Wedding Professionals: Difference Between Planners, Designers, & Coordinators

Planning a wedding takes a great deal of time.  Many brides don’t have enough hours in the day to make this happen the way they want without the help of a professional.  There are several different professionals that play a role in making your big day come to a reality.  Some confusion comes from who they need to hire vs who is unnecessary.  This will basically come down to how much time and effort you, the bride, wants to put into planning your wedding.  Below we will look into the difference between wedding coordinators, wedding planners, and wedding designers.  These are the three key professionals that are hired to make your wedding dreams come to life.  Here we will find out exactly what role each plays in making your big day go off without a hitch. 

Wedding Planners

Wedding planners are logistic professionals.  From managing vendors, negotiating contracts, and day of execution wedding planners take any guess work out of the day.  The make planning the wedding as smooth and easy as possible for brides and grooms.  A wedding planner will track your budget and ensure everyone, and everything is in place.  Wedding planners help brides make the details of the day become a reality.  Wedding planners often put in between 80 to 250 hours planning for your big day.  The more people and pieces that are involved in the wedding the more hours they will need to spend creating perfection for your day.

Duties of A Wedding Planner

  • Provide referrals to vendors
  • Schedule and attend all meetings with vendors
  • Negotiate vendor contracts
  • Helps determine and manage the wedding budget
  • Attends location viewings and food tastings
  • Suggest ideas and coordinate design details
  • Coordinates hotels and transportation
  • Supervise the rehearsal
  • Manages everything on the day of your wedding
  • Creates a detailed timeline
  • Handles wedding party, guests, and vendors
  • Executes the on-site design vision

Brides should hire a wedding planner when:

  • They have a budget that allows for it
  • Want the least amount of wedding stress possible
  • Have a demanding career and therefore little time for planning
  • Are organizationally challenged
  • Are on a tight time frame
  • Want an event that includes multiple events
  • Are putting on a destination wedding
  • The wedding/reception are being thrown somewhere other than a traditional hotel, banquet room, or restaurant

Wedding Designer

Wedding designers have one specific role and that is to ensure that your wedding is aesthetically pleasing.  They have nothing to do with negotiations or appointments.  Wedding designers consult brides on anything and everything to do with the design of your venue.  This includes everything from the floor plan, lighting, flowers, furniture, linens, and such.  Planners create a cohesive, stylish, and chic look that creates the ambiance that the bride desires.  Wedding designers are artists and can truly transform a blank banquet room into a canvas that represents the bride and groom. They usually work about 40 hours to make your vision come true.

Duties of A Wedding Designer

  • Works with the bride to create a wedding design concept
  • Provides guidance in creating a color palette
  • Manages the décor budget including the florist, rentals, lighting, and stationary
  • Locate and contract special props and equipment
  • Visits the site to devise a layout and identify potential areas of concern
  • Makes sure all decorate elements are in place on-site the day of the wedding

Brides should hire a wedding designer when:

  • Décor is the most important aspect of your wedding
  • You are organized and logistically savvy but are lacking creativity
  • You want a specific theme
  • There are too many wedding styles you like, and you can’t choose one

Wedding Coordinators/Consultants

Wedding coordinators is focused on the logistics of the event however don’t usually get involved with the process until closer to the day up until the end. Wedding consultants are a second set of eyes that in theory are double checking what has been done to plan the wedding up until this point and work as the point person on the day of the wedding.  Wedding coordinators confirm vendor contracts, make sure vendor are paid their final payments, create a day of timeline, coordinate guest counts, and such.  Wedding coordinators unlike wedding planners have nothing to do with budgeting for the wedding or earlier vendor contacts. They bring the end game all together for brides as the wedding day approaches.  They usually put in about 25 hours during to help ensure the bride is set up and ready for her big day.

Duties of A Wedding Coordinator

  • Meets with the bride and groom about 4 to 8 weeks before the wedding to see what has been done up to this point
  • Reviews vendors their signed contracts and confirming the logistics of the day
  • Creates a detailed timeline & floor plan
  • Complete day of final walk throughs at the ceremony and reception site
  • Considers any overlooked details
  • Supervises the rehearsal
  • Oversees wedding day events

Brides should hire a wedding coordinator/consultant when:

  • You want to play an active role in planning your wedding but want help at the end to make sure nothing has been missed
  • You are an extremely organized bride that is very detailed oriented
  • The budget for your wedding isn’t large enough to employ a wedding planner

Event Planning DC provides full event planning, partial event planning, month-of (day-of) event coordination, event styling/design and decorating services throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia, with access to local and national vendors who may provide additional services suitable for your event and budget.  We pride ourselves on providing only the highest quality event coordination, giving you and your guests the perfect day, no matter what the occasion including exclusive corporate and non-profit events, weddings, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, community events and milestone celebrations.  More information can be found online at

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