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I recently had a discussion with a friend and realized there needs to be a clarification of what a venue coordinator and a wedding coordinator actually are. Many couples think of them to be the same, but they’re not. And what’s even more unfortunate is that wedding venues themselves are advertising them to be the same, convincing couples they don’t need an independent wedding coordinator. So what’s the difference between the two?

The biggest difference is their primary focus. An on-site venue coordinator’s primary focus is that of the venue, not the couple. Whereas with a wedding coordinator, their primary focus is that of the couple. A couple will usually meet with several different wedding planners and choose the one they get along with the best. With an on-site venue coordinator, you don’t have a choice. Once the couple has booked their wedding date with the venue, the venue will assign them a coordinator.

Where an on-site venue coordinator and wedding coordinator act in the same role is when recommending vendors. After booking with a venue the on-site coordinator will provide the couple with the venue’s preferred vendor list. Normally these vendors provide the venue with a referral fee if a client chooses to go with them. Wedding coordinators on the other hand do not receive kickbacks. As a wedding planner, it’s our job to look out for the best interest of our clients, not ourselves. The team of vendors a wedding coordinator recommends are those that they know and trust can fulfill their clients vision and provide them with the best quality products for their budget.

Another big difference between the two is the relationship they will have with the engaged couple. A wedding coordinator works very closely with the couple, building a very personal and professional relationship with them from the beginning of the planning process. From selecting vendors to budget management, theme development and decor, a planner is involved in every step of the wedding. The coordinator is there to answer any questions or concerns you may have as well as keep your emotions reigned in. Planning a wedding can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Hire a planner to oversee all of the finer details and supervise the event itself, making sure everything goes according to plan.

An on-site venue coordinator and an independent wedding coordinator have distinctly different roles that when brought together can complement each other very well. With both being there on the day of the wedding they will be able to manage different aspects of the event, making each other’s jobs much easier. A wedding coordinator will be responsible for handling all details related to the couple and the wedding, including managing the vendors as well as handling all direction of ceremonies, while the venue coordinator will be responsible for handling all aspects related to the venue, including managing the staff and catering.

So if you’re an engaged couple touring a wedding venue and their sales team tells you that their on-site venue coordinators can do the same job as hiring an independent wedding coordinator, ask them what that person’s role actually involves. Even if you want to plan your wedding yourself, consider hiring a wedding coordinator for the last month so they can review all of your details and make sure your dream wedding comes to fruition, allowing you to enjoy the best day of your life!