Wedding Planner and Venue Coordinator

As you have started down the path of your wedding planning journey, you are probably encountering lots of new words or terms the Wedding Industry likes to use that you may or may not be familiar with. While I have written an entire blog around Wedding Terminology, in this blog we are going to break down two of the most commonly used terms: “Venue Coordinator” and “Wedding Planner”. 

ariel view of reception space designed and planned by a wedding planner
Photo by Enes Çelik on

There are several key differences between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator, but sometimes it’s not immediately clear from the start of your wedding planning experience as to what any of these roles are there for. The difference between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner lies in the key responsibilities leading up to the wedding day and during the wedding day. While exact responsibilities will differ depending on the service provider and package you have chosen, I would love to provide a high-level overview of the differences between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator. 

I also want to be very clear; there is tremendous value in both the Venue Coordinator and Wedding Planner Roles alike. They are both equally as valuable and play significantly different roles that are imperative to the success of any Wedding Day. The point is, just as a videographer varies from a photographer, your Venue Coordinator and Wedding Planner do not have the same responsibilities or support the same work as one another. 

So without further ado, let’s break down the difference between these two roles based on the different phases of your planning journey.  

The Wedding Planning Process

When planning a wedding, wedding planners work hand in hand with couples to ensure the day runs smoothly. 

After you have selected your venue, Wedding planners are there to help the couple create a comprehensive budget, and a cohesive design, as well as are there to source your wedding vendor team that is parallel with your style, personality, and budget. If perhaps you have not selected your venue, your Full Service Wedding Planner can ensure you have venue options to choose from that match your overall budget comfortability and aesthetic with a nonbiased opinion of any of the venue space(s). 

Wedding planners will typically attend your vendor meetings with all of your vendors as support on your behalf, review all contracts prior to you signing them, and provide minute-by-minute timelines, floorplan, seating chart creation and guidance, as well as RSVP management support.  

On the other hand, the venue coordinator is there from the initial venue inquiry you submit, supports you on your on-site venue visits, and may (or may not) give you a list of approved or recommended vendors to research on your own. Having a list of potential vendors is helpful, but you will ultimately be responsible for all of the leg work in reaching out to each vendor to determine if the price point and overall style fall within your budget, vision, and availability and that you are a good fit for each other.  

Ultimately, a wedding planner works with couples to execute their unique dream wedding day, is the couple’s biggest advocate throughout the planning and decision-making process, and provides streamlined updates to the client and their entire vendor teams every step of the way, whereas a venue coordinator offers generic guidance and support as it relates to the venue itself.

Wedding Stationery Detail Photo by Carolina Jean Photography

The Wedding Day

On the wedding day, wedding planners represent the wants and needs of the couple. Venue coordinators represent the property and focus their time on the property and maintenance of the property and space. 

It’s important to remember that your contract is with the venue and not the venue coordinator, so their main focus is the venue itself rather than you as a couple. 

There are several key differences between wedding planners and venue coordinators on the wedding day. 

Let’s uncover them here. 

The Wedding Ceremony

If included in your service package, wedding planners will attend and direct your off-site wedding ceremony. This also typically includes attending and directing your wedding rehearsal as well! The venue coordinator wouldn’t be responsible for an off-site ceremony or any conduction of the ceremony itself, on or off property. Venue coordinators are there to unlock the doors, make sure all the facilities are in order, and be the host of the space and property, but your Wedding Planning Team acts as the director for all of the moving pieces that are involved in the Ceremony such as letting all of your wedding party and family know where to stand when to walk down the aisle, and what to do during the ceremony.   

wedding seating chart wrapped in spring colored florals

The Wedding Reception

The wedding planner has the couple’s happiness and wedding vision as the primary focus of the day. They keep the couple and their VIPs in the loop throughout the day’s events and adjust the timeline for any day of shifts needed, including getting ready, set up, cocktail hour, and wedding reception. 

Additionally, wedding planners set out personal items for the couple such as the guest book, special toasting flutes, etc. as well as pack it all up at the end of the night with all of the gifts and cards for safekeeping. Throughout the reception, the wedding planner ensures things such as wedding party introductions, toasts, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc. stay on track. Wedding planners are leading the vendor teams for load in, set up, and overall timeline flow throughout the reception. Having a wedding planner ensures the venue coordinator can focus on the logistical things such as parking, restrooms, power, set up of tables and chairs (if included), house catering and bar, and staffing (if in-house). Venue coordinators will likely stay until dinner is underway, while a wedding planner stays the entirety of the event and through clean up. Wedding Planners are also there to create, direct, oversee, and execute any inclement weather back ups plan if needed. 

When it is all said and done, the primary difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator is their relationship with you, the couple getting married! 

A wedding planner’s focus is on making sure your wants and needs are met, whereas a venue coordinator is focused on ensuring the venue is well-maintained and well-represented. They are both equally as important to ensure the overall success of the Wedding day but are quite different beasts when it comes down to the specific tasks each role represents throughout the process and on your Wedding Day. My calendar is always open if you would like any additional clarification on the important attributes each role represents on your Wedding Day and throughout the process of planning your Wedding. Feel free to book a quick chat here!