November 24th, 2012

What is the difference between an on-site coordinator and an independent wedding planner?

I get this question a lot.  So folks, here it is…

Why do I need to hire a wedding planner when my venue includes an on-site wedding coordinator?”

This is a question that I get A LOT. It’s a valid question, but the misconception here is that the roles of the venue on-site coordinator is the same as those of an independent wedding planner.

Both are equally important but have different roles.

Many venues offer the convenience of having an on-site coordinator, but that doesn’t mean you should brush off the idea of hiring a wedding planner. While venue coordinators are VERY good at what they do, their roles are limited to the venue. The on-site coordinator is there to represent the property, but not necessarily the bride and groom themselves. Their job is to sell the venue to you, answer questions about the venue, provide a preferred list of vendors, assist with room layout and tasting, and ensure that you follow the rules and regulations that govern the use of the space. They help you with the day of coordination and the very simple logistics of your wedding.

So, why should you hire a Wedding Planner?

An Independent Wedding Planner, on the other hand will take care of you from beginning to end, and help you plan every last detail of your wedding. There are really no boundaries. A planner is in business to focus on YOU, to help you with your dream and vision from start to finish-helping you with your timeline, your décor, fresh ideas, doing research for your wedding, coming up with design boards, and MUCH more.

Rather than managing your every wish for your wedding day, the On-site venue coordinator will make sure that everything is up to par with the venue’s contract, ensure that the kitchen is staffed, and that they’re sound system is working properly. Your wedding planner will be there every step of the way, making sure you’re getting not only what your venue’s contract states, but what all of your vendors’ contracts state. They’ll get to know you and your soon-to-be spouse, and will represent you and your wishes, not just the property

Some venues have more than one reception going at the same time, and the on-site coordinator might be juggling multiple events. Often times an on-site coordinator’s job concludes after dinner is served and you may never see them again for the remainder of the reception. Another issue you may face is not having the same person to work with on your wedding day that you’ve been talking and meeting with all of these months. Turnover tends to be high at venues, especially hotels, and it’s a definite possibility. Most venues handle transition well and very professionally, but you will need to evaluate whether you are the type of person who can handle a potential change of a major player on your wedding team.

Venue coordinators are very good at what they do, however the role of a venue coordinator and Wedding Planner is different. They are not your wedding coordinator, and neither is your florist, photographer or DJ. While they are all important “parts” that relate to the overall success of your wedding, they will not orchestrate every little detail of your wedding like an independent wedding planner will.

As an independent wedding planner, my loyalty is to YOU, my client! A wedding planner’s job is to determine what level of service you need -We are your personal project manager of the entire production, from vendor selection and invitation design to the millions of other things that will take place leading up to your wedding and on your wedding day.

An on-site coordinator does much of what a wedding planner does, but only up to a certain point.

Your planner is there to get to know the on-site coordinator at your wedding venue personally, as they’ll be working with them quite closely.

Make no mistake; there is without a doubt some overlap between a wedding planner and an on-site coordinator. The best suggestion I can give is to interview your on-site coordinator well, identify exactly what their duties include, and hire a wedding planner to pick up where the on-site coordinator leaves off and to fill in any blanks. Your wedding planner will be back at your wedding venue on a very regular basis to prepare things exactly the way you envision them while you’re busy working and living your life in the months leading up to your wedding.

So, if you’ve been trying to weigh the differences between what you’ll get from an on-site coordinator versus what you’ll get from a wedding planner, stop. The bottom line is, you need them both.

-Thank you to Wedding Lovely for portions of this content


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