules.

What about the day of?- On the day of the wedding, VCs will not help set up your decor, they simply supervise. They may hand you some scissors if you need them but it is up to your “support system, aka family and wedding party” to make sure that the centerpieces are correct and your candles are lit. They typically do not help with cleaning up either, meaning this lovely task might fall onto your parents schedule for the end of the night.

A wedding planner will not only set up ALL of your decor, they will double check your seating charts, place cards, or table numbers. Then they will pack up the gifts and decor and tidy up. Your parents deserve to join the after party too!

What about getting down the aisle? - Only some VCs will help you get down the aisle. Few venue coordinators will help run your rehearsal, or coordinate your processional and recessional.

A wedding planner will be there for all of this providing consistency and confidence. Planners are around to give that special nod,nod- wink,wink to your DJ to make sure the right songs are playing at the right time. They went over all that information with you while planning, so they have the inside scoop.

What about managing the timeline? - A limited group of VCs will enforce your timeline. More than likely they will just ask for it at your one month walk through. If vendors have discrepancies, there is no person that will trump either one of them causing timeline and potential contract issues if times are too far thrown off. You also have to create the timeline on your own with can cause a headache...

With a wedding planner, they will help you create a timeline, taking into consideration transportation times, and how to make the most of your vendors scheduled service times. Their copy of the timeline becomes the “gold standard” on the day of and since they know it inside and out they will be sure that it is closely followed so that you get the most time possible celebrating with your guests.

What if there are questions?- VCs are not the wedding information library, they do not know the ins and outs of your special day… If a vendor has a question come up on the day of, they will have no one else to turn too, so they will call you. You have so many other things to be doing, like getting ready, celebrating, double checking your vows (jk never do these the day of!), the last thing you want is phone calls interrupting you.

A wedding planner will have worked with you for months. They helped write the “book” of your wedding plans and can answer those burning questions while you are sipping mimosas.

A venue coordinator is an important person in your wedding process just as all of your vendors are. They see to the needs of the venue, the same way a caterer sees to the food selection and service. However you would not expect your caterer to help find the flower girl’s basket (that she could have left in the wedding suite, the hallway leading to the aisle or even with a different family member) before she walks down the aisle, would you? A wedding planner will keep an eye on all of the extra details that you haven't even thought of yet.

Written By:Stacie Carver, Carver Coordination


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