Wedding Planner vs a Venue Coordinator


Is there really a difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator?

I have a venue coordinator, so do I need a wedding planner? Yes there is a HUGE difference! And yes you need a wedding planner!!! (And since your reading this I am guessing you already know that deep down!)

One of the biggest misconceptions newly engaged couples have is the difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator. It’s pretty common for a couple to say to themselves “our venue provides a coordinator so we don’t really need a wedding planner/coordinator.”  Especially since quite a few venues sell their in house coordinator as a wedding planner substitute. Trust me, this is not the case!

But let’s be real for a moment: your venue coordinator is NOT a wedding planner! Understanding the difference between the two will save you from unnecessary stress and potential disaster as you get closer to your wedding day.  


Wedding management set up of florals

Brooke Borough Photography Holman Ranch wedding with Seascape Florals

This is not meant to slight venue coordinators. Venue coordinators are great. I love them. I work with venue coordinators all the time and they are an integral part of the wedding day. However, this is the most important difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator: venue coordinators are advocates for the venue; I am an advocate for you as a couple.

Venue Coordinators are looking out for the venues best interests, not the couple! And why wouldn’t they? The venue signs their paychecks!

So you are probably saying, “Ok great, but what does that mean? What do you do that a venue doesn’t?”  Essentially it boils down to this: your venue coordinator is responsible for things specifically related to the venue – serving the meal, bathrooms, and set up for example. Your wedding planner is responsible for everything having to do with YOU and YOUR WEDDING! 

 Let’s dive into what this difference means exactly. Below are some of the most important differences between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner:


1. Let’s talk about availability!

 In most cases, a venue coordinator will have so many weddings per year they will struggle to even remember what you look like. This means your emails, phone calls and questions are not a top priority for them. Furthermore, hotels and others in the service industry tend to have high employee turnover. The venue coordinator you first deal with may not be there the day of your wedding. (This has happened to so many of my couples I have lost count). 

For better or worse, being a wedding planner means I am available to my couples whenever they need me, throughout the process. From the planning at the very start of your engagement until the very last guest leaves on the day of – I will be there supporting you. On the day of your wedding it is highly likely the venue coordinator will leave once the meal is served.  Guess what? There is still a ton that needs to be done! There are so many details to manage during and after dinner, including toasts, dances, and packing up. Who will ensure that mom and dad aren’t in the bathroom for your first dance? A wedding planner. 


2. The Venue and the Ceremony

The venue coordinator deals with issues specific to the venue. Depending on the venue this could include food, tables, chairs, and the timeline relating to food service. If they offer catering, then they focus on making sure they have the correct number of kitchen and waitstaff available. 

However, the coordinator does not coordinate your ceremony. To be quite honest, they most likely won’t even know who is supposed to walking down the aisle. They certainly won’t know what songs you’ve selected, who sits in the front rows, and the list goes on. This falls on your wedding planner. 

Escort Card Display at Tehama

Megan Welker Photography, Florals by Fionna Floral, Venue Tehama Golf Club

3. Vendors

A venue coordinator might give you a list of preferred vendors. For the vast majority of venues this is the extent of their involvement. 

A wedding planner, on the other hand, is the main point of contact for your vendors. Depending on your level of service booked your planner will schedule and attend your meetings with vendors. Your planner will collect insurance, agreement, timelines, and other bits of information needed from your vendors. Your wedding planner can do more than just give you a list, they can offer candid advice on vendors based on real experience. Perhaps most important of all, if your vendor is having any type of issue the day of, they contact your planner, who then works their magic to put out any fires. 


4. Planning and timelines

A venue might have a timeline relating to food and serving times, and is created primarily for the kitchen and wait staff. 

Wedding planners, on the other hand work with you to create a detailed timeline so you know where you will be from the moment you wake up until the doors close and the last guest has gone home, often for the entire weekend not just the wedding day. A wedding planner will know everything about your wedding and everyone involved. Not only that, but if there are any issues with your timeline (and there probably will be some), your wedding planner will take care of it for you, so you don’t have to worry! We truly do it all. 


As you can now see, there are a number of duties that make a wedding planner very different and a very essential part of your wedding day. The basics of it is again, that we advocate and work for you to ensure that your wedding runs like clockwork and looks beautiful too. We are here from start to finish to plan, design, solve and execute all the details that go into a wedding day.


Bridal Party walking on sandy beach in Pebble Beach

Molly B Photo, Monterey Peninsula Country Club Wedding

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