Independent wedding planners and venue coordinators – what is the difference and why would I need both?
I am often, and I think quite understandably, asked this question by prospective clients. Sometimes they are led to believe there is no need for a wedding planner if the venue has a good, in house coordinator.
So, is this true?
Well sometimes, absolutely yes.
If you are the kind of bride who is very comfortable pulling ‘project wedding’ together, and you have a good venue coordinator to call upon with any burning, venue related questions, you may well prefer to go it alone.
If you do, by the way, we would always suggest you have a great team of family and friends to delegate specific tasks to and gain support from.
However the two roles are very distinct, albeit complementary.
Your venue coordinator is employed by the venue and is an expert on every element of your wedding which has to do with the venue itself. For example coordinating the in-house team, working with reservations if guests are booking rooms, showing you layouts, menu options, wine packages etc.
He or she will likely meet with you three or four times over the planning period and ensure all venue staff have the information they need to run your wedding.
Your independent wedding planner is employed by you and is there specifically to guide, support, recommend venues and suppliers, problem solve in every area and manage your overall day. He or she will be your go-to person, much like a PA, for anything and everything, be it etiquette advice, family issues, help with speeches or seating plans, transport logistics or frankly come what may.
So do venue coordinators and wedding planners work together?
Of course. A good in house coordinator or manager is worth their weight in gold, indeed we have many excellent examples here in Jersey. Theirs will be one of the closest relationships you, and your wedding planner, maintain throughout the process.
It is however worth stressing that turnover amongst in house coordinators can be high, albeit this varies from venue to venue. I have known the coordinator to change three times over a client’s planning period, which can be disconcerting and annoying.
Another issue which can arise, though not always, is that the coordinator who sold you your wedding package and has met with you to discuss details, isn’t the individual who will oversee your day from the venue’s perspective. This role is often passed, very shortly before your wedding day, to a banqueting or front of house manager. Again, these guys are usually superb, however brides can be a bit ‘thrown’ by not having the person they’ve explained all their very specific wishes to there for them on the day.
Wedding planners generally work for themselves or in small teams, so you are allocated an individual who will quite literally hold your hand throughout and, by definition, if they own the company they’re not about to leave for another job. They will carry out the tiniest of requests and pull multiple drafts of your schedule and all your suppliers together to make it happen your way.
We hope this gives some clarity to an understandably often asked question. There are great coordinators and great planners, but their roles are quite different.
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Image Credits: AHP Photography & Mark Wallis Photography