Wedding Planner, Coordinator, or Designer? Which to choose?
Congratulations Brides-To-Be! You’re engaged, the date is set, wedding planning begins, and now it’s time to hire wedding specialists. However, there are vast differences between wedding experts and the specific levels of assistance they provide. Which one is best for you? A carefully chosen Wedding Planner, Wedding Designer, or Wedding Coordinator can be the best decision you make for a flawless day!
A WEDDING PLANNER focuses on the logistics of your wedding, from your planning and contract negotiation to the day-of execution of your vision. Think of a wedding planner as your new best friend. This person has no other job but to make sure your wedding is exactly what you want it to be! The wedding planner invests eighty to two hundred fifty hours of concentrated planning, provides vendor referrals and negotiates contracts, schedules and attends all vendor meetings, creates detailed timelines and floor plans, helps determine and manage your budget, attends site tours and menu tastings, brainstorms design details, coordinates hotel room blocks and transportation, manages the rehearsal, and supervises everything on the wedding day and executes your vision on-site. (Think Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner!)
Tip: Experts advise to hire a wedding planner if you have the budget for it, if you want the least possible amount of wedding-related stress, if you lack free time to plan, if you have a very short time frame for planning, or if you want a destination wedding or a weekend wedding event.
Next, a WEDDING DESIGNER’S role is purely aesthetic and doesn’t include contract negotiations or attending appointments alongside the bride. The designer works with you about forty hours and creates the wedding’s design concept, provides color palette guidance, oversees the decor budget and vendors, attends a site visit to visualize and devise a layout, creates detailed floor plans, and ensures all the decor elements are in place on-site at the wedding.
Tip: Hire a Wedding Designer if your decor is the most important element of the wedding for you or if you like to plan but your creative skills are not your strength.
Finally, a WEDDING COORDINATOR (Wedding Consultant) is also logistically focused but operates on a shorter timeline than a planner. The coordinator usually begins 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 they won’t be involved in the earlier planning phases or keeping track of your budget. A coordinator works about twenty hours, meets with you four to eight weeks before the wedding, checks in with your vendors to review the signed contracts and confirm logistics, creates detailed timelines and floor plans, manages the rehearsal, completes a final walk-through of the ceremony and reception sites, and oversees everything on the wedding day.
Hint: Hire a Wedding Coordinator if 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, or if you’re extremely organized and detail-oriented but you don’t have the budget for a full-service wedding planner.
Choose wisely, and blessings for happy planning!
Magan Ward is a photographer, wife, mom of 3, and educator to fellow photographers. She has an unhealthy obsession with Chick-Fil-A mac and cheese, and has a bit of a love affair with dry shampoo – something she tried to avoid for years until the pandemic of 2020 occurred rendering her dependent upon the waterless revelation that saves her time, something now used to instead apply nutella to waffles for tiny humans.
Putting that Masters in Education to good use, Magan enjoys teaching her fellow photographers and online entrepreneurs the ins and outs of building a business that they love…and occasionally sprinkles in some encouragement for Mamas, because life with littles is just plum hard sometimes.
You can grab her free list of favorite tools for entrepreneurs here.