What Are the Differences Between a Wedding Planner, Wedding Coordinator & Wedding Designer?
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What Are the Differences Between a Wedding Planner, Wedding Coordinator & Wedding Designer?

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I’m so excited to have Taia Alvarado of White Willow Events—a wedding planner based in Lafayette, Indiana—as a guest blogger! 

Taia is one of my absolute favorite wedding planners to work with because she is this amazing combination of organized and creative. She brings weddings better than her couples ever could’ve imagined to life and bends over backwards to make sure brides and grooms enjoy every second of their big day. 

White Willow Events offers wedding planning, coordination, and design services, and I can’t recommend Taia and her team enough!

Ceremony details done by the wedding designer.

Wedding planner? Wedding coordinator? Wedding designer? They’re all one in the same, right?

Not exactly. While some duties overlap, these wedding pros play different roles in the wedding planning process, and understanding what each does and is responsible for can help you determine whether a planner, coordinator, or designer is right for you. 

With this in mind, I’m excited to explain the differences between a wedding planner, wedding coordinator, and wedding designer in hopes of making the wedding planning process less stressful and more fun for you and your fiancé!

 

Wedding Planner: A professional who assists with the planning, design, & management of a wedding.

Arch decor done by the wedding designer.

While a wedding coordinator and wedding designer’s responsibilities would come into play closer to your big day, a wedding planner would be with you every step of the way during the wedding planning process.

Wedding planners essentially handle all aspects and logistics of a wedding with your wedding goals and priorities in mind. You can think of your wedding planner as a project manager in charge of making your dream wedding possible and engagement relaxing! 

 

A Wedding Planner’s Responsibilities

A wedding planner’s responsibilities typically include:

  • Budget creation and management (You set the budget, but your planner can help you determine if your budget is realistic for your vision and how to best invest your budget.)
  • Task list creation (What needs to be done nine months prior, six months, prior, etc.)
  • Vendor recommendations and negotiations (Wedding planners know which vendors are reliable and talented and can help you assemble a dream team of wedding vendors!)
  • Ceremony and reception site visits
  • Attending meetings with you and your vendors to help get all items figured out and offer guidance and expertise
  • Helping with guest management, accommodations, and activities
  • Wedding day timeline creation
  • Wedding day floor plan creation
  • Creation and management of transportation timelines
  • Orchestrating and managing the rehearsal
  • Orchestrating and managing the wedding day, ceremony, and reception (This includes managing vendors, making sure timelines are followed, handling any issues that arise, and making sure that your vision for your wedding is executed.)
  • Setting up and tearing down of items that have been brought in by you or the planner 

Wedding planners typically put in more than 150 hours of work into planning a couple’s big day, and only approximately 15 of these hours occur on a couple’s actual wedding day. 

In other words, a wedding planner is very involved in the planning process and can serve as your go-to person for almost all wedding responsibilities. And, working with a wedding planner can relieve lots of stress for you both during your engagement AND on your wedding day!

 

Wedding Coordinator: An individual who is focused on the coordination of the logistics of a wedding.

Decor put together by the wedding designer.

While a wedding planner would be involved during your entire planning process, a wedding coordinator—on the other hand—usually gets involved with the coordination of a wedding about one month before the big day. 

This is because wedding coordinators don’t plan weddings; they more so execute and oversee what a couple has already planned to relieve stress on the wedding day itself. 

 

A Wedding Coordinator’s Responsibilities

A wedding coordinator’s responsibilities typically include:

  • Managing vendors (This doesn’t include choosing or hiring vendors. This simply includes making sure vendors are on the same page.) 
  • Creating timelines
  • Final walk through of ceremony and reception
  • Orchestrating and managing the rehearsal
  • Orchestrating and managing the wedding day, ceremony, and reception (This includes managing vendors, making sure timelines are followed, handling any issues that arise, and making sure that the plans you’ve made for your wedding are executed.)
  • Setting up and tearing down of items that have been brought in by you or the coordinator

Wedding coordinators usually put in about 25 to 40 hours per wedding with approximately 15 of those hours being worked on a couple’s actual wedding day. 

