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Wedding Planner-Designer- Venue Coordinator: Which Do I Need?

Guest blog post by Lauren of Swoon Soiree

I don’t think any bride or groom has ever said “I want my wedding to be stressful, boring, or ugly.” Nope. Never. So why do we often settle and then end up having a stressful day when your wedding day should be nothing but joy, love, and lots of dancing? Maybe during the planning season you get overwhelmed and decide to hand multiple tasks to multiple people or maybe you take it upon yourself to plan EVERYTHING! Maybe you don’t know all the options when it comes to planning and designing your wedding day.

Well, you’re in luck! Lauren, of Swoon Soiree is here to break down the differences between a planner, designer, and venue coordinator.

Words from Lauren:

“There are many overlapping career titles within the wedding industry. It’s no wonder couples aren’t sure which one will fit their needs. Although there is some overlap with each description, there are some key differences. Wedding planning is time-consuming and time-sensitive work. Make sure you know what you are getting when you hire your professional.”

Wedding Planner

This person is hired by the couple. Their sole job is to make sure your wedding is exactly what you want it to be. The wedding planner is the most involved professional, and the vendor you will be spending the most time with. A qualified planner will save the couple valuable time and money by helping them find vendors that best fit their personality and style both quickly and efficiently.


A wedding planner will have established vendor relationships, be familiar with rental options, understand the logistics of a catering outfit, transportation, various venues, and know how to break out a budget to match the market.

To learn more about planners (price, when to hire, minimums, what they do on your wedding day) click here.

Wedding Designer

The wedding designer can be hired by the couple, but most often they are hired by the wedding planner. The difference between a wedding planner and designer is that wedding planners excel with logistics, such as timelines and vendor selection. Wedding designers excel at visual presentation and creating the overall cohesive look of the event from start to finish. They often have an interior design or fashion background. Some wedding designers will hold inventory such as linens and decor. They will have everything in house or they will have curated relationships with vendors for specific decor pieces.They will work with a team that can design and execute the vision. Please note, that not all wedding planners are designers and not all designers know how to plan a wedding. There can be some overlap, however, it will be a conversation you’ll have to have with each. Ideally, they will work together and create an aesthetically cohesive, logistically possible, event.

I will say that most planners can interpret a Pinterest board, put together a mood board, and execute a “pretty” wedding. If you are looking for a luxury experience, custom fabricated pieces, designer elements, and internationally sourced elements, a designer paired with a planner is most likely the best way to go. Again, we need to compress time, and there just won’t be enough time for a planner to service both elements successfully by the wedding date.

Venue Coordinator

The biggest misconception in our industry is that a venue coordinator is a planner or even an event manager. Venue coordinators are responsible for everything that happens at the venue, and generally not anything outside of it. They will not manage your vendors, check on hair and make up, organize your transportation, line you up for ceremony, cue toasts, manage vendors, or do anything that doesn’t pertain to the venue. They are focused on
making sure everything at the venue runs smoothly, catering is on time, and that the rules of the venue are being honored.

Because the venue coordinator works for the venue, they might be managing several events on the same day. If your venue has multiple event spaces, it is very possible your venue coordinator will be managing multiple events on the same day. Venues are known to have a high turnover rate among the coordinator/sales positions. The person you book your wedding with may or may not still be there on your wedding day. Details may have been lost in the shuffle, you may not click as well with the new venue coordinator, and you will have to triple check that everyone is still on the same page. When you hire an event manager or a planner, they work for you. They will be with you from start to finish and will work with any of the venue coordinators that you will interact with at your venue. Having both a venue coordinator and a wedding planner ensures that you and your guests will be taken care of. That the venue will be operated smoothly and any issues that arise will be dealt with. You need both. There are some amazing venue coordinators out there, however, they are not wedding planners or coordinators.

Each wedding professional fits into a different price bracket. When selecting the level of service you need, really look at your time, your knowledge of the industry, and if it is something that you are going to enjoy. Planning a wedding is at least equivalent to a part-time job, and that is if you know who to call, and what needs to be done. If you don’t, you can easily spend much more time and money than necessary working through the learning curve. As with any industry, wedding professionals are compensated based on their experience, talent, education, and performance. This is an industry where you 100% get what you pay for.

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