Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner

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 coordinator, 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”.

In short, the venue coordinator is coordinating between yourself and the venue staff only.  Unfortunately it is often mistakenly assumed that the poor venue coordinator is going to help set up your decor, liase between your third-party vendors and act as a general overseer on the day. When this doesn’t happen, the coordinator ends up getting a bad rap, being blamed for not performing duties that were actually not part of her responsibilities at all. And the bride spends her wedding day freaking out because nothing is happening as it “should”. Sadly, it happens.

But how does this happen? 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 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. This is commonly misunderstood and can be quite confusing for you when you mistakenly and innocently infer additional responsibility over and above what is explicitly stated in the contract.

What they do: (usually)

  • 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 they don’t do: {usually}

  • Does not set up third party decor.
  • Does not set up third party dessert stands or cake stands.
  • Does not stay till end of wedding reception. Leaves after meals have been served.
  • May not be available the entire day, if overseeing multiple weddings that weekend
  • Does not liase between your third party vendors to ensure that things run smoothly
  • Does not manage your wedding day timeline (getting ready, photographs, timely decor set up, etc)
Taken in part by Confetti Day Dreams

For most, this is your first wedding! You have no idea the amount of work, coordination and ‘day of’ changes that come into play behind the scenes to ensure you [the bride] don’t get disturbed and from your point of view your dream has come true. But while you are getting hair and makeup done-vendors are scrambling, the venue is rushing to pull things together at one time and your Day of Coordinator or Wedding Planner is pulling all the right pieces together, putting our fires and coming up with Plans B, C, and D to make your wedding dreams come true.

John Hobelman Author

About the Author: Deb is a charismatic venue represenative who has a deep passion for all things wedding. 


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