I decided to jump onto this topic as I have been asked this question so many times recently, in fact in the last week 3 couples have asked me, and there's just not enough information out there about these roles and the differences between them.
So, what is the difference between a wedding coordinator and a venue coordinator? Keep reading as I am going to give you the intel!
Venue Coordinator's priority is the venue, Wedding Coordinator's priority is you
Firstly a disclaimer! I am not anti venue coordinators! I work with them all the time and they can make the wedding planning process a lot easier, I am just stating what the differences are between the roles so that you get a better understanding of them and why you might require both.
There wouldn't be a wedding coordinator job role if your venue coordinator did the same things...
Here are the differences, should you want to take on a wedding coordinator if your venue has a venue coordinator.
The venue coordinator is employed by the venue and is therefore in charge on making sure the venue is perfect for your arrival. They'll be in charge of all the logistics happening at the venue, when suppliers can load in and load out their equipment, checking nothing will damage the venue or isn't allowed, make sure you keep within noise restrictions. A wedding coordinator is technically employed by you, you have decided to get them on board and therefore they will have your best interests at heart. It's more of a personal job role to you rather than to a building/company. They are your wedding day BFFs! They are your wedding day PA and they will look after all the suppliers, the suppliers logistics and all the details to make sure you get exactly what you want. I'm not saying that a venue coordinator won't have your best interests at heart, they'll want to help in anyway they can but just remember their main focus is the venue itself.
If you are NOT getting married at your venue, but getting married in a church or registry office for example, then you are obviously NOT going to have your venue coordinator with you. Their priority is the venue and getting the venue ready for your arrival after the ceremony. A wedding coordinator however, will go to both locations, they will be there at the ceremony venue helping to guide guests on where to go, where to park, assisting your ushers, being in contact with the bride to know her arrival time or if she's running late. They'll be able to cue the bride and bridesmaids to know when to walk down the aisle, and help organise the confetti shot and so on. If you don't want a wedding coordinator just remember that the venue coordinator will NOT be there for the ceremony if in another location.
Thinking about the wedding day timeline, the venue supplier will touch base with suppliers to find out what time they're arriving for set up and what time they're arriving for the derig, then they'll give them information about where they can load in/out from and that's probably it. A wedding coordinator however, will look into this schedule a little bit deeper and create a schedule that works holistically for all suppliers so that there aren't any clashes or hold ups for loading equipment in. For example, making sure the florist isn't setting up before the lighting has gone in or before the caterers have set up the tables. Making sure the dance floor has gone down before the bar is set up, that sort of thing. A wedding coordinator will also include more personal moments into the wedding timeline such as couples photos and if you wanted a sunset shot, when the Master of Ceremonies needs to make an announcement, more detailed timings of speeches and when they're happening, a sparkler moment with the cake cutting and all those other little details that happen throughout the day. Summary! Venue coordinator looks at the venue logistics Wedding coordinator looks at specific personal logistics as well as all the other logistics.
Working hours will differ with the two roles. The venue coordinator will be there from when the venue opens and may leave after the wedding breakfast starts, where they might then hand over two a catering manager. This will vary depending on your venue and the specific of the venue coordinator role to that venue. You therefore might have two different points of contact throughout the day. The wedding coordinator will either be there from start to finish or will have a set amount of hours but they're usually focused around you and your timings. They'll usually oversee most of the set up and they'll usually stay until after the first dance so all the moments that you're involved in, your wedding coordinator is there to help and make sure you and your guests are in the right place at the right time. Both roles may stay with you for the entire day so just check what's included when speaking to your wedding venue and wedding coordinator.
Styling & Details
When it comes to the details and styling, the venue coordinator will most likely get involved and help to put down name places, favours and menus that kind of thing and so would your wedding coordinator, but, your wedding coordinator will look at these elements and style them with a little more detail. Your wedding coordinator would have had conversations with you in detail about all the different areas you want set up to make sure they are styled and look how you envisioned. For example they'll know that your table plan might need the flowers styled around it in a particular way, you may be using it for two different purposes and it needs to moved at a certain point so they'll do that for you.
Then it comes to guests and guest management, your venue coordinator will make sure the venue is running and ready for the movement of yours guests. Their priority, like I have said before, is the venue so they want to make sure that is being looked after first and foremost, they will of course step in if guests are in trouble or being anti-social (hopefully they wouldn't be!) but the safety of the venue is their responsibility. A wedding coordinator, again is all about you and therefore the wellbeing of your guests. I, personally make a point of asking the bride and groom to point out to me any important people to you on your wedding day so that I can keep an eye on them and make sure they're happy! The wedding coordinator will make sure guests know where they're going and what they're doing, they'll make sure they're happy and that you're happy! They'll always make sure the bride and groom are well looked after, make sure they've got a drink, if the bride needs a spritz of hairspray or a curvy grip or safety pin, they'll always have a little wedding kit with them for all these needs!
Your wedding coordinator will also prompt or, if you so, wish act as your Toast Master or Master of Ceremonies for the day. This is the person that helps to move guests from area to area and make announcements, so for that person to relax and enjoy the day without stressing that they might miss or forget what to say, the wedding coordinator will introduce themselves when they arrive and then find them at each point they need to say something, perhaps give them a microphone and remind them of what to say.
Emergency Kit Bag!
Finally a wedding coordinator comes with a giant wedding emergency kit bag! To find out what's in my kit bag watch this video but we come with almost everything for those 'just in case' scenarios! This includes extension leads, hammers, cable ties, spare tights for guests, hairspray, hair grips, bluetack, glue dots, hooks, safety pins, mini stitching kits, velcro... random items you may not think of for the if's, but's and maybe's! You must remember a wedding is a live event and no matter how organised we are there will always be something that can go wrong so your wedding coordinator should be able to sort almost anything!
I hope the above has helped to understand the difference between the two roles. A venue coordinator and wedding coordinator combination will create a dream team for your wedding day, they do have some cross overs but I hope you can see now that they do have difference job specs on the day.
If you're looking for a wedding coordinator on the day then please get in touch, I offer two different services either month of coordination or on the day coordination and you can find out more about those here!
Photos by 1 & 3. Sophie Duckworth Photography 2. James Davidson 4. Juliet McKee Photography