When I first meet with prospective clients, they often use the words “planner” and “coordinator” interchangeably, not realizing that they are referring to two completely different services. They just know that they need help - the question is, how much? Planners and Coordinators differ in just that.
A planner is someone who is involved in the logistical (and often design) components of your wedding from start to finish. They are the project managers of the planning process and oversee everything from helping you find your dream venue to choosing your perfect color palette and beyond! Planning services include coordination on the day-of your wedding, although sometimes the Day-of Coordinator is a different person than your planner.
On the other hand, coordinators get involved in only the final stages of planning, usually about a month before you say, “I do”. They confirm your vendors, help you with the timeline and flow of your day, and make sure everything goes as planned on the day of your wedding. However, they don’t actually help you plan any of the details leading up to the day.
Which Is Right For You?
Often times, wedding planning companies offer both services, so it can be confusing to try and figure out what exactly you need. If you are like most couples, budget plays a major roll in this decision. It goes without saying that a Full Planning package will cost much more than a Day-of Coordination package. The cost varies from city to city, but generally, you can expect to spend about 15% of your overall wedding budget on a full planner.
If your budget won't allow for Full Planning, but you need more than coordination services, you should look for a planner who offers Partial Planning packages. These packages are the middle ground between Full Planning and Day-Of services. Some are consulting packages, while others let you pick and choose exactly what you need help with. These packages tend to be easy to tailor to your needs and will cost much less than Full Planning. Generally, the rule of thumb for these is somewhere around half the cost of Full Planning, or 5-8%.
At a minimum, you should always factor Day-of Coordination into your initial wedding budget. You should think of a coordinator as wedding day insurance. If something goes wrong, he or she is there to find a solution. This person also ensures that your day runs on time, that family photos aren’t missed, and that day unfolds the way you planned it. They will take on the stress of the day so that you, your family, and friends don’t have to worry about anything and can actually enjoy the day.
There are coordinators out there for every budget. When you're looking for a coordinator, you should make sure that they have the basics: 2 or more people on-site the day of your wedding, 8 consecutive hours of service, and experience with the type of ceremony that you're planning to have. With a coordinator on your team, you're well on your way to having a perfect wedding day!
Sarah is a guest writer for Promise Financial. You can check out more of her work at Brilliant Event Planning.