A few months ago, a colleague, Jenna Tracy, made a blog post about wedding planners versus venue coordinators. Maybe you’ve already read it. If not, you can take a look at it here.

Basically, Jenna’s premise is that oftentimes, brides make the mistake of thinking they do not need a wedding planner if there is a venue coordinator. Due to this misconception, Jenna dives into the differences between the two professions. And while I agree with Jenna’s viewpoint, I’d like to delve a little deeper into the topic to give you an insider’s viewpoint. 

You see, while Jenna has been working in this industry for quite some time now, I  have a slightly different perspective because I have been in the hospitality industry over 25 years (Gasp! That’s a long time, I know) and I have extensive knowledge of the “nitty-gritty”  when it comes to wedding planning.

Here are three of the crucial points made in  Jenna’s post.… 

Point #1: With a wedding planner, Y-O-U are the client! Whether virtual or in-person, a wedding planner is in charge of the same tasks. An event coordinator works for the venue and is typically looking out for their best interest. 

Jenna made an extremely important point here, one that I’ve made a fair number of  times myself. The crux of the matter is that a wedding planner’s focus is entirely on the couple. A common overlooked option is a virtual planner; however a virtual planner gives more flexibility regarding schedule and time.

Wedding planners often only accept a certain number of clients a year to ensure their undivided attention is given to clients during the planning process and on the wedding day. Venue coordinators are responsible for all events happening on-site; it is not their job to focus entirely on every couple’s event. And while Jenna feels that the venue coordinator could possibly take the initiative to contact vendors for the reception, that is a high risk. Too much responsibility is being placed on an employee of the venue when tasks being asked of them are not in their job description.  I see ensuring an efficient wedding planner is hired to handle the event coordinator as a better solution to this problem. 

In other words, I’d take it a step further and handle all communication with the venue coordinator. This would streamline the process, helping to set expectations upfront and schedule communication with preferred vendors. I would  negotiate on my client’s behalf, with their best interest in mind.

Point #2: Wedding planners help plan and execute every detail about the day, as well as all the details leading up to the wedding. It is essential for wedding planners to ensure the couple knows the planner’s role and responsibilities, as well as why everyone should be hiring a planner!

Here’s another important point that’s been championed by some of the biggest names  in the industry, including Colin Cowie, Mindy Weiss and Sarah Haywood. It is not the venue coordinator’s responsibility to handle styling, timelines, guest management, and all those stressful factors that come with wedding planning. A wedding planner’s purpose is to seamlessly (in the bride’s eyes) pull off her dream wedding.

Now don’t get me wrong:

I support brides who choose not to hire wedding planners too. However, a point which I feel bears repeating – is that we can’t keep assuming brides know the difference between wedding planners and venue coordinators. The invention of web searching gives brides an inaccurate portrayal of simplicity in taking on wedding planning and all it entails.  Planners must properly communicate with brides to help them understand the significance of hiring a wedding planner; you cannot have a lack of understanding without eventually risking unnecessary stress and more work for the bride. 2020 has only increased demand for virtual wedding planners and brought to light the fact that this option is practical. An added bonus: meetings can be just as efficient and can be done from the comfort of your own home!

So here are the guidelines I suggest that industry leaders follow whenever they are asked why their services are necessary:

  • Keep the bride calm and assure her you will help bring her vision to life.
  • Make brides feel comfortable and clearly identify the extensive knowledge you have of the industry (beyond surface level questions!)

In addition, I think it’s also a good idea for venue coordinators to recommend wedding planners to brides. Doing so will help the bride delegate time-consuming tasks to someone else while increasing the chances of having a smooth, successful wedding day.

Point #3: Communication is often unlimited with wedding planners; however, with venue coordinators, communication is typically limited to business hours.

Finally, I’d like to just briefly touch on this point, because effective communication between bride and planner is essential in creating the wedding vision and ensuring all details are being properly taken care of. Again, location of clients and planner should never be an issue for concern. Let’s take advantage of the technology available and not let distance interfere with hiring the best suitable planner to handle your wedding preparations.

Overall, I agree with Jenna that we should offer additional hours to brides and be in constant contact. But once again,  I’d go the extra mile by giving my brides access to a personalized wedding website that allows them to see the event details and status throughout the planning process.


In summary…

Jenna Tracy really did this industry a great service when she brought up the  topic of understanding the difference between a wedding planner and venue coordinator. 

I’d just add that in addition to understanding the benefits of hiring a wedding planner, virtual planners are equally as effective and dedicated to you. Couples  should be fully aware of the advantages and benefits. After all, the goal of any planner is to turn a vision into reality! 

Will you consider using a virtual wedding planner?