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Wedding Coordinator vs. Venue Coordinator: What’s the Difference?

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Have you been wondering what the difference is between wedding coordinators vs venue coordinators? We’re breaking down their duties and benefits of each so you can make an informed choice.

Wedding Coordinator vs. Venue Coordinator: What’s the Difference?

Deciding to work with a wedding planner or wedding coordinator is largely a personal preference. Some couples love having the extra assistance and guidance while they plan. On the flip side, others are perfectly content to coordinate their entire wedding day on their own. Unlike deciding to hire a photographer, working with a planner is not a must-do. But, a great planner is almost always worth it because she will help to minimize stress and allow you to enjoy being a GUEST at your own wedding (the goal!).

Although opting to work with a planner is a choice that’s up to you, there is a factor that should not influence your decision: your venue has a coordinator.

To put it simply, wedding planners and coordinators are NOT the same as venue coordinators. Both are important in a wedding’s overall success, but they perform vastly different functions. Below, we’re breaking down the key differences so you can make an informed decision about the pros you would like present on your wedding day.

1. You vs. Venue:

The most important difference between a wedding coordinator and a venue coordinator is a wedding coordinator works for you. A venue coordinator works for the venue. This means you and your partner (along with your wedding party and guests) will always be your wedding planner’s primary concern. On the flip side, the venue and the venue’s team will always be the primary concern for a venue coordinator.

Another way to look at it? You pay a wedding planner; a venue pays the coordinator. In any industry, we always make sure to answer to the group who is directly paying us. 😉

2. In Advance vs. Day Of:   

Great venue coordinators will get to know you and your partner in advance of your wedding. And, many are happy to hear from you to answer questions and provide at least some guidance. However, if you’re hoping to work with a wedding pro well in advance of your wedding day, a wedding coordinator is the one you want.

Wedding coordinators typically have various packages ranging from full and partial planning to month of or day of wedding coordination (some will call it “wedding management”). This means you will work with your wedding planner to do things like find and choose vendors, source details, and tie up loose ends together.

In contrast, the most interaction you will have with your venue coordinator is on your wedding day and possibly a few days before. Their goal is to make your reception, in particular, a wonderful success at their venue.

Related: How to Plan Your Own Wedding Like a Pro in 15 Steps

3. Entire Team vs. Venue Staff:

One of the reasons many couples choose to work with a wedding planner is to have assistance coordinating their team of professionals. A wedding planner will get in touch with all of the vendors who will be on-site on your wedding day, and he/she will make sure to understand their needs (i.e.: items they may need, arrival and departure times, contractual agreements, etc.). From there, a wedding planner will create a wedding day timeline to keep everyone on the same page. Think of a wedding planner like a team captain who is looking at the big picture all day long.

A venue coordinator is still equally important, but their role is on a more micro level. They are in charge of ensuring the venue is prepared for your wedding day. Often, they will guide rental deliveries and room layouts, advise the catering staff, and keep the venue’s team on the same page. They will also ensure you’re having a great day at the venue. Their focus is more singular, which is important. But, if you’re looking for “big picture” assistance, a wedding planner is the one you will want to hire.   

4. All Day vs. Reception Only:

Because wedding coordinators are involved in all of the day’s details, most arrive in the morning when hair and makeup is underway. Then they stay until the end of the night. In between arriving and leaving, planners keep everyone on the page, assuage everyone’s nerves, problem solve, and ensure you’re having a wonderful day. Wedding planners also coordinate both the ceremony and the reception (this is key!). 

Because they are tied to the venue, venue coordinators are onsite at the venue. Unless you’re getting ready at your venue or reciting your vows during an on-site ceremony, you will not see your venue coordinator until you arrive at your reception.

If you feel your wedding day has minimal moving parts and you’re happy to coordinate your own day, a venue coordinator will likely do the trick. However, if you feel you want someone by your side for the entire day, look into working with a wedding coordinator.

5. Included vs. Additional Fee:

Think of a venue coordinator like a company’s representative. They are the face of the venue and your go-to contact for your reception. Because venues want you to have a direct contact and because they also need a team captain, most venues have a coordinator. They’re included in the price you’re paying for the venue because they have to be there to manage the needs of the space and the staff.

On the other end of the spectrum are wedding planners/coordinators. The cost to work with a coordinator is always additional because, much like a photographer, videographer, or florist, they are working directly for and with you. When you are choosing to work with a wedding planner, you are choosing to hire a personal representative of sorts to help to guide your way.

One has to be present; the other is a choice. Both are valuable.

You Need Both:

Though we wanted to clearly state the differences between wedding coordinators and venue coordinators, we also want to make another point clear:

You’ll probably need both.

A venue coordinator knows everything about the venue, but may know less about the minute details. A planner will know everything about the details but may not know every fact about the venue. Both will lean on each other and communicate constantly throughout your wedding. Together, they will create a balance that will make your wedding feel effortless.  

In this case (and many others), two is better than one.

Do you have any additional questions about wedding coordinators or venue coordinators? Join our community and join the conversation!


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