When you begin planning your wedding, you may find that there are wedding professionals you’ve never even heard of and whose jobs may be unclear to you. For example, you may have heard of a wedding planner, but what’s the difference between a planner and a coordinator or a designer? What role do these professionals play in planning your wedding? 

Well, wonder no more! We’re here to explain these similar-sounding roles and help you decide which one would be a good fit for your wedding planning journey.

Wedding Planner

Wedding planners are focused on the logistics. Think of a wedding planner like a project manager and your wedding as the project. Not only do they refer you to vendors (and often secure you discounts in the process), but they also negotiate vendor contracts, keep everything organized, and even manage the details of your wedding day to make sure things go smoothly.

A wedding planner also:

  • Assists in building and sticking to your budget
  • Schedules and attends vendor meetings
  • Builds detailed timelines for planning and for the wedding day itself
  • Creates floor plans
  • Helps brainstorm style and design ideas
  • Manages the wedding rehearsal
  • Coordinates all aspects of the wedding ceremony and reception

A planner is the perfect fit for you if you don’t have the time to do all the planning your wedding requires or if you feel overwhelmed by the sheer length of your to-do list. They can also be a good fit if organization isn’t your strong suit, if you have a short timeline in which to plan, or if you’re having a destination wedding.

Wedding Designer

Wedding designers are all about the look and style of your wedding. They don’t handle any of the planning but work to establish and create your aesthetic vision. A wedding designer assists with lighting, flowers, décor, and even attire to ensure that your wedding has a cohesive look. Just like an interior designer, a wedding designer’s job is to transform a space using their artistic vision and abilities. 

A wedding designer also:

  • Develops a design concept for your wedding
  • Helps you choose a color scheme
  • Monitors and manages related parts of the budget (décor, florist, lighting, rentals, etc.)
  • Handles special equipment rentals
  • Visits venue with you to create a layout and identify any potential issues
  • Creates floor plans
  • Makes sure all décor is put up properly and on time

You may want to hire a wedding designer if the look of your wedding day is incredibly important to you, but you don’t have the creative skills to pull off your vision. They can also be a lifesaver if your wedding has a specific theme or you need help narrowing down your color and style ideas.

Wedding Coordinator

A wedding coordinator is similar to a planner but works on a shorter timeline instead of throughout the entire planning process. A coordinator will most likely join your team about a month before the wedding, which means you will do a lot of the planning yourself. Their job is to confirm details with vendors, develop a timeline for the wedding day, and coordinate everything on the day itself. A coordinator will double-check all your planning and solve any last-minute problems in the weeks leading up to your wedding.

A wedding coordinator also:

  • Meets with you to go over what you’ve planned so far
  • Checks in with vendors and reviews contracts
  • Develops a schedule for the wedding day
  • Does a final walk-through of the venue(s)
  • Deals with any details you may have overlooked
  • Coordinates the rehearsal
  • Monitors all logistics on the wedding day

A wedding coordinator is a good fit for you if you want to handle most of the planning but want someone else to take care of last-minute details and double-check your work. A coordinator is also a smart choice if you are very organized but want a little extra help, or if you don’t have room in your budget for a full-service wedding planner.

No matter whether you choose to hire a planner, designer, or coordinator, or a combination of the three, be sure to book well in advance, even if they won’t get involved until near the end of your planning. The sooner you can book a professional, the better and the more help they can offer you, whether it’s recommending vendors or suggesting venues for you to check out.

You deserve to have the wedding of your dreams, and a professional can help make sure you get exactly what you want out of your big day!