Defined: The Difference Between a Wedding Planner and Wedding Coordinator

Welcome to the DEFINED series! Team JKE will be breaking down wedding and event industry concepts for you including defining wedding terminology, industry inside information, myth busting of common event planning mysteries, and more!

The first of this series is a question that is asked OFTEN: What is the difference between wedding planner and wedding coordinator? I will actually take this a step further and break down event designers and venue coordinators as well.

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In the event world many of these terms are used interchangeably which can cause confusion for newly engaged couples. A major part of my role is to be an educator, and that doesn’t just stop at buttercream frosting vs fondant. Every PLANNER does not offer event design services; some wedding coordinators are wedding planners.

Confused yet? Let’s break it down.


Wedding PlannerDay-of Wedding CoordinatorWedding Designer
Defintion:This person plans event from top to bottom. They are hands on in every part of the event process. Think: project manager who specializes in weddings.This person runs the show on event day. The client turns the event over to them at the very end so they can enjoy their event day

Note: Many event professionals are steering away from the words “Day-of” as we get involved several weeks earlier.
This person executes the pretty side of the event. Designs the mood, feelings, colors, and/or theme of the event.
Tasks:*Manages event logistics, vendor research, site-visits, etc.
*Involved 6-12 Months prior to event day
*Event Design (typically)
* Manages logistics for event day only
* Involved about 4-6 weeks prior to event day
*Will set up and breakdown items given by client
* Presents design board and implements it
*Involved 6-12 months prior to event day
*Will set up and breakdown their own design elements
Question to ask:
Do your services include event design?
How early do you join the planning process?Do your services include event logistics?

Here is an easy equation:

Wedding Planner = Coordinator + Designer + 6-12 months prior to event day

Simply put: The best way to understand if you’ve found a match is determining what your needs are and how they align with your vendor. Not sure what you need for your wedding? Take this cute quiz at The Knot!

Jazmine Karess Events specializes in event planning and design services, you are at the right place if you want it all!

Event Design work by Jazmine Karess Events, shot by Love Life Images

Venue Coordinator vs Wedding Planner

“I have a wedding planner through my venue.”

Couples say this often! DANGER – DANGER – DANGER!

There is a strong chance that you do not: this person works for the venue. This can be confusing for couples because sometimes a venue employee’s title overlaps some of the roles mentioned above. Common titles used for venue employees are: venue coordinator, sales coordinator, event coordinator, wedding coordinator, wedding planner, or event planner. We refer to them as venue coordinators, because they coordinate the event from the venue side.

This is important to spot because some couples may think they are getting certain services typical for a planner, that are actually outside the scope of a venue employee. There are a few venues who truly do it all, but many times your venue coordinator works in conjunction with your planner or coordinator.

Tasks your Venue Coordinator may have include the following:

  • Taking you on tour of the event space
  • Coordinating payment of the venue
  • Completing your BEO (Banquet Event Order)
  • Set up of table/chairs
  • Clean up (non-decor) post event

An easy tell is asking your venue coordinator “Does your venue work with wedding planners?” Many will JUMP at this and be very welcoming. Planners have great relationships with venues and help the day run smoothly for all parties.

Hopefully this breakdown gives you some clarity on what the roles of each party are. Figuring out how each of these major players are involved in your event, ensures that your big day is a success!

Thanks for checking out our Defined series.

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Consider me your wedding planning bestie! I prefer drinks first, but I love talking about all things weddings and events. 

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