I’ve heard it SO many times- “Oh the venue coordinator will handle everything, I don’t need a wedding planner/coordinator.”
What most couples don’t quite understand is this:
a venue coordinator works for the VENUE, not you.
So the answer is yes, it does matter!
(Nothing against venue coordinators- I love them and they’ve helped me out a lot before!) If they tell you they can handle things on the day of your wedding, it’s true- they can, but it’s only within a certain scope. And so, since I’m kind of the person who says things about planning weddings that not many others will, let’s chat a little more about this…
A venue coordinator is looking out for the venue’s best interests. A wedding coordinator is looking out for YOUR best interests. The venue coordinator deals with everything having to do with the venue- food, setup, bathrooms, etc. A wedding coordinator will deal with aspects of the venue that pertain to you, such as setup, and will make sure everything is to your specifications.
If your ceremony is at a location other than the venue, your wedding coordinator will be there with you. A venue coordinator will not be at that offsite ceremony. If the ceremony is at the venue, the venue coordinator will (ideally) be there to help with the coordination of the ceremony. But if there’s an issue happening with the venue itself, you may find that your venue coordinator will be nowhere to be found.
True story time: A family member of mine was told by her venue coordinator that she would be there for the ceremony to help organize, tell people where and when to go, etc. Thirty, fifteen, ten minutes prior to the ceremony, and the coordinator was nowhere to be found. Guess what? SHE WENT HOME. When I asked why, the venue staff said because everything for the reception was setup and good to go. Ummm… well, thank goodness I was there and had been there at the rehearsal, and I was able to step in and run the ceremony. But not everyone will have someone attending their wedding who was a former wedding planner, so… do with that information what you will. :)
A wedding coordinator stays by your side throughout the day and night. They are there to tell you when things will be occurring throughout the night, such as the cake cutting, bouquet toss, toasts, etc. As a (former) wedding planner, I stayed until the very end of the wedding, until all of the guests were gone. A venue coordinator stays until the meal is served, and the majority of the time, leaves after. Some may stay until the cake is cut and served. He or she will not be by your side throughout the day or night. Although the venue coordinator will do their best to keep you happy, he or she likely will not be helping if your bustle breaks, when it comes time to load up your gifts, or tracking down your lipgloss.
A wedding coordinator contacts your vendors before your wedding to make sure everyone is confirmed and knows what time they will be arriving. A venue coordinator may contact vendors that have to do with setup of the reception, but it’s not common. Other vendors, like your photographer or hair and makeup, would not be contacted by your venue coordinator.
Venues are known to have a high turnover rate among the coordinator/sales positions. The person that you book your wedding with may or may not still be there when it comes time for your wedding 6 months, a year, or a year and a half later. As much as you may have connected with that venue coordinator, she (or he) will have no qualms moving on to greener pastures before your wedding day occurs.
But your wedding coordinator is hired by YOU, hand selected by YOU, and won’t be going anywhere- unless, God forbid, something horrible happens!
So, these notions are just a few things to think about when it comes to deciding whether or not you need a wedding coordinator.
And this is in no way meant to be ill spirited towards venue coordinators. As I said before, I LOVE venue coordinators- it’s always awesome to work with them! But as a couple planning a wedding, I want you to be aware of the differences between the two so you can make the best decision!
If you have any questions about wedding coordinator vs venue coordinators, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!
A version of this post was originally published in June 2010.