What is the difference between wedding coordination and wedding planning?
Many couples who are looking for a wedding planner know they need some help with planning their wedding, but the level of assistance required may differ from couple to couple. Below we explain the difference of the type of service you can expect from a wedding coordinator versus a wedding planner.
Each wedding planner/coordinator has their own take on the services they offer, and you will get varying degrees of support. Your decision with whom to work and the type of services you want should be a balance of the amount of support you need, your budget, and of course who you think is the best fit for you.
WHAT IS ON-THE-DAY COORDINATION?
Generally speaking, the term ‘on-the-day coordination’ is a little misleading as the majority of wedding coordinators will not just turn up blind on your wedding day and will instead offer a range of support beforehand. The level of support varies greatly between different planners/coordinators, but can include inspiration sessions, supplier recommendations, and final planning meetings where you will go through your wedding day with a fine-tooth comb to check your timeline and flag any potential issues. Some planners/coordinators will also manage logistics and communications with your suppliers in the 4-6 weeks leading up to your wedding day.
On the day itself, a wedding coordinator is likely to be first to arrive and may well be the last to leave depending on the level of service you book. Their tasks may include:
- Meeting suppliers, making sure they have everything they need and letting them know where they should set up
- Finishing touches, including putting out place cards, finish off styling/décor and ensuring that everything is exactly as you envisaged
- Greeting and directing guests throughout the day so they don’t miss things, such as your first dance
- Ensuring you and your suppliers are all running to schedule
- Letting your priest/celebrant/registrar know when the bridal party has arrived
- Lighting candles, turning on playlists, and making sure everything is going to plan
- Turning rooms around, from ceremony to reception and reception to dancing
- Keeping everywhere clean and tidy
- Being the first point of contact for any issues with the venue/suppliers
- Encouraging guests to sign your guestbook
- Helping guests find their taxis/transport
- Packing everything away at the end of the night
In principle, it’s lovely to allocate jobs to your bridal party and/or friends and family. However, it definitely pays to have a professional on board to manage all of the above. This is especially true if your wedding is taking place in a dry-hire venue or marquee. This also frees up you and your guests to enjoy the day and not have to worry about the logistics.
WHAT IS FULL-SERVICE WEDDING PLANNING?
A vendor offering full-service wedding planning will become an integral part of your wedding planning journey. At which point you chose to hire a wedding planner will vary, but quite often a wedding planner is the first booking a couple will make after getting engaged. A wedding planner will work with the couple right through to post-wedding celebrations and event bump-out!
Hiring a full-service wedding planner does not mean that you lose control over your wedding. Each decision is still entirely yours, and the best bits of wedding planning are there for you to enjoy. Nonetheless, you gain the benefit of having an experienced professional by your side to act as a sounding board. You also get access to their support and guidance at each stage of the planning process.
Having an experienced planner on the ground with local knowledge and connections is invaluable. You can be as involved as you want to be—if you have a super busy life and don’t have the 200+ hours it takes on average to dedicate to planning your wedding, then you can let your planner lead. Natasha from The Wildflower Wedding Planner’s approach is very much one of collaboration with the couple. She strives to create a partnership with each of her couples, really getting to know their values, interests and aspirations for their wedding day. She also ensures that they curate something that truly reflects the relevant couple.
Full-service wedding planning is the most comprehensive option and covers every step of the wedding journey, including:
- Finding the perfect venue
- Site and venue visits
- Detailed budget breakdown with suggested allocations and management to ensure you stay on track throughout
- Sourcing, recommending and liaising with your team of suppliers who will make your dream day
- Styling and design—from creating mood boards and colour palettes, to tablescape design and reception décor styling, bringing your vision to life
- Scheduling planning meetings with caterers, hair and makeup trials, bridal boutique appointments and venue meetings
- Guest and RSVP management
- Venue set up the day prior and post wedding clean-up
- Creation of a wedding day timeline, to be circulated to all suppliers
- Discreet wedding day management from beginning to the very end. This includes all of the tasks mentioned above that a coordinator would carry out
Whichever option you select, wedding planners and coordinators do all the heavy lifting on the big day so you and your beloved can concentrate on getting hitched.