Wedding PR Tips 101: Please Hire a Wedding Planner

Right now I have a few friends who are engaged and as I was looking back at this post from Fall ’09 I really feel like it NEEDS to be posted again!I can’t stress enough how important it is to hire a wedding planner!!

For some reason I think its common knowledge… I mean haven’t we all heard from someone, stories at some point of things that didn’t go right at a wedding.  They happen at every single wedding no matter who is in charge. I know brides are working with a budget- especially these days but everyone seems to think they can save on costs by “doing it themselves”.  I have an idea… Lets invest in a great photographer to capture the moments and the details, lets hire a floral designer to make everything look pretty, lets spend money on linens, favors, and a dessert bar but when it comes to getting a professional wedding coordinator to pull together all the details I just mentioned so all of them work in harmony.. lets skimp on that? Lets invest all of that but then on the wedding day as a bride you can worry or pawn it off on an aunt, mom, or wedding party member (which lets be quite frank-they will be way more frazzled than you). Just to be clear.. I am not saying  I am against DIY. I’m not! I like that style BUT I am a huge advocate of bringing someone on board who knows what they are doing to put things at ease no matter the scale of the wedding.

After being in the wedding industry and planning or attending as many weddings as I have, I’ve seen it first hand time and time again.  However, the experience I had recently at a friend’s wedding was so unbelievable.

I now feel it is my duty to share. She got married at a private estate and decided to go with the venue coordinator/catering liaison because they ensured her they would take care of everything she needed on her wedding day. Ummm…, NO!  I mean, I was so upset with the way this catering/venue representative  treated the bride and the extreme lack of poise, class, and knowledge that I am going to list for you some specifics of the disaster that ensued:

You may want to hire a wedding planner or else:

1. Your “day of  stand in coordinator ” could forget to place an order which then leaves it all in the hands of the bride on the day of her rehearsal so that she and her  parents are 30 minutes late.

2. Your “day of stand in coordinator” could decide to make a change on one of your vendor contracts leaving you to pay the difference for their error and then when the vendor calls you the morning of your wedding to tell you and you verify it with your “coordinator” they may say, “you are ruining their day?” Really?? Who says that to a bride?

3. Your “day of  stand in coordinator” may forget to send the shuttle to one of the hotels and leave 30 guests behind, minutes before your ceremony is about to start. Then when confronted with this situation may say “ I don’t give a f***k. Tell them all to take cabs! I am not starting this ceremony late!” OMG!!!!

4. Your “day of stand in coordinator” may not really know how to run a real ceremony and forget to cue wedding party or heaven forbid the musicians to know when the bride should walk down the aisle! What a disaster that can be as the guests all wait while nothing happens but the same song plays over and over again. Oh also they may forget to remove the ribbon that blocks off the center aisle so guests don’t go through it, but when its time for the ceremony procession to start its wise of them to remove it so that a guest from the second row doesn’t have to run in her heels sinking in the grass all the way to the back of the aisle and remove the ribbon seconds before the wedding party walk through while photo and video are rolling.

5. Your “ day of stand in coordinator” who in this case is also the venue coordinator and caterer- might run out of certain types of food and wine because of poor planning AND not even offer a certain dish that is listed on the menu and just tells guests “ Oh, we don’t have that tonight- I’ll just give you a plate of mashed potatoes and veggies instead”.

Can you believe that these elements really did happen all at one wedding? And these were just the highlights? Do you have any stories of your own?

One piece of advice: You get what you pay for! SO when you don’t pay for a friend who is helping you out as your “day of stand in coordinator” OR you find one that is only a couple hundred dollars…. guess what- it may not be that good of an outcome.

I have written this wedding PR tip as an ode to all the professional wedding and event planners out there. There is a huge difference between a venue coordinator and a professional wedding planner. They have their responsibilities and strengths and wedding planners, that actually service brides as a business and not as a hobby, are indispensable. Do  your research OR you can also check out some of these blogs who have credible vendor directories and recommendations for wedding planners in your area.

