Wedding Planner Or Wedding Venue Coordinator?


Who to hire? A wedding planner or wedding venue coordinator? Perhaps you’re thinking that because your chosen venue already has an onside coordinator that you won’t need to hire a wedding planner.

True story …. It was my last wedding of 2020. Everything was going great, bride-beaming, and bridesmaids all in a row. Then out of nowhere, the groom suddenly approaches me and utters a potentially terrifying statement, “I have something to confess.”

Ready for anything, (after all I am an event planner), I ask him what’s going on and after a subtle pause, he said, “In the beginning, I really thought it was a waste of money to hire a wedding planner.  I mean, I knew we already had a “kick-ass” onsite venue wedding coordinator, but I look at my wife’s smile and think all you have done for us and I gotta say, I was so wrong!”  

Many brides and grooms have asked us whether they should hire a wedding planner or a wedding venue coordinator. Let me share my experience with you, having worked both as an in-house wedding venue coordinator and as an outside wedding planner. I’ll explain the differences and the values in both. 

The Best of Both Worlds

I worked in hotels for a long time, before becoming a part of Amy Abbott Events. My job was onsite venue wedding coordinator, working side by side with many amazing wedding planners. I can now safely tell you, there’s a huge difference between the two positions and you don’t necessarily have to choose between one or the other. 

The truth is that you need both. You need to work with a planner who is experienced in working with the venue and has a strong understanding of event planning. Team that with someone in-house who supports not only the hotel but wedding coordinator goals. Teamwork between the wedding planner and the wedding venue coordinator is essential for the event to be a success. 

What’s The Difference?

Both a wedding planner and a wedding event coordinator have different roles. I am happy to share the differences with you here.

The main difference is the scope of services. The wedding venue coordinator is in charge of selling the venue and coordinating every happening, including onsite room reservations. He or she is the go-to person at the venue for everything. And I mean everything. Anything the newlyweds and their guests need with respect to room reservations, food, beverage, and anything hotel /venue related. 

The wedding planner steps in the moment a clients ask for something outside of the venue. That’s because the wedding venue coordinators don’t have the leeway to go the extra mile for them. The reason for this is not because they don’t want to assist. It’s because they likely have several events, site tours, and other contracts, weddings and groups to assist with. 

For example, a venue may do 50 more weddings or corporate events a year. Those events are usually handled by only one or two wedding venue coordinators. That translates to a full-time commitment to the venue and limited time to take care of the actual event details.  Don’t worry, that is where your offsite wedding planner comes in. We are the ones that handle the endless details of the entire wedding weekend. 

The Art & Dedication Of A Wedding Planner

As a wedding planner, I am first and foremost an advocate for my happy couple. There’s a stronger bond with the bride and groom because you want to make sure their dreams become a reality for their special day. The really fun part is getting to know them, learning their personal style and finding options for curating their event to their specifications.

Wedding planners walk with their couple step by step through the planning entire process. We turn their wedding vision board into amazing moments and life-long memories. Flowers, place settings, music, food, stationary, and even little things that are not part of the original plan. We’re in charge of the big-picture logistics and looking after all the details from beginning to end. We are fiercely devoted to our clients.

Vendor Relationships

Another important thing to mention is the vendors that each person chooses to work with. Generally, a wedding venue coordinator has a preferred vendor list that they provide to the couple. This list can include everyone from photographers to florists. However, that list will only have a limited number of vendors and not necessarily the ones that are the fit best for you.

As wedding planners, we maintain relationships with a multitude of vendors and make it a point to match couples with vendors that meet their style and budget. We put extra effort to find the perfect photographer who will take the right pictures for our couples or the right band for them to dance to the entire night. 

Wedding Planners Wear Many Hats

During the actual wedding day, wedding planners have different roles. In contrast, an onsite wedding venue coordinator is focused on the performance of the venue. Depending on the venue, this can mean juggling multiple weddings on the same day.

Wedding planners make sure to follow the wedding timeline we have worked on during the planning process. We ensure that the vendors arrive on time and that they execute what our clients expect. We make sure the design looks as planned. There may be last-minute changes or requests and we ensure they are done perfectly. Most importantly, we focus on you and on making sure you enjoy one of the most important days of your life. 

In conclusion, I would say that having a wedding planner and onsite wedding venue coordinator is imperative. A wedding planner is like having an incredibly helpful confidante who is with you from start to finish of your wedding celebrations. And, it’s super helpful to have a wedding venue coordinator as a liaison. They serve as a great addition to your wedding day, as they understand the ins and outs of the venue itself.

In a perfect world, having both would be ideal so my best advice would be this, you should only be in charge of having the best time of your life, working as a team with the venue coordinator we’ll handle everything else!

‘Till the next event!