Wedding Planners vs. Day-of Coordinators: Which Is Right for You? | White Willow Events
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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!

Wedding Coordinator placing centerpieces.

When it come to wedding planning, most brides sway one of two directions:

  1. “I have no idea what I’m doing. HELP!”
  2. “I can’t wait to plan my wedding. In fact, planning weddings might be my calling!”

No matter which of these statements resonates with you more, most brides have one thing in common: They want to enjoy every moment of their wedding day without having to be stressed about any logistics or issues on the big day itself. 

To make this possible, arguably the most effective thing you can do is hire a wedding planner or wedding coordinator (also referred to as a day-of coordinator).

But, do you know the differences between a wedding planner and coordinator or which might be right for you and your fiancé? If not, no worries! 

Today, we’re going to go over wedding planners vs. day-of coordinators and how to determine which of these weddings pros is right for you, your personality, and your celebration!


What are the differences between a wedding planner & a wedding coordinator?

Finished work from the wedding designer.

Before we dive into which is right for you, we need to compare wedding planners vs. day-of coordinators.

You can see a full list and comparison of each of these professional’s responsibilities here. But, basically, wedding planners are involved and offer guidance through the entire wedding planning process, while day-of coordinators get involved closer to the big day and are in charge of overseeing and implementing the plans a couple has already made. 

What are the differences between a wedding planner, wedding coordinator, & a wedding designer?


What does a wedding planner do?

If you decide to work with a wedding planner, you’ll essentially have a knowledgeable, go-to person throughout the entire wedding planning process (approximately 12 months). 

Wedding planners can help with everything from budget management and vendor selection to overseeing every detail on the big day itself. (Just to clarify, a wedding coordinator will be with you both during the planning process AND on your big day to oversee all logistics.) As a result, a wedding planner will relieve stress for you both during your engagement and on your wedding day!

Side note: If you’ve already started planning your wedding (e.g. chosen your date, venue, photographer, etc.) but think you’d now like to work with a wedding planner to make arrangements for the rest of your big day, many planners offer partial planning services. Don’t be afraid to ask about partial planning!


What does a wedding coordinator do?

While wedding planners get involved with weddings approximately 12 months before the big day, day-of wedding coordinators’ responsibilities take place specifically on wedding days—hence the name! (Most coordinators are in serious communication with couples four weeks before the wedding to make sure everything is on track and that expectations are understood.)

On your wedding day, a wedding coordinator will manage your vendors, make sure your timeline is being followed, handle any issues that arise, and make sure that the plans you’ve made for your wedding are executed. (To clarify, wedding planners do the same in addition to helping you physically plan your wedding.)


Ask yourself these three questions to determine whether a wedding planner or day-of coordinator is right for you. 

The finished decorated arch by the wedding designer.

Now that you understand the differences between wedding planners and day-of coordinators (Again, you can see a further breakdown here!), let’s break down which wedding pro is right for you! 

To get started, you’ll need to consider three questions:


Do you have the budget for a wedding planner or day-of coordinator?

Because wedding planners put in more hours, wedding planners are often more expensive than coordinators

Just to give you an idea, the average wedding planner puts in more than 150 hours into a wedding, while wedding coordinators work approximately 25 to 40 hours per wedding. (These numbers include work that happens before and on a wedding day.)

Depending on where you’re hosting your wedding (country, state, region, etc.), the cost of wedding planners and coordinators vary, but one thing to keep in mind is that wedding planners plan weddings professionally. As a result, they have experience effectively stretching and spending wedding budgets (no matter the size), and with their guidance, you may be able to save money in the long run!


How much time do you have/want to dedicate to wedding planning?

In addition to your budget, it’s also important to think about the amount of time you can realistically spend focusing on wedding planning. 

If you have a hectic work schedule, lead a busy life, or just aren’t interested in thinking about all the little details that go into preparing for a wedding, a wedding planner is likely your best option. 

With a wedding planner, you’ll have a go-to person to handle and oversee all of the wedding-related things you don’t have time or the desire to do. Think of your wedding planner as the project manager for your big day responsible for bringing your dream wedding to life! 

If you’re excited to dedicate your time to wedding planning, on the other hand, and want to be responsible for any and all wedding decisions, a wedding coordinator might be a better fit for you. 

With a coordinator, you would be responsible for planning your celebration, but on your wedding day itself, you can take a deep breath knowing that your coordinator will handle implementation and any issues that may arise. 


How much guidance & assistance would you like to have while planning your wedding?

Last but not least, it’s important to consider how much help you’d like to have during the wedding planning process. 

Yes, your family and friends can help; however, a wedding planner’s job is to assist and guide you through all things wedding. As a result, wedding planners can give you suggestions based on their professional experience, recommend credible vendors, and answer any questions you might have. 

Because wedding coordinators are strictly responsible for the logistics of a wedding day, a wedding coordinator wouldn’t offer guidance during the planning process. If you’re excited to do your own research and truly plan your own wedding, there’s nothing wrong with this!


There isn’t a wrong answer!

The Bride and Groom

When it comes to wedding planners vs. day-of coordinators, there isn’t a wrong answer. You ultimately just need to decide how involved you’d like to be when it comes to planning your wedding and which professional will allow you and your fiancé to enjoy your engagement and wedding day most. 

Just remember that you only get to plan and celebrate your wedding once. And, you want this to be a fun, memorable season and NOT a stressful one. Both a wedding planner and day-of wedding coordinator can help you accomplish exactly that! 


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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