Hollar to all planners who know their stuff. You are fabulous and deserve  big props but most importantly you deserve to be paid and respected. You help facilitate one of the most memorable days in a couples’ life.
Thank You!!

xo, Leila Lewis, Wedding PR

113 responses to “Wedding PR Tips 101: Please Hire a Wedding Planner

  1. Leila, thank you for your candid view on why it is so necessary to hire a planner. I am so horrified that your friend went through what she did but people do need to be educated on the differences between a wedding coordinator and the venue coordinator. I have many horrors of my own, most often while a guest at a wedding (without a planner) I have had to step OUT of my guest role and into the wedding planner role just to avoid a disaster or chaos.

  2. Hi Leila,

    Congratulations on your own upcoming wedding! I greatly appreciate your affirmation for hiring a wedding planner. I am a wedding designer and often hear brides say: “my mom or sister can do it for me for “free.” I have seen my share of disasters too. It is hard for me to “be a guest” when the venue coordinator roles out the monogrammed aisle runner upside down. This actually happened at a friends wedding last year. The bride glanced down at the aisle runner and saw what should have been a “M” as a “W.” All of the guest were whispered in frustration. The best and dedicated wedding planners work extremely hard to follow through with each clients wishes and always plans ahead for any problems. Thank you so much for your encouragement!

  3. Hi Lelia,

    We met at the blogging bootcamp back in April… Sorry about what happened to your friend’s wedding, but Thank you soo much for the post!! I wish all the brides and grooms understand the differences between an on-site coordinator and a professional wedding coordinator!! You are right, most of the time brides and grooms think the on-site coordinator will take care of everything that a professional wedding coordinator would do but at the same time, their first priority on the day of is the venue. We are here to assist brides and grooms to make sure they truly enjoy their special day instead of run in to things that they are not suppose to do and to create a successful wedding day for them. Thanks again for your sharing!!

  4. YAHOO!! Leila, you are a gem for recognizing the hard work and skill that goes into planning a wedding. As a certified wedding consultant, I can attest to the fact that years of experience coupled with a ‘formal wedding planning education’ demonstrate a true professionals desire to give each client the very best. Each vendor contributes a special service to making a wedding day special for a couple, and it always amazes me too how many brides are willing to invest in all of those important services … but feel comfortable doing without the one resource that keeps all the balls in the air. HUH?? I hope your message encourages more brides to interview and hire professional wedding planners. I also hope it inspires other vendors to think of wonderful experiences they may have had with a wedding that engaged a professional planner, and use that to recommend qualified planners to brides that hire them. We need the support from fellow vendors to help push the message forward that a planner is a critical piece to the puzzle. And maybe then, we will begin to see a change in mindset of the DIY bride:)

  5. Absolutely unbelievable behavior from the on-site coordinator. Sadly, most brides think that the on-site coordinator is able to replace a “Day of” Coordinator or Wedding Planner, it must be in the way the on-site coordinators sell their venue packages. Being a planner myself, I know that there is no way that an on-site coordinator will be able to do what we do in taking care of every little detail and fighting on behalf of the bride. Thank you for this post. I hope we can find some way to have all Brides realize the reality of on site coordinators v. professional planners and the value of the cost.

  6. Leila, this is great! We are in 2009 and unfortunately although other vendors, such as photographers, caterers etc. see the value in a coordinator/planner’s role, they still do not encourage the bride to hire one. I hear this all the time, “I wish the bride hired a coordinator because everything was a mess”. And offsite coordinators and onsite coordinators are very different in every way. The onsite coordinators almost always tell brides that they will handle everything so there is no sense in spending “extra money”. Your post certainly hits home today since I’ve received two calls over the past two days for coordination service. Both weddings are for next week! They do see it necessary to hire a coordinator because of major concerns, however they want to spend like you said, a few hundred dollars. I hope next year brides become more educated about the difference. Collectively we can all educate them on the value of hiring a professional coordinator or planner.

