“But our venue comes with a coordinator, so we don’t need a planner.”
“Our venue told us that they have an on-site coordinator, so we don’t need to hire a planner for the day of.”
“The venue said that they handle everything that a planner would.”
I have heard all three and frankly, I have heard enough.
Hiring a planner for your wedding or event is often seen as a luxury item and less of a necessity. Necessities would include vendors like a photographer, caterer, florist, and so forth. But what happens when none of these vendors talk to each other before your big day and the timeline falls apart/the food comes out cold/your photographer misses your first dance/the shuttles don’t arrive on time/etc.? Your venue is not going to save you even if they said they would.
Many venues come with an on-site coordinator. This coordinator works for the venue. Their job starts at either the ceremony if it is on site or at the cocktail hour. You may not even meet this coordinator until your final walk through the week of the wedding.
A planner’s job starts months if not years before that (depending on your package with said planner) and concludes on your wedding day….at the end of the day. Your wedding planner will work with your venue and all of your vendors to put together a timeline for your entire day. That timeline will include things that are outside of the venue such as hair and make up preparation, first looks with your sweetie, transportation pick ups and more.
Your venue coordinator will be at your venue (probably showing up an hour or two before your vendors do) dealing with venue stuff. Why? Because that’s their job. If the shuttle that you have picking up your guests doesn’t arrive at the hotel where your guests are staying, do not call your venue coordinator because that is not their job.
I am hearing more and more often that venue coordinators are telling couples that they do not need a planner. I had a venue coordinator say that to my couple while I was standing right there, in fact. That’s a bunch of garbage.
Russell Pinto of Little Red Bean Productions had this to say:
“Venues and caterers have taken the role of their existing catering captain or on-site venue operator and spun it into a perceived value-add on of their services. I urge my brides not to be fooled.”
He went on to say,
“It’s the wedding planner that works directly for the bride! We are the bride’s voice, as we understand every single detail of the wedding- the ‘venue coordinator’ will not.”
We couldn’t agree more. The venue coordinator has their own issues to deal with and on the wedding day you will want someone on your side dealing with everything else that goes on outside of your venue. The wedding “day” not the wedding “five-six hours” is your planner’s responsibility.
Danielle Aspromatis of d’Luxe Events talked to us about this issue as well, saying:
“Venues often confuse couples by saying they have a day of coordinator. Their coordinator is a bridal attendant that will get the couple food and drinks, as well as have communication with the Maitre D as far as timing for the introductions into the ballroom. What they neglect to tell you is that their ‘coordinator’ is not going to coordinate your day from the time you wake up until the time your head hits your pillow at night.”
The timeline is a major duty of your wedding planner, and getting the entire day right requires a planner that communicates with all of your vendors. Danielle also added,
“The bridal attendant knows nothing about their (bride’s) style, vision, details or how you want all of your day of items displayed. A true wedding coordinator needs to be involved WEEKS before your event and should be involved day of from hair and make up onwards…the wedding day does not just begin with cocktail hour!”
One of the hardest things to do as a planner is to educate couples as to why they need one. They will drop thousands on a vendor that will be there for a few hours, but not put anything aside for the one person that can be with you every day from day one. There is only so much warning that we, as planners, can give to couples about what can go wrong without a professional planner (i.e. not your mom or sister that planned one wedding) on the day of the wedding. Frustration is the client that didn’t book with us, that comes back after the wedding and tells us that they wish they had…and yes, that has happened.
A planner might not be for everyone. But trust and believe that a venue coordinator will not act as a substitute for a wedding planner. Ever.
Make sure you visit the pages of the planners we interviewed for this blog here: