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Friday, July 11, 2014

Clearing the Confusion: Wedding Planner vs. Designer vs. Coordinator

It’s a slightly touchy subject in the wedding industry. Just what exactly is the difference between a wedding planner and a designer? And where do coordinators fit into the puzzle? In truth, the names really do tell the story: a coordinator coordinates, a designer designs and a planner plans. What do planners plan? Well, basically everything!
Beautiful destination wedding from Weddings by StarDust; photo credit: f8
Stunning Weddings by StarDust ceremony and reception at the Anatole; photo credit: HelmutWalker

A wedding planner is a professional who plans the wedding alongside the bride, coordinates the vendor team, helps select a floral designer and often partners with them in the wedding design, maps out the budget and timeline and coordinates the entire wedding day and very often the weekend events surrounding the wedding. Inherit in our jobs is a huge design piece. We help the bride develop her vision for her wedding day, including the aesthetics and design, which is comprised of – but never limited to – color palettes, lighting, linens, table settings, paper products (think escort cards, menus, programs and signage), floral choices, motifs/themes (i.e. monograms or symbols) cake design and more!
Glamorous Weddings by StarDust event at Sky Lobby; photo credit: Sarah Kate
Stunning Four Seasons event from Weddings by StarDust; photo credit: Table 4 Weddings

And while planners do a lot of heavy lifting in the design of their clients’ weddings, they do it as a partner with the vendors who will execute the vision such as the florist, lighting expert, bakery, stationer and rental company. The planner is the bride’s advocate, ensuring her vision is brought to perfect fruition, but he/she also acts as the liaison between the bride and her vendors and often even among the vendor team itself.
Fabulous Weddings by StarDust ceremony and reception at the Filter Building; photo credit: f8
Classic and elegant ceremony followed by Monte Carlo-themed reception at Chapel by Ana Villa by Weddings by StarDust; photo by: Allen Tsai

A wedding designer usually focus on the décor of the event, with all other details being secondary to them. Very often, these professionals have a floral or decorating background. They may be adept at designing a spectacular event, but it’s not really in their wheelhouse to help you with all of the complete logistics of your wedding, such as budget, schedule and managing/coordinating the other vendors as a cohesive team.

A wedding coordinator is usually a professional who coordinates the logistics of the wedding day. Those using this title are typically “day of” coordinators, with the extent of their role limited to implementing what the bride has specified. They usually do not help plan the wedding day, although they can be very valuable in problem solving on the wedding day. A word of caution: please do not ever hire a coordinator that just shows up on the “day of.” Any reputable wedding day coordinator should meet with you around a month prior to your wedding to help you finalize any outstanding details and familiarize themselves with your wedding plan and vision. Do your research, and know that in the wedding industry, you get what you pay for, so be wary of any coordinators charging far below others.

It also should be noted that not all wedding planners are capable of or even interested in guiding brides in the design of their wedding. If you want to ensure your planner has the chops to help you plan and design a jaw-dropping event, do your homework! Meet with them, review their portfolios and check their references – both from clients and vendors they have worked with!
Our awesome wedding planning team!
At Weddings by StarDust, all of our lead planners are certified by the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners and attend continuing education courses throughout the year to stay at the leading edge of the industry. We have helped hundreds of brides plan and design beautiful events from intimate, casual backyard events and huge, lavish ballroom affairs to elegant tented celebrations and whimsical beachside destination weddings. Call us at 972.781.1619 to schedule your appointment so we can learn more about your wedding vision and explore how we can help you make your wedding dreams come true!

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