  7. Thank you for posting this. SO true. I always tell brides we are an “insurance policy.” Would you buy a house, a car- ANYTHING worth TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS and NOT insure it. I doubt it. Why should a wedding be any other way?

  8. Great post Leila! Thanks so much for sharing your friend’s story – although it was an unfortunate example. It’s a reality that everyone is being more cautious about their spending these days, but brides and grooms really need more education about the benefits of hiring a professional wedding planner more than ever. Jung Lee put it perfectly in her recent book when she wrote “Weddings are like cooking; having wonderful ingredients doesn’t mean you’ll have a great meal.” The investment of hiring a professional wedding planner is one couples will not regret, and in the end the day they’ve worked so hard for is sure to be one of the most memorable for years to come.

  9. Thank you for posting this! I’m so sorry about your friend’s wedding. That’s so sad!

    Unfortunately I’ve had my fair share of brides who decide not to hire me for wedding day coordination because it’s “out of the budget”. These are the same brides who have paid $4,500+ for photography, at least $4,000 for flowers, not to mention catering at beautiful venues but don’t want to spend $1,500 – $2,500 for wedding day coordination to make sure it all goes smoothly!

  10. A to the MEN!!!! sometimes i actually cut back on my floral bid so that my brides can afford a day-of coordinator…it is THAT important to me to work in step with a professional planner…i don’t get it either…yes a dress can make you look good on your wedding day, a photographer can capture the good moments and flowers can make a room look pretty…but if a bride is frazzled, or guests aren’t haven’t a smoothly flowing experience, or the couple’s family is feeling stressed trying to get too many things done…what’s the point?! cause i swear, no matter how many good things go right, people always remember the bad stuff…hate to say it…so please people…HIRE.A.PLANNER!!!

  11. Thanks for the post Leila! This rings true when considering any wedding professional. While a family friend might have DJ equipment, that doesn’t mean they know how to keep the party rolling. Just because a coworker likes to take pictures doesn’t mean they’ll remember to include grandma in the family photo or get the most flattering angle of your dress. Lastly, you might think your bartender friend will do a great job, but then what happens when they are 30 minutes late to the reception because their work shift ran over? As a coordinator, I cannot stress these things enough.

  12. and racquel i LOOOOOVE that quote!!! “weddings are like cooking – having wonderful ingredients doesn’t mean you’ll have a great meal” – SO TRUE! gotta love jung lee right?! 🙂

  13. Leila this is FANTASTIC and I would LOVE to share this with every-single-bride I know. Can I? Pretty please? I have had three in a row where there was no planner and I’m now on a mission to have wedding planners as a MUST get just like the officiant!

  14. Just did a wedding this weekend where the bride cried/almost had a break down because the ‘venue coordinator’ did basically nothing. HOWEVER, they only went with the venue coordinator because their *actual* wedding planner they hired and had plenty of reviews about took their money and ran. And this planner was by no means cheap or new.
    But I have never seen a venue coordinator- ever – do what a couple expects them to do. They think they are wedding planners when they aren’t and couples just don’t realize that.
    I would LOVE to see blog post highlighting the big differences between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner that every vendor could print out and show couples. Because honestly, most couples don’t know, so who can blame them?

  15. SO TRUE. I’ve seen this happen dozens of times, a myriad of sloppy mistakes on the part of the venue coordinator who insisted that she could handle everything and a wedding coordinator wasn’t necessary. The difference between a venue coordinator and a wedding coordinator is VAST. I wish I could impress the difference on more of my clients.

  16. Oh my, I can’t believe she did all that! That’s just plain awful as a person, much less the coordinator! As a wedding photographer, I can attest to the fact that a coordinator makes everything go soooo much better. Too often I have to act as coordinator because the party has no idea how things are supposed to go. Help your vendors out by hiring someone to do the job and do it well!

  17. Thank you so much for this post! While I love the creativity that DIY brides possess, I simply can’t understand how they don’t realize how important it is to have a professional planner/coordinator there to ensure it all comes together. After all those months or even years of planning, they deserve to relax and simply focus on the celebration of their love- not whether or not there’s enough food to feed their guests. And while venue coordinators are usually our greatest allies {sorry your friend had such a horrible experience!}, their number one priority is the venue itself and not the bride.

