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Wedding Coordinator vs. Venue Coordinator - What's the Difference?

I have heard this question more times than I can count, and I know you are probably wondering what the answer is. Venue coordinators are NOT the same as wedding coordinators/planners. That's it, that's the answer. Now, let's dive into why you need both on your wedding day.

First, let’s clear up a few things. This is not to speak ill about venue coordinators or venues at all. The venue and their staff is just as important as the next vendor on wedding day. My goal here is to compare between the two and educate couples out there who truly do not understand the difference.

Second, this does not apply to ALL venues. Some venues do have a venue coordinator who will do all the roles of a wedding planner or wedding day coordinator. More often than not though, this is not the case, at least in my area of Southwest Florida. If you work as a venue coordinator, you rock and we love you, keep doing you and being amazing.

The Role of a Wedding Coordinator

Wedding coordinators (also wedding planners, wedding managers, day of coordinators, etc.) are working for YOUR best interest. Their main job is to coordinate the wedding day. They work for you, the couple.

They are responsible for your ceremony off site from the reception venue, or on site at the reception venue. Wedding Coordinators / Wedding Planners are the ones who create a wedding day timeline, connect with all of your vendors, and keep the wedding day going at a smooth pace.The timeline is an extremely cohesive document that collaborates with all vendors, to ensure the wedding day goes off without a hitch. Every part of the wedding day is included in this timeline. From setup and arrival times, to what time the speeches will start at, all of this is created by the wedding coordinator.

If you are in need of finding vendors for your wedding day, wedding coordinators / wedding planners have exclusive vendor lists they provide to their clients. Furthermore, they have extensive knowledge of vendors in the area to connect with a vendor who checks all of your boxes which can be personality, budget, and vision. All of which are important in selecting wedding day vendors. They will have first hand knowledge working with these vendors and will ensure a smooth wedding day on your behalf.

Wedding Coordinators also are doing a lot of things behind the scenes. They put out fires most couples don’t even notice. Wedding coordinators also ensure every detail of the day is resolved before the wedding day even happens, protecting the couple by all means. They are the point of contact throughout the entire wedding day, ensuring you and your families are left alone and can truly relax and enjoy the most special day.

On wedding day, they are there the entire day. From start to finish, wedding coordinators are there every step of the way. Greeting each vendor as they arrive, cueing the wedding party when to walk down the aisle, letting the venue staff know about guests dietary needs prior to dinner being served, informing the musician when to play the first dance song, all of it is handled by the wedding coordinator.

If you DIY any of your decor or signage, the wedding coordinator will be the one to set up these items on various tables for you. Whereas the venue coordinator will tell you to give a friend or family member this responsibility. Wedding coordinators are in charge of placing menus, palace cards, etc. on the tables. Venue Coordinators are always happy to help with this but in my experience they prefer to have someone else do this.

Wedding coordinators are with you the entire step of the way answering any questions that come up about the wedding day, or wedding vendors or anything that might come up in making decisions.

Wedding coordinators are hired by you, for you. Your wedding day vendors will thank you for having one at your wedding. Just trust me.

The Role of a Venue Coordinator

The venue coordinator is employed by the venue. The venue ultimately is their client. Their role is directly correlated with the venue. Ensuring the staffing numbers are accurate, the meal service goes off without error, and ensuring the AC is working, their main focus is the venue itself.

They might provide you with a “template” for a timeline , however they do not piece it together for you.They will not reach out to each and every vendor you hire to confirm their arrival time and needs for setup.They can assist in showing where to set up or how to access the venue, but they will not have any answers when it comes down to details of the wedding day. Which is where your wedding coordinator / wedding planner steps in to help fill in those gaps.

If your ceremony is not at the reception venue, they will not assist you in the logistics of that event. Their main focus is the venue. If the venue is an all-inclusive venue, meaning they provide tables, chairs, linens, catering, bar, plates, that means they are handling all of those items as well and their staff will also be responsible for setting all of those items up. They will not usually set up any personal items such as welcome signs or family photos, either.

The venue typically has a preferred vendors list. Their preferred vendor list is usually made up of vendors who they have worked with in the past and had a pleasant experience with. This is an important difference to remember, as this can consist of vendors who will not be customized to you or your needs at all, just someone who did a good job before. This is a good reference point considering the listed vendors have experience at this venue, but it is always good to meet with vendors before booking them and ensuring you have a connection with them.

On actual wedding day, venue coordinators typically arrive 1-2 hours before the first event is to begin. (ceremony or cocktail hour) The venue coordinator leaves as soon as dinner service is complete, because their job is done. During the day they are constantly coming and going, handling other venue responsibilities such as checking in on their staff, giving venue tours and checking emails. Ultimately, working for the venue as mentioned, not entirely for you.

These Roles Can (and Will) Work Together

I am not sure about other venues, but a majority of venues in my area (Southwest Florida), do require AT LEAST a wedding day coordinator. Most wedding coordinators do offer full wedding planning, but a wedding day coordinator is just as important.

Wedding coordinators can help answer questions the venue might have on wedding day and really help take pressure off the venue so they can focus on their duties such as dinner service. Wedding coordinators are CRUCIAL in being the go to person on wedding day for guests, vendors, family, etc. The wedding coordinator will work with all the vendors to help answer any questions and help plan the wedding day logistics so that your day goes to plan.

Venue coordinators do benefit from a wedding coordinator because they know there will be someone at all times on wedding day to help put out any fires that might arise. It is a huge benefit for couples to have both on wedding day that work hand in hand together to ensure your special day is perfect.

You Should Hire Your Own Wedding Coordinator

As mentioned, a wedding coordinator works for YOU. They are your biggest supporter and guidance through the entire wedding day. Most of which starts even before the wedding day begins. There are so many wedding coordinators and wedding planners who would love to be a part of your special day. I know myself, really enjoy meeting new couples and sharing their most special day with them. Wedding day is supposed to be the best day ever, and why have you (or your family) stress about silly things, when you can have someone there to do all of that for you.

A few things to consider when looking for a wedding coordinator:

-Do they have your wedding date available?

-What is included in their package?

-Are they flexible in their pricing based on your budget?

-Have they worked at your wedding venue before?

-Will they provide a vendor list for you to utilize?

If you are looking for a wedding coordinator, or a full wedding planner, I’d love to chat with you and be a part of your special day.

XO, Amber Jane.


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