As you started your wedding planning you might have come across the term “wedding planner” or “wedding coordinator” and thought they were pretty much the same person. They can be. Sound confusing? It is! But here’s what you need to know:

A full-service wedding planner is with you throughout the majority of your wedding planning process and will take the role of a wedding coordinator on the day of your wedding. A wedding coordinator is generally considered a separate person that just coordinates the wedding day for those wanting to do the majority of planning themselves.

To keep things simple and straightforward, a wedding planner plans and a wedding coordinator coordinates.  A wedding planner plans everything WITH you and wedding coordinator COORDINATES all that you have planned.

Let’s start off with a Wedding Planner…

A wedding planner will walk you through the whole process, be with you every step of the way and they will plan most of the details for your wedding. They will often deal with all vendors, handle all budget issues and track every part of the wedding for you.  This may include setting up the day-of elements, so there is some overlap between the role of a wedding planner and wedding coordinator.


A wedding planner can put in anywhere from 80 to 250 hours planning your event. They cover a myriad of concerns and issues in helping you to decide big things for your wedding day.

Length of Planning

The length of time that a planner is involved in your planning process is completely up to you.  Typically a wedding planner is hired in the very beginning…to get the best use of their services.   Whether that’s for selecting vendors or for managing your budget or for creating your wedding day timeline.  The key is to keep you on track with all of those details.

Vendor Research, Recommendations & Communication

A wedding planner assists with all your vendors – whether it is researching, giving you recommendations or simply communicating with them. Also, the planner maintains all contact and communication with the vendors. If the vendors have a question or concern, the planner can usually address these issues without involving the couple. If necessary, the planner will relay any questions to the bride or groom and then report back to the vendor.


The biggest, or at least one of the biggest, asset for having a long term wedding planner instead of a coordinator is the amount of meetings and overall support that you get with them. You discuss so many details during those meeting times which takes out a great deal of the guesswork and stress, compared to planning it yourself.


Wedding planners can also help with your wedding design. Honestly, this is one of my favorite parts of doing wedding planning, and I devote two meetings to design alone. I happen to really enjoy the design process, implementing the design and creating your events overall style and theme.

Your Budget

The budget can be so daunting when you’re planning a wedding. However, a wedding planner is there to help you figure out what your budget is and then stick to it.

Contract Review & Negotiations

Wedding planners will review contracts for you or see if we can negotiate contract terms and even pricing due to their experience with vendors and the business in general.

The Details

A wedding planner also helps you with details. This means they help you to basically plan ahead.  They will help you plan for those details that are going to pop up at the last minute and help you to get those things accomplished ahead of time so you’re not stressed out in the last few weeks before the wedding.  

Now for a Wedding Coordinator…

A wedding coordinator’s main focus is the details on the day.  They will chat with you before your wedding, find out how much help you will need and tailor this to your budget. You make all the decisions and the coordinator will help bring all your ideas to life on the day, without you having to worry.  This allows you to get through your wedding day completely stress free, so you can enjoy the day with your family and guests.

Your Liaison

They will be a liaison between you and your vendors to help minimize the amount of conversations that are needed at the last minute and reduce the amount of stress that could potentially pop up.  

Communicating with Your Vendors

The wedding coordinator makes certain that all vendors arrive on time on the day of the event. Each vendor should have the coordinator’s cell phone number in the event of an emergency.

Working With Your Wedding Party

The coordinator instructs the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, parents and officiant on how to stage the ceremony and make entrances at the beginning of the reception. This often involves working with the musicians or DJ to ensure attendants enter and exit at the correct time. The coordinator also instructs the best man and maid of honor when to give their speech during dinner. If any attendants have issues or questions on the day of the wedding, they direct them to the coordinator instead of the bride, groom or parents.

Assisting on Your Wedding Day

The coordinator is available to assist the bride and groom with whatever they need on the day of the wedding. The coordinator is armed with hairspray, mints, tissues, makeup, perfume and anything else the bride may need immediately before the ceremony or reception. The coordinator may help the bride bustle her dress after the ceremony, provide more comfortable shoes, or assist with hair and makeup touch-ups.

Making your decision…

Before you decide whether to go with a wedding planner or wedding coordinator, be sure to ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your general budget?
  • Are you willing to spend at least 10-15% of that budget on a wedding planner? If not, a wedding coordinator could be more friendly on your wallet.
  • How much time do you have to dedicate to planning a wedding? If it’s less than 3-5 hours a week, a wedding planner might be the way to go.
  • Do you have a lot of people in your family or circle of friends weighing in with conflicting opinions on all things wedding? If so, a wedding planner could help deflect all those little things that might come directed towards you or your fiancé.
  • Do you feel like you have the vision, but don’t know the formalities of a wedding?  A wedding coordinator could be a good option for you.

Depending on your budget and the time you have to dedicate to planning a wedding, I highly recommend at least hiring a wedding coordinator on your wedding day. I’m sure a wedding planner would make your life 1,000 times easier.  However, if your budget doesn’t allow for it and you are OK dedicating time to researching wedding venues, florists, invitations, and all the tiny details, a wedding coordinator would be a perfect fit.

Happy Planning,



Wedding Planner at Distinctly Yours Wedding & Events