  18. This was so great. Thanks for sharing this, and it’s helpful to have more insight to give brides as to WHY this “intangible” service really does make all the difference in the world and that day.

  19. I love today’s post. Every bride should read it. The day of your wedding you want someone to be your advocate and make sure your vision comes true. A venue coordinators 1st priority is the venues needs and wants. I agree don’t skimp hire a coordinator. They will be your advocate as well as make sure everything comes together as planned!! Great post Leila!!

  20. Amen! You said it best. Every bride, no matter how creative or how great of a negotiator needs someone to execute their vision. Not to mention a good planner can save their client money by saving them from costly mistakes!

  21. Wow! Great post. It is unfortunate that all of this happened in one wedding. It definitely goes to show that an experienced planner can not only save clients tremendous heartache, but they are invaluable at getting all the other wedding professionals on board as a team so that things like this don’t happen as the day progresses. Thanks for sharing this.

  22. I love you for this! So true! I hope you don’t mind but I Facebooked this and Blogged it! Love, Nicole, Owner and Certified Wedding Consultant of Nicole Lisanne Weddings and Events by Design

  23. I know that I am reiterating other comments, but thank you so much for this post. The unfortunate thing is that it always takes a horrible experience for a bride/couple to ‘wish’ they had hired a legit planner. As planners we hope we don’t have repeat brides, we need to get the word out in other ways….and I always feel like a broken record when I list at least 10 things that I know a venue coordinator won’t/can’t do.

  24. WOW!!! I’m totally speechless, all that happened at one wedding. OMG!!! And they cursed, ridiculous. As Carissa from JL Designs mentioned sometimes I too cut back on my floral bids to ensure that they hire us as day of coordinators. We have the skill set to ensure that our Bride and Groom’s day goes off without out a hitch. And Leila you are so correct you truly get what you paid for. I had a bride who wanted to pay $$ instead of $$$ for DOC, well what do you think happened? “Oh they wished they had used our services and paid the $$$ because the other person was clueless much like the part about the ribbon cutting. A few weeks ago Platinum Events Group in Canada did a blog about Venue Coordinators vs. Actual Wedding planners. Can I tell you, Cindy was right on! There is such a huge misconception with some of these venues. I truly loved your article as a reference for future brides.


  25. Thank you so much for this post. As a day-of coordinator, I am told by many brides that the reason they aren’t hiring is because the facility has a coordinator. I try to explain that I do much more than that person, but the brides never listen! Everything I wanted to say is repeated many times by previous posters. Thanks again and I am sorry for your friends.

  26. Thank god for Leila! I just go back from Engage in Vegas and was catching up on my blog reading and this post by far is and will be my FAVORITE post of the week. I am on a continuous mission to explain to our clients the difference between a site coordinator/planner and an independent wedding planner. such as myself. I am sorry to hear about the mishaps that took place at your friend’s wedding, it’s truly unfortunate. I hope your post serves as an insight to those brides who may be questioning whether or not they should hire a planner and hopefully it will prevent others from enduring the agony and disrespect your friend had to go through.

  27. What a great post, and always most welcomed when it’s endorsing our services! Thank you. I cringe when brides opt out of a planner simply because their venue coordinator told them so… I’m confused by this, because many venue coordinators I have worked with, have been grateful to have me working with them. They agree it helps the flow of the event, plus they know they can work with a point person who is not the bride or groom. Just a few snippets to share, as brides may not know how hard we work on their behalf without having to consult them, such as the venue coordinator who wanted to put out the “red” aisle runner, when the bride’s dress was pink. My bride would have died right there to be clashing with her aisle runner. Or the venue coordinator who told me the chef is refusing to serve the cake brought it in, as he felt it wasn’t up to standards to cut and serve. Or when the ipod Dj man, didn’t know which version of the first dance the couple wanted played… venue coordinators have their place, and work tirelessly for the venue and the couple – but the are not up to speed on all aspects of the wedding and ensuring it plays out the way the couple have envisioned. Hopefully your post helps clarify this for the bride and groom!

