Planners and coordinators and designers, oh my!
So you decided that you want to hire a professional to help with your wedding. We totally called it... we knew we had the absolute most intelligent + reasonable readers!
And while we know you made a decision that you will 100% not regret, there’s just one more tiny decision to make. (Well actually there’s many more decisions you’ll have to make, but your wedding professional may be able to help you out on that front!)
You need to decide which type of wedding professional you’ll have by your side throughout the planning process + your big day.
...Let’s start with an analogy to set the stage.
Imagine you’re building a house. We think it’s safe to assume most of you have absolutely no experience heading into this endeavor. And that’s totally fine because there are many professionals out there to help you!
Those of you who have zero experience are probably going to run STRAIGHT to your nearest + most reputable general contractor. He or she will serve as your go-to man or woman and will help with every aspect of building your dream house. Creating the timeline, drafting plans, building the frame, yada yada yada… your general contractor will take care of all the logistics + planning and all you’ll have to do is say “Umm, YES!” or “This is close but not quite perfect”. So easy + relatively low-stress, a win-win!
Or maybe you want to plan + research everything yourself, but you know you can’t even entertain the idea of actually building your house. In this case, you’d hire a builder to supplement your friend’s work. You and your friend would do all the work a general contractor would do up until it’s time to build the house. Then, you’ll pass off the plans to your builder and he or she will double-check the validity of your work + begin construction.
But then the realization hits- you can have the most beautifully constructed house based off the most thoughtful plans, but what is really going to wow all your guests is how you decorate + characterize each space. So you bring in an experienced interior decorator to take all those beautiful pins on your Pinterest board and tweak them to fit both your unique style + specific home.
And by now, you’re probably asking… uhh, why is the Love Letter Weddings team blabbering on about building a house??
Because it’s the perfect metaphor for the different types of wedding professionals out there!
Wedding planners are the general contractors for your wedding. They’ll do all of the planning, assisting, question-answering, and executing for your perfect day.
Wedding coordinators are the builders. They will leave the bulk of the planning to you but will circle back just before your wedding to check your plans + take care of executing every detail perfectly on your big day.
Wedding designers are the interior decorators. They come in and make everything stunningly gorgeous. Like a “your guests will be talking about this day for months” kind of gorgeous.
Alright, let’s break it down into the specifics!
What do wedding planners do?
An easier question to answer would be, “What don’t wedding planners do?” If you are wanting a full-service professional to make sure every single detail of your day lines up, a wedding planner will be your absolute new best friend- not including your new fiance(e), of course!
It’s important to note that while a wedding planner is certainly the most involved, it is more often than not the most expensive option. But can you really put a price on your sanity? Yeah, we didn’t think so.
This is the best option for those who have a bit more money set aside and are a-okay with passing the planning baton off to an experienced professional.
A quick (but certainly not exclusive) list of wedding planner duties:
Gets you organized from the get-go
Helps with budgeting, setting priorities and managing expectations
Helps correspond with vendors, negotiates on your behalf and lines up contracts
Goes to vendor meetings with you and makes sure you are asking all the right questions
Stands in for you when you can’t do things in person and communicates to vendors on your behalf
Helps keep you on track with your to-do list
Solves problems when necessary
Typically includes day-of coordination
For the most part, you’re okay with tackling both the planning + designing for your wedding. However, you know that things will be five shades of crazy in that last month leading up to your event, and you don’t even want to think about trying to both slow down + enjoy your wedding day while making sure that every one of your ideas is being properly executed. In this case, a wedding coordinator will be your best bet.
Wedding coordinators aren’t typically involved in the planning process. Coordinators have two main roles: 1) make sure that all of the planning you’ve done makes sense and is ready to go and 2) be onsite for your big day to do all the set-up, directing, managing, and overseeing so you can just focus on having the best. day. ever.
This is the best option for those who still want support leading up to + during their big day but are also keen to keep things on the less expensive end of the spectrum.
A quick (but certainly not exclusive) list of wedding coordinator duties:
Reviews vendors, contracts, and logistics with you to ensure a smooth event
Reviews wedding day timeline with you to make sure you’ve included all the important details
Reviews the decor list and layout with you so they know exactly how you want everything set up
Relays timeline with other vendors
Works out logistical kinks (that you may not have even thought of!)
Helps with final errands
Packs + organizes all wedding day decor
Manages the wedding rehearsal
Directs vendor set up
Solves any onsite problems
Manages the timeline
Cleans up and breaks down while you head to your after party
Your Pinterest board titled “Going to the Chapel!” has over 500 pins... and that’s great, so much inspiration! Now the hard part comes in- you need to figure out how to tie all of those ideas together to create a day that will knock your guests’ socks right off.
And then you remember that creativity just isn’t your forte, UGH. You know you want beautiful flowers + a gorgeous sweetheart table, but you just don’t how exactly what that looks like. You’re more than happy to take care of all of the logistical details though! In this case, a wedding designer is definitely your best bet.
A quick (but certainly not exclusive) list of wedding designer duties:
Helps develop the wedding style + personality
Studies your Pinterest boards + inspiration to learn what you like
Learns what kind of “vibe” you’re going for
Creates a design proposal that outlines the general look as well as the specific ceremony, cocktail hour and reception looks
Lines up rentals, flowers, and misc. decor to execute the determined wedding design
Sometimes provides floral design services, graphic design elements, create handcrafted elements (Love Letter Weddings does all of the above!)
Sources + commissions custom decor on your behalf
Delivers + sets up all custom decor not provide by other vendors
Directs design related vendors during setup
Styles decor to perfection, making sure everything will wow your guests and pop in photographs
Sets up detail shots for photographer during the event (dress, rings, shoes, invites, favors, cocktails, table shots, etc..)
So there you have it- you’re now all experts on the different categories of wedding professionals. (Add that one to your resume!)
Don’t think you can afford a wedding planner and/or designer? Or maybe you don’t think you need one? That’s perfectly fine, you’re definitely not alone! But we highly suggest you at least hire a wedding coordinator.
You guys, we aren’t kidding when we say that many wedding planners and coordinators hire a wedding coordinator for their own personal weddings. Why? Because having a professional take away all the stress on your big day is a decision that you will totally LOVE yourself for!
Another thing we highly suggest? Asking potential wedding professionals exactly what their various packages include. Here at Love Letter Weddings, we are both planners + designers, and our full service package covers both. However, not all planners double as designers, so definitely ask this question ahead of time if this is something you’re looking for.At the end of the day, you need to determine which type of wedding professional is the best fit for you. After all, you will be planning one of the biggest days of your life, so you should definitely make sure your support system is exactly what you need!