Wedding Planner vs Venue Coordinator: 5 Things You Need to Know


As a bride you hear the term wedding planner and venue coordinator a lot. They sound similar, but unless you’re a wedding professional you wouldn’t know there’s a difference. Unfortunately, many brides make the common mistake of thinking they perform the same tasks, since most venues offer a coordinator. It makes brides think they don’t need a wedding planner.

Wedding Planner vs Venue Coordinator

But the truth is they have two separate jobs. You need a venue coordinator and a planner to ensure your wedding day runs smoothly. If you want to avoid unnecessary frustration and stress on your wedding day, it’s important to understand what each one does. Today I want to dive into the 5 main differences between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator.

Bride and groom kissing at Rodan Museum in Philadelphia

01. Who is their client?

Wedding Planner: YOU! As the bride, you hand select your wedding planner. Their focus is entirely on you and your wedding. You don’t have to worry about them going anywhere.

As a wedding planner, I take on a limited number of brides. This allows me to give them my full attention during the planning process and on their wedding day. My main goal is to ensure each JTE bride is thrilled with how everything looks and to make sure all the details are executed.

Venue Coordinator: A venue coordinator works for the venue. They’re focused on managing their own staff and making sure the basic venue facilities are available and ready for you to use. If the venue has multiple spaces on site, a venue coordinator won’t be able to focus on you. They need to ensure the venue facilities are function properly for each bride.

Learn the difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator.

02. What are their responsibilities?

Wedding Planner: They’re responsible for making sure everyone is on the same page. They handle everything related to your venue, your third-party vendors, and the wedding party. They ensure people are in the right place at the right time and know what they need to do.

They’ll be with you at your offsite ceremony and make sure everyone knows how to walk down the aisle. A wedding planner will fix a broken zipper, manage unruly guests, and take care of all the clean up. In short, a wedding planner is responsible for everything.

Venue Coordinator: A venue coordinator is responsible for the venue. They make sure the venue abides by your contract and manage the operations. For example, they make sure the air conditioning is on, the doors are unlocked and that there’s electricity in the building.

If the venue is providing catering services, a venue coordinator oversees the kitchen staff, the wait staff, and manages the bar. Since a venue coordinator’s focus is on the operations, it’s not uncommon for them to leave after the meal service is over.

Escort card display at The Downtown Club in Philadelphia coordinated by Jenna Tracy Events

03. Who manages the timeline?

Wedding Planner: A wedding planner manages the overall timeline for you, the wedding party and all your vendors. From the minute you wake up to when you walk out of the reception, your wedding planner manages all the details of the day. They know when the florist is delivering the flowers. A wedding planner reviews the timeline with the DJ to ensure they know when your first dance is. And they know when to set out the confetti for your grand exit.

Venue Coordinator: The venue coordinator handles the timeline in regards to food prep and service. They create the timeline their kitchen staff uses to make sure the food is plated and ready to serve on time.

A wedding planner and venue coordinator are not the same thing. Here are the 5 key differences between the two.

04. Who handles the event styling? 

Wedding Planner: A wedding planner assists with designing all aspects of the wedding. Whether it’s providing guidance on bridesmaid dresses or your centerpieces, a wedding planner works with you to bring your wedding vision to life.

Venue Coordinator: A venue coordinator won’t help you select colors, plan your welcome bags or give you advice on your seating chart. The best they can do is offer you a list of their recommended vendors.

Find out the difference between the a wedding planner and a venue coordinator.

05. How can you communicate with them?

Wedding Planner: Since you hand select your wedding vendors, you can expect that they’ll give you a way to contact them directly. They may give you their personal cell number and have additional hours you can reach them outside of normal business hours.

Venue Coordinator: Their communication usually happens during business hours. It’s likely you’ll have to catch them in between meetings. And for the brides with full time jobs, that can be challenging. It’s not uncommon for venues to have multiple events happening on the same day. The venue coordinator will be going back and forth between your wedding and the other events.

Is there a difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator? Here are the 5 things you need to know.

Do You Need to Hire a Wedding Planner? 

When it comes to the wedding day, no one manages the behind the scenes operations of the venue better than a venue coordinator. They’re the experts at making sure your venue is safe and ready for your other vendors. But for everything else, a wedding planner will be your go-to gal.

It’s important to take the time to understand the responsibilities of a wedding planner and a venue coordinator. Knowing what each one does alleviates a lot of stress and frustration on your wedding day. But being clear about the functions of each makes it easier for you to relax and enjoy your day!

You’ll be crystal clear about what the venue coordinator is handling and what you (or your wedding planner) is responsible for. Having clear expectations about what each person’s responsibilities are allows you to enlist the right help to make your dream wedding happen!


Photos by Lauren Fair Photography

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Learn the 5 important difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator.
Here are the 5 things you need to know about what a wedding planner and venue coordinator do.

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Hello, I’m Jenna!


Welcome to the JTE blog, where I share my favorite weddings and insider tips to make your wedding day simply swoon-worthy. Grab a cup of coffee (cream and sugar for me, please) and enjoy a virtual peek into my color-coded planning binder.

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