  28. Thank you for sharing this story, although I’m sorry your friend had such problems with their venue co-ordinator on the day. People don’t seem to realise what a wedding planner actually does on the day, and it’s even worse over here in the UK. We get so many comments like “my venue’s taking care of that” or “I don’t need to waste money on a wedding planner”, and it’s so difficult to make people understand how many things can go wrong on the day if it isn’t planned properly. I hope this helps couples understand the benefits and worth of hiring a planner for their wedding day.

  29. Thank you for the wonderful post, here is a story for you:
    Once upon a time there was a couple getting married in a Tuscan Castle on a hot and sweaty August afternoon. They invited their loved ones, family and friends who flew in from as far away as Texas and everyone stayed together in the castle. The couple’s budget was tight so they figured they would hire a planner for paperwork, legalities and the reception party but take care of all the other details themselves such as flowers, favors, and …. photographer. Who knows why they thought DIY for those services would be cheaper than booking them through the planner. Anyway, what they didn’t know was you can’t always trust who you meet over the internet and lo and behold, at 2:45 pm, no photographer had shown up.
    I am happy to say (and it will be posted on my kudos page soon) that I was able to get a photographer on the spot and the bride and groom are married and will live happily ever after.
    Support your local wedding planner!!

  30. Leila…you have said so eloquently what all of us coordinators would love to have listed out on our homepage. It is all so true…yet so often forgotten or ignored. I plan to save this entry and pass it along as much as I can. So many think planning their own wedding or having a summer full of friends get married qualifies them to do our job. The challenges, needed knowledge, problem solving skills, creativity, tact…etc that is needed for this job is so often understated. We are the thread that pulls the day together. The DJ/band can do their part, the onsite coordinator can do theirs, but the one person there from the time the make-up goes on until the last guest leaves is the only one that can make the day flow seamlessly- that is the wedding coordinator. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!!

  31. I’m so sorry your friend had to go through such an experience – the behavior of that “co-ordinator” was absolutely inexcusable. I just posted this on my FB fan page (I’m a wedding and portrait photographer) Those of us who are in the wedding industry can talk until we’re blue in the face about the virtues of hiring a wedding co-ordinator, but your story about the disrespectful treatment your friend and her guests received ON HER WEDDING DAY really drives the point home.
    Too often the rest of the vendors at a wedding (photographers, DJ’s, etc) are put in the position of performing a small portion of a
    co-ordinators’ duties because there’s no one else available to help the bride understand the both the big picture in terms of the flow of her day, or the necessity to pay attention to the small details that an excited, flustered, and oftentimes sleep-deprived bride can easily overlook. I always feel so awful for brides who can’t relax on the day of their wedding because they’re worrying about all the last minute details that never got taken care of!

  32. Today I’m catching up your blog and apparently I’ve missed some great entries! In particular, I love this post! These unfortunate examples help paint a very vivid picture of the multitude of things that can ‘go awry’ at any point during a wedding. An experienced professional is “priceless” (to coin a phrase) – he/she is the person who will proactively manage your investment! – how foolish to skimp there, although so many do. I rarely share horror stories with potential clients for a few reasons…. But I think I will share this link via my blog… 😉

  33. Leila, I see congrats are in order for your very own wedding:) How exciting:):)!!
    This post is right on the money, thank you for the acknowledgement. I hope your friend was still able to bask in the day and hold on to the memories that her and her groom expressed their love before their friends and family on their day.

  34. Hi Leila, That post was perfect!!!! So many times I hear, I don’t need a coordinator. The facility has one…. It makes me cringe! I just got your book. Can’t wait to read it this weekend!

  35. So sorry to hear about your friend’s wedding. :- I, too, have stepped into the planner role, when attending as a guest and I find myself appalled at the lack of unprofessionalism of some of these venue coordinators!

