Do You Need A Wedding Planner or Wedding Coordinator?
Oh boy, here we go. I’m hoppin’ upon this here invisible podium and gonna share my thoughts. Don’t you just love it when I share them? *evil cackle* But really, I think what I’m about to discuss will help ya out, especially if you’re in the middle of wedding planning (which would make sense if you’re here)! I’ve been running into various frustrating experiences that are turning into a professional pet peeve and I needed to say something:
Venue Coordinators are not Wedding Planners.
I’ve run into a lot of issues, not only professionally, but hearing my clients how unhappy they are with their venue coordinator. Ignored phone calls, inexperienced timeline creation, a lack of communication in general. Venues are often including planning in their packages, to be competitive, but they *never* come close to what a dedicated planner could accomplish.
So I wanted to do a planner/coordinator breakdown for y’all, because this industry is full of info and not all of it shining examples of truth. Now, I’m not trying to sway you one way or the other, but simply educate you and mitigate possible future confusion!
Now, I have experienced some amazing venue coordinators. It’s more rare than common though. A lot of people are under the impression that venue coordinators are the same as regular coordinators, but here is the main difference: the venue coordinator’s main purpose is to protect the venue. They’re there to make sure the caterer doesn’t burn the place down. That the DJ knows where the plugs are. That all staff is out by midnight. Some offer assistance with the timeline, but in my experience, 99% of them skip reading contracts, avoid messaging vendors for professional assistance and create timelines that often have to be redone. They’re mostly there to ensure the heat/AC is running or that the noise ordinances are respected. Vendor relations and your contracts are often not a priority.
These are often the most popular choice, usually because of cost. Or if you like to be Type-A but don’t want to be stressed on the wedding day. Both are valid reasons! HOWEVER (you knew this was comin’), day-of coordinators also tend to avoid reading contracts, often don’t even email vendors until two weeks prior and often, lack knowledge to help you with a timeline.
Generally, they connect with you about a month before your wedding, where everything has been decided (or should be). They make sure your wedding day goes as smoothly as possible since they aren’t a part of the main planning. Let’s be VERY CLEAR: coordinators coordinate what has already been planned/figured out. There are some amazing day-of coordinators, undoubtedly. But day-of coordinators are like that one co-worker, who wasn’t a part of the group project but shows up right before it’s due and error checks the final project. The project still gets done, it’s all good…but you still had to do a lot of it all on your own. This is perfect if you’re type-A but don’t want to stress on the wedding day!
Full-Service Wedding Planners
This is where the money is at. Literally and metaphorically. In my opinion, full-service wedding planners don’t get paid enough. A solid wedding planner begins around $5-7k and they are worth every penny. THESE are the ones that read the contracts. A lot of them will even begin vendor conversations, scoping out your top three picks and vetting them before you even lift a finger! If you want to almost never talk to your vendors, full-service wedding planners are the bee’s knees.
Experienced wedding planners are amazing at controlling out-of-control moments. They have emergency kits, solid working relationships with vendors and probably twelve cups of coffee.
Especially with Austin wedding planners, in a city built for copious amounts of weddings, they can also save you beaucoup benjamins. Because of their professional, friendly, and respectful vendor relationships, as well as experience in an ever-evolving industry, they know where/how to negotiate cut corners and generally keep within budget. Does that sound appealing?? I’ve heard time and time again that a wedding planner is a heft investment but they usually pay for themselves anyway! You can never go wrong with a professional!
Your Aunt Who Has Planned Three Backyard Weddings
Please, gods, don’t. Just don’t. You might as well not have anyone, 85% of the time.
Hiring friends/family for a massive all-day event is rarely a good idea. Even if your aunt has done a couple of weddings, it doesn’t mean she’s good at it. Your uncle who has been photographing for 7,436 years? Yeah, best of luck on that. You had friends that swore they would make the bouquets but something came up last second? Freakin’ YIKES, my friend. Your friend who photographs people on the street and architecture and some flowers, has offered to do a wedding for you?
Why?? you may ask. Because no one is getting paid and they won’t professionally combust if they fail you. The worst that happens is if your wedding is a mess and you never speak to them again. Wait. That’s pretttyyyy bad. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard of friends/family offering, with the best of intentions, then decide halfway through the day, they’d rather take advantage of the free food and booze. Photographer friends who shot your wedding as a gift, taking nine-twelve months to deliver images, if at all. DJ buddy who gave you the sweet discount? He’s going to ensure other professionals botch their jobs because your friend didn’t know weddings were different from Saturday nights at Barbarellas.
The fact is, do you really want to rely on someone who isn’t a professional wedding planner to do one of the hardest jobs in the world?
(This does not apply to legit friends/family that are truly awesome peeps. I’ve just seen too many “reliable” peeps shit the bed and caused a lot of hurt).
All weddings are unique. They have unique vibes, goals, and dynamics. Some brides don’t need a professional at all on their wedding day (most likely because their photographer has picked up the slack, tbh) but others just don’t understand what the right choice is. I hope this blog helped you come to a decision on how to rock the hell out of your love party!
Want to know how to find the best Austin wedding planner? Head on over to the Austin Wedding Planner Association website and find the right fit!! One of my favorites is easily Cassie with Truly Together. She’s one of my best friends and works REALLY hard for her Austin wedding clients!