Are there wedding bells ringing in your future? If so, you’ll want to get the ball rolling now. Most experts recommend giving yourself 12 months to plan a wedding. However, you can also hire a wedding planner or coordinator to assist with the process. To learn more about the nuances between wedding planners and coordinators, keep reading.


Wedding Planner

A wedding planner is a professional whose sole purpose is to transform a couple’s vision of a dream wedding into a reality. Couples typically hire a wedding planner immediately or shortly after getting engaged. After providing providing the planner with a budget, he or she will walk you through the process, offering advice on venues, catering, attire, reception and more. Some planners also provide advice on design and other creative aspects of your big day. If a planner doesn’t offer these design services, however, you’ll need to hire an additional professional, known as a wedding designer (see below).

Wedding planners also provide coordination services on the actual wedding day. For instance, he or she will instruct vendors where to set up; guide guests to their seats; and keep things running smoothly. Planners also have back-up plans ready in case of a wedding-day emergency like rain or a no-show vendor.

Wedding Coordinator

Many people assume that a wedding coordinator is the same as a planner. While there are some key similarities between these two professions, there are also some stark differences.

A wedding planner performs a variety of wedding-related services, typically beginning shortly after the couple gets engaged. A wedding coordinator, on the other hand, performs services needed for the actual wedding day. Most couples meet with the coordinator several months or weeks prior to their wedding day, providing them with details such as how many guests will attend, where the wedding is taking place, what entertainment is scheduled, etc. Coordinators typically work behind the scenes, orchestrating the wedding to ensure everything goes as planned.

You don’t call a wedding coordinator for advice on choosing a venue or florist — that’s the planner’s job. Instead, you choose a coordinator to help facilitate your wedding and its planned activities for the day.

What About a Wedding Designer?

There are also wedding designers. While not as popular as planners or coordinators, this is still a service that couples should consider. A wedding designer’s duties are strictly aesthetic. They don’t perform services like negotiating deals with vendors or scouting venues. Instead, they focus on the design of the wedding, including lighting, seating, linens, colors and more.