    Your post is very well said. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve heard a bride say, “I can’t afford a wedding planner”, “Our venue coordinator is handling everything”, or my favorite “My maid of honor is handling it all, afterall, that’s why she’s my MoH!” WOW!

  36. Hi Leila,
    Great post! Thank you so much for putting it out there for everyone to read the purpose of a professional wedding planner! I find that 50% of my job as a planner is education about what I do (as a planner) and how I’m different than a onsite coordinator or DJ trying to be a coordinator!

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s wedding. I’m horrified by all of the events you listed! A professional planner is supposed to think of everything that could slip through the crack or go wrong ahead of time to avoid any of the issues you described. And if something goes wrong fix it immediately and discreetly with the Bride’s best interest at heart! A Bride should never know the blunders of her wedding day! Never! It is “planners” like the one you describe, that give us all a bad name. Shame on her!

    Thank you so much for clarifying there is a difference between a professional wedding planner and a stand in!

    Wendi Hroncich
    ethereal events

  37. I somewhat disagree. Yes wedding coordinators are great, but not completely needed. I am not a professional coordinator but I have been able to coordinate friends and family events for years now. I was even a Maid of Honor in a friends wedding and coordinated as well and everything went perfectly. I say if a Bride can’t handle the stress or is very disorganized then yes, she needs someone to do all of her things for her. If she has reliable friends, family, bridal party then it can be done. I planned and organized my own wedding years ago from every little detail til the day of. Then on the day of I was able to have a reliable friend oversee everything and still enjoy her time at the wedding.
    I know many coordinators in the business and do not knock them or their work at all. But simply some Brides who are self sufficient can handle things. And sometimes Brides may not be able to budget for a full coordinator. I sympathize with Brides who have had a wedding gone wrong because of no coordinator but I don’t always believe a coordinator is NEEDED.

  38. SOOOOOO true!! I can’t tell you how many times I have personally had to put down my video camera and button a dress because no one else knows how, or put pantyhose on a bride, or pin up the inner bra on a dress that doesn’t fit right….all true, and THAT is just the bridal prep! I tell all our brides who don’t have a planner to hire one! Things just go so much smoother and then the photographer, videographer and DJ can work on doing THEIR jobs instead of also trying to help run a reception!

  39. Thank you! I am a professional wedding planner, with more than 100 high-end destination weddings under my belt. It is shocking the brides that will spend 100.000 on their wedding but skip on the planner. My spouse is a DJ and with his long history in restaurant management finds himself trying to manage the room, manage the timing of the event, direct the flow. It’s a lot for one vendor to juggle. In every wedding I choreograph, there are pages of “behind the scenes” incidents that I handle, and if I’ve done my job right, my bride is non-the-wiser. I can only hope that by doing my job, I free the bride to be really present, to be able to be a hostess to her guests, and let go of all the little details and to-dos.

  40. True! “@weddingPR: Please hire a wedding planner: when your friend is “helping you out” as your coordinator you get what you(DON’T)pay for!"

  41. Thanks Leila for posting this @weddingPR I have a few recent horror stories of catering managers who call themselves coordinators #DontDIY

  42. I wish I could had this out to every prospective client I meet. If every bride only understood the importance of having some that you have hired and not just a free volunteer!

  43. So true @weddingPR RT Please hire a wedding planner: the businesses that actually service brides are indispensable

  44. @weddingPR So true! Wedding Planners are an asset and a necessity these days. We are professionals dedicated to the industry & our couples

  45. Thank you sooo much, Leila for not only posting this, but REPOSTING it. I have actually capitalized on brides being present at disastrous weddings and calling us very soon after. But the stories of being mistreated by service “professionals” still make me very angry. It doesn’t cost you anything more to treat people with courtesy and respect in stressful situations, especially when the circumstances are out of your control. One thing that makes me even angrier is venues that keep those “coordinators” employed after they have received multiple complaints about their attitude towards guests. I take that into account when I refer venues, hotels, caterers, florists, spas…anyone

  46. You pay professionals to change your oil, do your taxes, etc. Why risk the biggest, most expensive party and emotionally charged day of your life? If someone were to see everything a planner takes care of and all the little ‘fires’ they put out on the day, they would wonder why we arent paid a king’s ransom.

