What is the difference between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator?
They are essentially the same thing. Wedding planners tend to help with the planning of the entire wedding, while coordinators usually help with the day of the wedding.
Why should I hire a wedding planner?
According to an interview with JoAnn Gregoli of New York-based Elegant Occasions on Wedding Channel:
Certain wedding profiles lend themselves perfectly to hiring a planner. "One is simply when there is a time problem. There's just no time to do the research," she says. Planners can also be of great service if you are not living in the place in which you will be married. Let's say you live in New York City and your wedding is in Denver, where you grew up. Or maybe you're planning a destination wedding on an island in the Bahamas. A planner familiar with the locale can do the legwork.
Another wedding that can be enhanced by a pro is what Gregoli calls "the bigger undertaking." For example, a tented wedding in which everything from décor to food to bathrooms has to be brought in.
Gregoli says that whatever type of wedding you want, a planner can help your vision become a reality. In fact, a planner can help a couple hone in on what their vision for their wedding really is. Gregoli does that by listening to her brides, and she says that's a critical skill for a wedding planner. Because she knows how to bring all of the elements together, Gregoli can carry out her clients' dreams. "People don't want a cookie-cutter wedding; I can help make it more memorable."
According to Gregoli, hiring a wedding planner can be a smart move economically. "I know your budget and can help you stick to it." Also, planners can oftentimes get more out of the vendors. "We are repeat business for them. Brides come and go." And planners can steer you to top quality vendors: "Planners are only as good as the vendors we support."
Gregoli, like many planners, is flexible in terms of how much or how little involvement she has in planning a wedding. "Some I do are from soup to nuts -- everything, even accepting the responses," she says. But she also does many wedding day only jobs, in which she's called in at the end of the planning process to make sure that the wedding day, and the weeks leading up to it, run smoothly. "That's the bride who says, 'I've done a lot of work, now I want to have fun and be a guest.' "
It's easy to have fun at your wedding when someone else is taking care of the unforeseen disasters. Sometimes Gregoli spares the bride the details of behind-the-scenes mishaps. In one of her weddings, a bride was having a special cake flown from New York to Aspen, where she was getting married. When the cake arrived, it was a fallen, mushy mess. Gregoli had a picture of the original and worked with the hotel pastry chef in Aspen to replicate it. "I thought, why should sugar, flour and water ruin her day?" The day after the wedding, Gregoli told the bride about the fiasco. "She didn't even notice that the cake was different, and she said she was grateful that I hadn't told her."
My reception site is offering a coordinator with my rental package so I don’t need another coordinator, right?
On-site coordinators are great because they know the venue like the back of their hand. At the same time, they are getting paid by the venue, so their main interest is the venue, not the bride & groom. An outside coordinator can be sure everything is exactly how you want it, not the easiest/best way from the facility’s point of view.