Wedding Planner vs Venue Coordinator Wedding Planning Tips

Outdoor Rustic Navy and Burgundy Fall Barn Wedding at 48 Fields Farm in Leesburg VA

One of the age old questions couples have when starting to plan their wedding is do they need a wedding planner if their reception location provides them with a venue coordinator. There’s no doubt that both are valuable to have on your wedding day, and both a wedding planner and venue coordinator want to see your wedding run flawlessly. There can be some similarity and overlap in their responsibilities, but there are also some big differences. So what’s best for your day?

What do you wish couples knew about having a wedding planner vs. a venue coordinator?
As a general rule, both are great to have on wedding days. Venue Coordinator’s primary role is to protect the venue. You can expect them to make sure rules are being followed, to confirm vendor arrival times, to confirm the layout and overall setup of the day, and to provide facilities in good working order. A venue coordinator is best for couples who have a lot of people that want to be involved with the wedding day to help with setup, vendor coordination, etc.

A wedding planner’s primary role is to make sure the day runs smoothly. There are day-of coordinators and full planners. You can expect day-of coordinators to work put together detailed timelines and floor plans, direct the rehearsal, meet day-of deliveries and vendors, set up and break down your decor, line up and cue the ceremony processional, and attend to the couple on the day of the wedding as they need. It’s best for couples who are confident about doing all the planning themselves, but want assistance leading up to the wedding and have somebody on site that day so couples and their families do not need to deal with these responsibilities.

A full wedding planner takes on a few more duties such as working with a couple to understand their preferences, style, budget, and personalities. They communicate throughout the planning process to keep tasks on track, make personalized vendor recommendations, negotiate contacts, conceptualize all of the design elements, answer logistical and etiquette questions, coordinate hotel blocks and transportation, and much more. This type of planning is best for couples that do not have time or interest in planning, want professional guidance through the process, or need assistance with the design of their day.

– Erin Goodrich, A Charming Affair

Dusty Blue and Sage Greenery Outdoor Wedding Ceremony at 48 Fields Farm in Leesburg VA

What is the role of a wedding planner vs. a venue coordinator?
As a wedding planner, this is a question I get asked a lot! I think that the biggest difference comes down to the separate responsibilities. While the client’s needs are always the top priority for both vendors, a wedding planner’s responsibilities do differ from those of a venue coordinator’s. Your wedding planner will most likely have been working with you from day one; they will have created your timeline, worked with you to create your one-of-a-kind event design, and will know exactly what to expect from your venue and your vendors. Their job is to make sure all of those special, heartfelt details and all of your careful planning come together in a perfect fashion. Your venue coordinator’s focus will be slightly more geared towards the venue itself; making sure that the venue is prepped and ready to go, that your vendors are set up properly, and once again that things are running smoothly to ensure that the venue is meeting all of your wedding day needs.

Wedding planners and venue coordinators are both particularly important pieces of your wedding day puzzle. While they both have different duties, experienced professionals will work together as a team to make your day effortless and incredible; when it comes to weddings, two teams are always better than one!

– Linnie Hughes, L&L Events

Navy Farmhouse Al Fresco Wedding Reception at 48 Fields Farm in Leesburg VA

What is the biggest difference between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator?
The biggest difference is that the venue coordinator is there to ensure things go smoothly with the venue. They are not going to take responsibility for your other vendors, event design, and logistics. In order to get “the best” out of your vendors, including your venue, you have to let them concentrate on their responsibilities. The venue needs to ensure everything is in working order and ready when you arrive, that things are clean and orderly, that their deliverables such as tables and chairs are all set to go. Your photographer needs to be sure they have working equipment and a shot list. Your band needs to know the songs you want and don’t want…. and so on and so forth. A planner comes in and connects all those dots. They make sure everyone is following through on their contracted obligations and communicate the timeline and details so that everyone is on the same page and, for example, that the photographer and band both know what time the first dance is.

The other major difference between a planner and a venue coordinator is the ability to be proactive and also react to solve problems, should they arise. A venue coordinator isn’t going to be at the hotel where you’re getting ready to sew a button on or have extra hair spray. A venue coordinator isn’t going to make sure grandma is where she needs to be for the processional or that your wedding party hasn’t had too much to drink before the ceremony even starts. A venue coordinator isn’t going to make sure bouquets don’t get left behind and that your dancing shoes are left under the sweetheart table. They don’t make sure the menu is spelled correctly or pack your gifts up at the end of the night. A planner will do all these things and more.

Not only is a wedding planner there on the day of your wedding to make sure all the little details are seen to, but they are there for you before the wedding day. A planner will provide professional advice on how to be sure all the special moments you’ve been dreaming of actually happen. Because that’s our job! To advocate and support our couples. And to advise each step in order for their engagement and wedding day to be stress free and fun.

– Sarah Pete Rizzi, Sincerely Pete Events

Naked Cake at a Rustic Navy Farmhouse Wedding in Leesburg VA at 48 Fields Farm

What does 48 Fields provide?
At 48 Fields, we provide a venue coordinator to assist all our couples as part of every rental collection. Some of our main responsibilities that relate to the venue are obvious, and others are similar to a day-of wedding coordinator. Making sure the space clean, functioning, and presentable. Setting up tables and chairs we provide in your rental package. Managing the arrival and parking of guests. Directing the unloading of vendors as they set up. Given our experience, we can also advise on an appropriate timeline for your wedding day and make recommendations for exceptional vendors. We do not, however, manage the services of other vendors on the wedding day.

A wedding planner, on the other hand, will have copies of all your vendor contracts and know their expectations. They can track down a late-arriving cake delivery or deal with an officiant who runs late from a previous ceremony. They know that tables and linens need to be set before the cake and florist arrive. A wedding planner can help bustle a complicated dress or treat a stain from spilled wine. They make sure the photographer is ready before the DJ announces your cake cutting. A wedding planner helps pack up things at the end of the night so your family members aren’t stuck with the task. Asking a family member to handle these responsibilities is asking them to work in a role they have not typically done before, which is stressful and not guaranteed to have the same outcome that a skilled professional planner could achieve. Wedding planners just make your lives easier!

One last important thing to note about our venue coordinators is that we ARE available on site throughout your wedding day, which is not necessarily the case at all reception locations. Some Venue Coordinators will leave once the reception begins and allow the Catering Manager to take over for the rest of the day. This simply doesn’t happen at 48 Fields. We guarantee at least one Venue Coordinator on site all day long. In fact, we often have two people available to assist you!

Both a venue coordinator and a wedding planner are crucial elements of your celebration. We work together as part of the larger team to ensure you have a happy and stress-free wedding! Our jobs are not to compete with one another. In fact, at 48 Fields we welcome wedding planners as part of any wedding day and look forward to assembling the best team possible for every event we’re fortunate to host at the farm.

Wedding Planner vs Venue Coordinator Check List | 48 Fields Farm in Leesburg VA

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Photo Credits: 1 3 4 Natalie Jayne Photography 2 Seedhouse Photography 5 Bethanne Arthur Photography

At 48 Fields, we are a Leesburg Virginia wedding venue for celebrations of all sizes.
Our rustic barns and vast fields are peacefully set in the heart of Northern Virginia wine country.

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