  47. Great blog entry on why us planners are so important by fabulous Leila Khali of @weddingPR all must read. Thanks Leila!

  48. I love you. RT @weddingPRashley: Totally agree @weddingPR I attribute having an amazing wedding day to @jesihaack and @melanieJHD!

  49. RT @CeciNewYork: Agree! RT @weddingPR: Please hire a wedding planner; planners that service brides as a biz & not hobby are indispensable

  50. Agree! RT @weddingPR: Please hire a wedding planner: planners that actually service brides as a business & not as a hobby are indispensable

  51. I would also like to add that wedding planners can really set your day up for beautiful wedding photography – when the couple are completely at ease, without a care other than enjoying each moment and not worrying about taking care of their guests and logistics there is a visible difference in the demeanor of the couple and their wedding party…they are fully immersed int eh joy of the day…great planners are an integral ingredient for amazing photos from beginning to end 🙂

  52. i love this blog! It is so true and I must say as a coordinator it is very frustrating.. More like heart breaking to hear people say they will do it themselves. Do they really think their friends and family don’t want to enjoy the day too?! Instead they get put to work…

    Second, I jut had a very DIY Brode this past weekend but that is why she hired me on to take care of everything because she recognized the work her details would take. You can see the details here…

    So cute and so fun because she had me to take care of the entire thing!

  53. Thank you, thank you, thank you–I couldn’t have written this better myself. I am a 23-year veteran wedding planner and I appreciate how you delineated teh difference between the venue/caterer coordinator and the pro. Very much appreciated!

  54. Great article! I have been to so many weddings that chose not to have a planner and realized afterwards what a huge mistake that was. Hire a professional Day of Coordinator at least. Everyone will actually enjoy the day if you do.

  55. Yes yes yes yes yes! Thank you for sharing this!!

    As a wedding designer and planner, I am always explaining to potential clients whose venue “comes with a coordinator” the difference between someone they select and hire to be their planner, and someone who works for the venue. I am always very grateful for a good venue coordinator to work with in making sure that everything runs smoothly – they have their responsibilities, and we have ours. The stories above are HORRENDOUS – no matter what industry you’re working in, that kind of decorum is absolutely terrible! But especially on someone’s wedding day!! It breaks my heart to think your friend had that experience.

    But even if they are professional, nice, and on top of things, their job is not the same as a wedding planner or coordinator. When we were engaged, we met with a handful of wedding planners before we selected our venue. When we did, we found that it “came with a wedding coordinator,” and I called all of the planners I had met with to tell them that. I WISH so much that someone would have had the sense to tell me it’s not the same thing!! Even though the venue coordinator made it sound (during her sales pitch, of course) like she took care of everything that the planners said they did, like timelines, coordinating vendors, keeping track of contracts, etc… I found out the hard way, during the few days before our wedding, that none of that was true. I had all my vendors calling me, asking for a timeline (that I didn’t have, nor know how to create) and for details that as a bride, I had no idea about!! It was stressful to say the least. And as soon as our reception dinner was served, she disappeared and never told us she was leaving. Thankfully our DJ was great and had worked there before, so he was able to help me handle things (like being locked out of the bridal room!).

    Long story short, venue coordinators have two main responsibilities – A. to act as the sales person for the venue (and sell you on having your wedding there!) and B. to coordinate and facilitate their catering and venue staff. That’s it. They are hired by the venue, not by the bride, so when it comes down to it, who is going to be the priority?

  56. A lot of people have worked tirelessly, spent lots of money and treated you like a
    princess in the weeks leading up to your big day. Make some time to write
    personalized cards for all of them and give it to each one before the wedding
    ceremonies begin

    Wedding Planner

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