If you aren’t in the wedding industry, you probably don’t know all of the different roles that exist when it comes to being a Planner or Coordinator. It’s easy to get them confused or to assume they do the same thing. But in reality, Wedding Planners and Wedding Coordinators (as well as Venue Coordinators) have very different jobs. And I think it’s important that you understand the differences and what role each person plays so you can make sure you are receiving the services you want and need.

Some of the roles you might find are:

  • Wedding Planner (which also breaks down into two categories:  Full-Service Planner and Partial Planner… and sometimes Wedding Managers)
  • Wedding Coordinator (also broken down into two categories: Month-Of Coordinator and Day-Of Coordinator)
  • Venue Coordinator (also sometimes known as Venue Managers)

I’m going to break each one down for you below.


WEDDING PLANNER

There are a few types of Wedding Planners:  Full-Service Wedding Planners and Partial Wedding Planners. Some even consider themselves Event Planners because they focus on multiple types of events (weddings, social parties, corporate parties, fundraisers, galas, etc.). When an engaged couple needs help planning their entire wedding, they want to look for a Wedding Planner.

While full-service and partial wedding planners have a wide variety of services they will provide, some things they may do are:

  • Put in anywhere between 75-200 hours planning a wedding.
  • Provide vendor referrals and review contracts.
  • Create detailed timelines, weekend itineraries, and floor plans.
  • Create a projected budget. Possibly help you track and manage that budget.
  • Attend vendor meetings, site visits, and caterer tastings.
  • Create some design ideas.
  • Manage the rehearsal and oversee everything on the wedding day.

Full-Service Wedding Planner

A Full-Service Wedding Planner is typically hired immediately after the engagement and is responsible for assisting the couple throughout the entire wedding planning process. Each Full-Service Wedding Planner has his or her own style and method, but typical roles include keeping the planning progress on track, suggesting and connecting with vendors that fit the couple’s style and budget, overseeing communication between the hired vendors, reviewing contracts, tracking the budget, and handling logistics. Because Full-Service Wedding Planners are involved in so much of the wedding planning, they are also going to work many more hours (usually 150+ hours), which means there’s going to be a higher price point for their services. A Full-Service Wedding Planner typically has his or her hands in every single aspect of the wedding planning process, but each planner is different, so before you hire one, you want to make sure you really understand the scope of services. 

Partial Wedding Planner

A Partial Wedding Planner is sometimes hired early on in the planning process and sometimes hired a little closer to the wedding day. A Partial Planner doesn’t have his or her hands in the wedding planning process as much as a Full-Service Planner does. And just like a Full-Service Planner, each Partial Wedding Planner works differently and will offer different services, so it’s important to fully understand what is included and what’s not included. Regardless, couples who hire a Partial Planner are typically willing to do most of the legwork of the planning. A couple who hires a Partial Planner may have a tighter budget, have time to do most of the planning themselves, getting married at a venue that offers a lot of services, or is having a smaller wedding.

WEDDING COORDINATOR

This is probably one of the most misunderstood roles. There’s a huge difference between a Wedding Planner and a Wedding Coordinator, and it’s really important that a couple understands these differences before hiring someone to help them with their wedding. 

A Wedding Coordinator is focused on the logistics. This person will confirm vendor contracts, create the wedding day timeline, and make sure guest counts are in order and updated. They basically make sure everything you have done up until they step in is ready to go. Some Wedding Coordinators work with you 2-3 months in advance, while some only work with you a month in advance. (Wedding Managers are a beautiful mix between Wedding Coordinators and Wedding Planners because they are usually available to you from the moment you hire them, but don’t really step in to do any legwork until closer to your wedding day.)

Some things a Wedding Coordinator may do:

  • Put in about 25-30 hours of coordination
  • Meet with you anywhere between 4-12 weeks before the wedding to discuss everything you’ve done so far
  • Check in with your vendor team to review contracts and confirm all the teeny tiny logistics
  • Create timelines and floor plans
  • Manage the rehearsal and oversee everything on the wedding day

VENUE COORDINATOR

This one is super important to understand. I have seen too many couples say they don’t need a Wedding Planner or Wedding Coordinator because their venue has a Venue Coordinator. Please note:  A Venue Coordinator is NOT the same as a Full-Service Wedding Planner, a Partial-Service Wedding Planner, or a Wedding Coordinator. 

A Venue Coordinator is not a bad thing. Venue Coordinators are not inexperienced, nor are they unnecessary. When a venue has a Venue Coordinator, there’s a better chance that your wedding will be executed more smoothly and perfectly because your Wedding Planner or Wedding Coordinator will partner with and work closely with your Venue Coordinator.

A Venue Coordinator focuses on the VENUE. He or she is responsible for making sure anything venue-related (tasks, staff, problems, etc.) are taken care of and handled responsibly. Venue Coordinators will give you the venue’s guidelines, policies, and restrictions. They will make sure the venue is ready for vendor load-in and setup and help keep the catering staff on-point. Really good venue coordinators will also check-in with your planner or coordinator throughout the wedding day to ensure everything is going well on his/her end and communicate anything that needs to be addressed. 

A Venue Coordinator will not track and manage your budget, answer etiquette questions, help you pick out your invitations, help you decide on rental items and color palettes, or attend outside vendor meetings with you. If it pertains to the venue, they will be involved, but if it falls outside of the venue’s responsibilities, they don’t have a commitment to it.

Some things a venue coordinator might do:

  • Opens and closes the venue
  • Makes sure all rentals are set in their spots according to the floor plan
  • Makes sure the venue is clean
  • Oversees parking and valet services
  • Makes sure the bridal suite and groom room are cleaned up and ready for you
  • Oversees room lighting and temperature
  • Oversees food and beverage setup and service and working directly with the catering staff if it’s in-house catering

Sometimes a venue coordinator will assist with any room flip, help light candles and fold napkins, clean up trash, help light sparklers, make sure loading docks are open and ready, etc.


I believe that regardless of who you hire, if you hire the right person, he or she will feel more like a friend than someone you’ve hired to help with your wedding. I love all of my couples dearly and want the absolute best for them and their wedding day… and that includes making sure you’ve hired the right vendors to help you on your wedding day. 

If you’re already one of my couples reading this and need some recommendations on a good Wedding Planner or Wedding Coordinator, let me know, and I’m happy to recommend my favorites to you! If you aren’t one of my couples (yet!) and you want to chat about me photographing your wedding, let’s schedule a call!

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The Difference Between a Wedding Planner, Wedding Coordinator, and a Venue Coordinator

February 1, 2022