You may be asking yourself what the difference is between a day of coordinator and a wedding planner... and if you really need either of them.
A wedding planner and a day of coordinator (DOC) are two different things, although often times an event planning company or person will offer both types of services. Venues can also have a venue coordinator. This person likely will not fulfill all of the usual DOC tasks and serves a separate purpose from the DOC.
What are the differences in the services offered?
Venue Coordinator: Many venues will come with a venue coordinator, but each venue will have different policies in place for how much this person actually assists on the day of the wedding. Often times this person is primarily there to make sure the venue's end of the contract is carried out ie. spaces are clean, bathrooms are stocked, bar/catering are appropriately stocked, etc.. Generally you can expect they will help to some extent with setting up a timeline, managing your timeline day of, orchestrating a room flip if needed and making sure catering is on top of what they need to do. If your venue comes with one, be sure to clarify what they will and will not do on the day of your wedding.
Things a venue coordinator will typically do:
Educate vendors on parking, set up locations and policies by the venue
May set up limited decor, most likely this would be chairs, tables, linens - things provided by the venue
Will only work on site at the venue. This is important if your ceremony is occurring off site
Stay the duration of set up through dinner service and may leave after.
A Day of Wedding Coordinator: This is often advertised as a wedding management package. This person is someone who is *usually* involved from about a month out from your date and then is there for the duration of your actual wedding day. This means you do most of the grunt work as far as picking details and hiring vendors, whereas your DOC is just there to refine and make sure everything runs smoothly on the actual day. A DOC is a great person to bring in to make sure you have everything in order and take the stress off of you and your family members, so you can fully enjoy the day. DOCs will often have a list of preferred vendors they can pass on to you as well during your planning process. These vendors may be people they know will get the job done well, and may even offer special discounts for being booked with that particular DOC.
Things you can typically expect with a wedding management/DOC package:
Meeting ~1 month out from wedding date to go over details
Creation of a detailed day-of timeline
Communication and management of vendors both prior-to and day-of your wedding
Checking in on the couple, bridal party, and immediate family to ensure everyone is where they need to be and taken care of.
Be present at all parts of the wedding, even if at various locations during the day
Ensure that all decor is set up according to plan - including centerpieces, ceremony decor, escort cards and other personal items you bring in.
Pass out tips to vendors at the end of the night
Stay the full duration of the event
Clean/pack up event space
A Wedding Planner: is someone who is going to be more involved throughout the entire process of planning your wedding. You’ll likely have several package options to choose from on how involved you’d like them to be. They will have an initial consultation with you, help you refine your vision and come up with ideas to help you move forward. They can help with narrowing down vendor choices, meeting in person with vendors, selecting decor, and then will be there the day of directing the whole operation. This is a good option for couples who are trying to plan a wedding in a different state than where they live, or a couple that is busy and would rather not have to do all of the research and planning on their own.
Things a wedding planner may do:
Tour event spaces
Meet and book other vendors
Create a vision board and design elements
Review and manage contracts with vendors
Manage the guest list including keeping track of RSVPs and invitations
Manage your wedding budget
Set up a wedding website
Offer advice on etiquette and family conflicts
Design and plan other wedding events such as your rehearsal dinner or showers.
All above tasks with DOC
Now, do you need them? Our biased opinion is yes, you need at minimum a day of coordinator. For most of you, this is the first (and hopefully only) time you are planning a wedding. It's pretty normal to not know what the heck you are supposed to do. A professional planner or DOC does this for a living so they know the industry, let them help you!
There are more details that go into weddings than you are likely going to think of on your own. Also guess what? You and your family members aren't going to want to clean up and pack up all of your stuff at the end of the night. So save yourself some headache and get one of these people on your vendor list. If you need ideas, head over to our featured planners to find your match.