Basically, with a wedding coordinator, you would be in charge of planning your wedding, but your coordinator would be in charge of implementing and overseeing the plans you and your fiancé have made so you can enjoy your wedding day without needing to worry about any logistics on your big day!

 

Wedding Designer: Someone who helps with the aesthetics & overall design of the wedding.

Focused table settings done by the wedding designer.

While both wedding planners and wedding coordinators focus on the logistics of a wedding day in varying ways, wedding designers focus on the aesthetic of a wedding day. In other words, wedding designers are in charge of decor and bringing the visual part of your dream wedding to life! 

 

A Wedding Designer’s Responsibilities

A wedding designer’s responsibilities typically include:

  • Wedding day floor plan creation
  • Budget management and creation for all design 
  • Outsourcing for specialty decor, rental, or props
  • Site visit to help create your visual statement
  • Execution and management of all decor items on your wedding day
  • Handling the setup and tear down of all decor items that have been brought in by the designer
  • Making sure your aesthetic vision is complete

Between meeting with you and your fiancé to understand what you want your wedding to look like, creating a design for your big day, setting up, and tearing down, designers typically put in 40 to 60 hours per wedding. 

Whether you consider yourself a creative person or not, handling your own decor can be both time consuming and costly. (Wedding designers often have linens and other decor on hand that you can rent for far less than buying.) As a result, utilizing a wedding designer can save you a lot of stress and even money!

 

Which is right for you? 

Wedding coordinators, wedding planners, and wedding designers bring different skill sets to the table. Now that you’re familiar with each, it’s time to think about which wedding pro is (or pros are) right for you!

If you would like to have assistance and a knowledgeable, go-to person throughout the entire wedding planning process, you’ll likely want to work with a wedding planner. While more expensive, a wedding planner will be truly responsible for making your dream wedding a reality. 

You’ll likely also want to work with a wedding planner if you lead a busy life and simply don’t have time to think about all of the details required to plan your big day. 

If you’d like to be responsible for planning your wedding but want to be able to soak up and thoroughly enjoy your wedding day, a wedding coordinator might be the perfect option for you. With a coordinator, you’ll essentially plan your big day, and your coordinator will be in charge of making sure everything goes as planned and nothing stresses you out on the day you marry your best friend. 

While you won’t want to hire both a planner and a coordinator, you can use a wedding designer solely or in tandem with a planner or coordinator. Again, wedding designers oversee the aesthetics and decor of your wedding. They’re in charge of bringing your dream wedding to life visually and can save you a lot of time and stress by taking charge of all decor.

To decide whether a wedding planner, wedding coordinator, or wedding designer are right for you, you essentially need to decide how much planning you would like to do personally and how much assistance you would like to have. 

I hope this helps you better understand the differences between a wedding planner, wedding coordinator, or wedding designer. Ultimately, you want to enjoy your wedding day, and I recommend going with whichever wedding pros will allow you to relax and soak up every precious moment!

 

About Taia Alvarado of White Willow Events

Taia AlvaradoTaia Alvarado is a certified wedding planner and the owner and operator of White Willow Events in Lafayette, Indiana. 

Taia started out as a floral designer specializing in wedding and event floral design. Her favorite part of her job was working directly with clients, and as a result, her love for flowers, design, and couples grew into a love for planning weddings and events. 

Taia only accepts a handful of clients per year to ensure that she can deliver exceptional and unparalleled service. As your wedding planner, she will be at your side at every turn, making sure each and every detail gets the attention it deserves. 

White Willow Events offers wedding planning, coordination, and design services, and Taia would be more than happy to help you decide which services are right for you. 

You can find and contact White Willow Events on their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest


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