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The Differences Between a Wedding Planner, Coordinator and Designer

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

As you start to plan your wedding, you will probably hear the titles Wedding Planner, Wedding Coordinator and Wedding Designer thrown around. When we think of these roles we can't help but remember Martin Shorts' infamous character in the 1991 version of Father of the Bride! Franck Eggelhofferas, the "Wedding Planner Extraordinaire" gets hired by the Banks family to plan their daughter's dream wedding day, and he sure does pull it off (comically, of course)! Many wedding professionals have a variety of talents, and often a team behind them to help make it all happen.

Keep reading to learn about the unique duties of Wedding Planners, Coordinators and Designers, and how they can all work collaboratively to make visions of a dream wedding become reality.

A Wedding Planner is someone who specifically plans and organizes the wedding from start to finish. This includes, but not limited to, vendor recommendations, vendor research, point of contact to vendors after initial booking, contract negotiations, scheduling, budgeting, creation of floor plans, wedding day timelines, and wedding party management.

Many couples agree that hiring a Wedding Planner was the best decision they made during the process. This is because you can spend more time and energy focused on the fun but important tasks, such as buying a wedding dress, creating your guest list and enjoying all sweet festivities (bachelorette parties, bridal showers, etc.) leading up to your big day!

Planners absolutely LOVE seeing your day come to fruition, which is why many offer full-service packages. This means they'll be right there with you on your actual wedding day, making sure everything goes according to plans. There are so many experienced Wedding Planners in the industry and it's important to find one that not only fits your needs, but is someone you will enjoy working with throughout the process.

A Wedding Coordinator, or sometimes called a Day of Coordinator is hired to assist in your wedding day logistics. This person serves as the main point of contact during your special day, so you can be fully present while getting ready with your girls, taking beautiful photos and enjoying a first look with dad or the groom!

Coordinators give someone for wedding vendors to check-in with upon arrival, ask questions to and troubleshoot any hiccups that may come up. They can typically organize your schedule for the day and make sure all vendors get paid. This person can also be there during your day-before rehearsal to run through the ceremony and any last minute schedule changes.

Our FIRST recommendation is always hiring a professional to take on this role for you. There are a lot of coordinators who have a ton of experience doing just this. If that is not an option, we totally understand! We suggest appointing someone outside of your immediate family and bridal party, who is very organized, confident in speaking up and encourages you in being joyful on your day!

A Wedding Designer is someone who specifically does the design work for your wedding day, such as, lighting design, flowers, center pieces, furniture layout, linens, and attire. This is someone who has more than likely gone to school for interior or floral design, or is a skillful decorator by trade. Wedding Designers are often hired by the wedding planner when a more artistic eye is needed in the planning and execution of your day.

Wedding Designers can be especially tactful in helping you choose a color scheme, creating and placing large floral installations, arranging a room for large guest counts, handling specialty equipment rentals and much more. In many ways their unique specialization allows them to "do it all!" They can transform spaces with their wildly creative talents, and are known for executing more luxurious (small and large!) weddings. If you find yourself needing some assistance in the direction of your overall wedding aesthetic, but a Wedding Designer is not in your budget, we highly encourage you to ask your florist or planner for guidance.

Now that you know the differences between a Wedding Planner, Coordinator and Designer, we recommend shopping around to find your best options. You can check out The Knot and the Kansas City Swap and Shop Facebook group for vendor recommendations.

Like always, we are BIG supporters of setting up a consultation first to make sure it's the right fit!

Photographed: True Love Coordinating and Design - This wedding planning team does it all! Check out their website to learn more about their services.

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