by: Carly

Within each category of event professionals, there are always a number of subcategories just to make planning more confusing because many professionals realize they have a specific strength that fits more accurately into a niche market. One such area: event planners and event designers. Both professionals are very different even though they sound similar, and today we’re going to dive into the similarities, differences, and why you should consider hiring both. Let’s get started!

The Difference Between Event Planners & Event Designers via

A little background:

Event planners love logistics. Most planners have a complete roster of vendors they’re able to recommend on the spot whether you’re searching for a creative lighting crew, the best band in the area, or a photographer who will capture your day with a keen editorial eye. No matter the length of service contracted, your planner will always be on hand for your wedding day. Your planner will create a timeline, act as a liaison between you and your vendors, and make sure your event goes off without a hitch (or at least not one that you notice!). We seriously cannot stress the need for a planner enough!

Like their name suggests, event designers or event stylists thrive on design and décor. Some adore this profession simply because it’s highly creative. Others become event designers because they are also florists, set designers, or interior designers, and their skill set is highly transferrable to event design. These professionals all have a host of things in common, but the two most important points are: 1) Event designers have the very unique ability to completely transform a space and 2) Event designers are typically not planners.

There are also quite a few professionals who are event planners and designers. You’ll notice they state they do both very clearly on their website. The bonus for you is you’re able to work with one professional who has a keen eye for design and style, a roster of vendors for you to turn to, and the ability to know everything about your wedding day from your color palette to your family dynamics. While an event planner may also be a designer, they are likely planners first and place a lot of emphasis on their clients’ overall experience with their brand (read: every detail is perfectly planned). These pros also have a team in place to help them to bring your wedding vision to life on your wedding day in the event that you or your groom need assistance during set-up. Event planners and designers represent the best of both worlds!

The similarities:

  • Planners and designers want you to love every element of your wedding day and will do whatever they can to make sure you do.
  • Designers and planners dedicate themselves to creating a wedding filled with details that personalize your wedding and tell your unique story.
  • Both have a host of vendors they will recommend at a moment’s notice for you to call upon in order to have stellar team all around.
  • Each will be on site – likely at your ceremony location and reception site – throughout the day.
  • Designers and planners are both highly creative.


The differences:

Event Planners:

  • These pros are focused on your wedding day’s logistics.
  • From timelines to family relationships, event planners know every last detail about your wedding. But, they may not have designed the visual display.
  • Your planner will orchestrate your rehearsal the night before and will be on hand from the moment vendors begin setting up until the final vendor breaks down at the end of your reception on your wedding day.
  • You have the option of working with your planner for a varied amount of time (think: entire engagement or just the month leading up to your wedding day).


Event Designers:

  • Event designers are focused on creating stunning visual displays at your wedding.
  • Your designer will likely only know you, your fiancé, and your closest family members who may have influenced your design decisions.
  • These pros will personally source the best linens, flowers, and details (think: escort cards, table numbers, signage, cake toppers, etc) for your wedding in order to bring your design to life. Sometimes that means creating the details by hand! From your wedding colors to your theme, designers also create a cohesive brand for your soiree.
  • Your event designer’s prime purpose is to transform your space. While many stylists will create contracts that allow them to collaborate with your photographer to style your event details for photos later in the day, most designers will leave once set up is complete and will return at the end of the night to pick up their materials. Your designer is not an event planner.
  • Because your designer is creating a personal brand for your wedding day, the option to work with her for the month leading up to your wedding likely won’t exist. And it shouldn’t! Plan to work with your designer for at least 6 months – 1 year at least.

The Difference Between Event Planners & Event Designers via The Difference Between Event Planners & Event Designers via

Images via Ashton Events


Consider hiring either an event planner and an event designer, or a pro who does both.


Simply put, wedding planners and designers excel in different areas but both serve an equally important purpose. Your planner will create an event that flows effortlessly, while your designer will create a stunning display of aesthetic details that neither you nor your guests will forget.

And both planners and designers have the unique ability to cohesively collaborate with each other throughout your wedding planning process. Your planner can fill your designer in on your catering details and location requirements, while your designer can help your planner style and schedule your wedding perfectly leading up to and on the day of your event.

A planner who is also a designer will have the unique ability to fill the role of both professionals with the help of an assistant or two. The major benefit is you’re able to work with one professional who will truly know your likes, dislikes, and greatest wishes for your wedding day by heart. They’re pros at sourcing the best details, designing florals, creating event timelines, and styling each element to perfection. I cannot recommend planners who are also designers highly enough!

Are you working with an event planner, event designer, or a pro who does both? Let us know what you love about each in the comments! And planners and designers, we’d love to hear from you too- please share your own thoughts, similarities, and differences in the comments!

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My name is Carly, and I live for love whether it’s the love I witness between my family members and friends or the love I have for places and weddings. For these reasons and more, I write about the wedding industry, and I'm an event planner, designer, and floral stylist who will forever be in love with flowers, pink, and bows.

14 responses to The Difference Between Event Planners & Event Designers

We love your comments, but please remember to keep them kind and positive, as this is a place for inspiration and sharing information. We have the right to remove or not approve any negative or harmful comments.
  1. Michelle (just curious)

    Love your blog ! a lot of good ideas.

  2. Cristina (a Vendor)

    Great article! I always communicate these differences to my clients.They are huge! :)

  3. nakia (a Vendor)

    This article is so spot on!!!! Team Design! Now an article on how the two should lovingly co-exist

  4. Sofia (a Bride)

    Great post! Every single bride should read this!!!

  5. Heidi Hiller (a Vendor)

    I just found your facebook page and your blog after hearing about it at an event planners luncheon yesterday and hearing great things! This article is so on point. I have been an event designer for 19 years and about 6 years ago we added full service event planning to our repetoire. I plan to send our perspective clients a link to your article so they can understand the differences! Spot on. Thank you!!! I look forward to enjoying more of your blog posts and sharing on facebook.

  6. Amanda - Amanda Douglas Events (a Vendor)

    You are so totally spot on! I’m both an event planner and designer and I absalutely love getting to do both with and for my clients. I love the details and I love the logistics and planning them all together to bring beauty and personalality into my cleats events.

  7. Linda Smith (a Vendor)

    Love this I have been planning wedding for over 8 years and love every minute of it! Your article was spot on!! I posted on my FB page!!

  8. katie (a Bride)

    Love this I have been arranging wedding for more than years and love each moment of it! Your article was right on target!!

  9. Farrah Miller (a Vendor)

    Yes!! What a great article! As a planner/designer myself, I couldn’t imagine having to choose. They are both so much fun!

  10. Lorrain (just curious)

    Thank you so much for making it plain.
    Trying to get people to understand it’s very hard the difference between planner & designer. But as a new designer in this world events. I am finding having a time with clients don’t want to state their budget but the clients want to low ball you can you help me?

  11. Pedro Bellido (a Bride)

    This is a great article, thank you for sharing it with us!

  12. LeNita Moss-Tucker (a Vendor)

    This is the best “breakdown” ever! Thank you for putting it into words!

    ~ Event Designer ~

  13. Emily (just curious)

    hi Can i be both when im older do you know? is it possible to be an event decorator AND An event planner at the same time for my job because I love pintereest and putting colors and
    background together but im also very planned and i love being organised and logical but i also like to design weddings and houses on games and throgh my drawings and art. what do you think?? im 11 now so i dont have to rush hahaha but i’d still like to know thank you <3<3

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