Wedding planner vs Wedding coordinator: differences and costs

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Today we are going to explore the relationship wedding planner vs wedding coordinator. What are the differences?

What does it really mean to fill these roles? As a still – relatively – new profession, I often realize how our services are not so clear. Indeed, there is a lot of chaos!

In this article, we will see what the wedding planner does, which services she offers, which value they have, and the costs. Moreover, we will understand what changes in wedding planner vs wedding coordinator services.

Why do I say there is a lot of chaos?

Because I am thinking, for example, of one of the most frequent cases in which couples come across when searching for suppliers: many of them argue that by purchasing their service, no wedding planner will be needed as they themselves will fill this role.

But are we sure that a supplier, busy as usual in carrying out his own work and providing his services, can follow the wedding organization, coordination and management ? In most cases, the answer is, unfortunately, no.

At the root of this problem, we find a misunderstanding of the role of the wedding planner and the various services that she can offer to the spouses.

To better understand what “wedding planner” means and why a professional figure is needed, let’s find out more about the history and about wedding planning services. Including the question of wedding planner vs wedding coordinator!

the-wedding-of-Anna-and-Francesco organized-by-the -wedding-planner-Tania-Costantino

What does being a wedding planner mean, and how this figure was born

The figure of the wedding planner began to develop in a professional and structured way in the 80s. If at first the wedding planners were mainly involved in the organization of Destination Wedding – weddings celebrated far from the place of residence of the spouses and guests – during the 90s the figure becomes more and more important also for traditional weddings.

What does the wedding planner do? As the word itself says, “plan the wedding”. And support the newlyweds in the exciting – but stressful – period of wedding preparations.

Well established in America, the profession of wedding planner began to spread in Italy only in the mid-2000s.To date, growth is constant, and the latest data indicate that the recovery is excellent after the protracted Covid19 crisis. But together with the rally and the increase in demand, locations and suppliers began to propose wedding planning services. Even without a wedding planner!

“But Tania, if they say they are wedding planners, there will be a dedicated figure on the staff! Or not?”

Not really: the point is precisely the lack of clarity regarding what the wedding planner does and her services.
So let’s clarify!


What does the wedding planner do (really)?

The answer is many different things. This is because there are many services that you can choose to offer based on your skills!
We find the following to briefly explain what the wedding planner does and list almost all the actions taken to support the spouses.

This will be important in the wedding planner vs wedding coordinator difference!

  • Support for the spouses in the construction of the wedding budget – which the wedding planner optimizes and manages throughout the organization;
  • Preventive selection of locations and suppliers based on the couple’s requests and budget;
  • Presentation of proposals and support in choices;
  • Preparation of the legal and accounting aspect of the relationship with suppliers – paying particular attention to contracts and insurance;
  • Support in the definition of the wedding concept with the Wedding design service;
  • Fulfilment of legal obligations for the spouses – for both catholic or civil wedding;
  • Drafting of the event timetable including the timetables of all the suppliers involved and the spouses themselves;
  • Control of the decorative elements – from the table setting to the tableau de mariage, to wedding favours and flowers;
  • Coordination and constant presence on the day of the event to ensure that everything runs as planned and solving of the critical issues before they evolve in problems;
  • Post-event support for closing contracts and payments to suppliers.

I told you we were talking about a lot of things!


Now the questions that will have crossed your mind are:

  • But what are the costs of a wedding planner with all these services?
  • But do we really need it?

I will try to answer you sincerely and exhaustively. But first, I would like to underline a critical element for all the couples – who perhaps visiting locations and suppliers could have been offered wedding planning services integrated into the particular service. The wedding planner vs wedding coordinator difference!

What does the wedding planner vs wedding coordinator

I answered “a lot of things” to the question “what does the wedding planner do”. That’s because the traditional figure of a wedding planner offers a complete service! We could also define it as “all-inclusive”. In this case, the wedding planner takes care of everything related to the wedding planning from A to Z… and coordination too!

In a nutshell: the bride and groom arrive in front of the wedding planner at a time when their dream wedding is just an idea, a book to write. There is everything to do!
Understand how to create that fairytale wedding, think and compose the event’s theme, select and visit the locations, choose the graphic, the style of the table setting, the clothes, the flowers, the Church…

In short, we have everything to decide. And we do it together!


Let’s think about the location for a moment: the bride and groom do not necessarily know all the places available…maybe only the most famous! On the other hand, an expert wedding planner has an in-depth knowledge of the area and can propose dream locations to the couple they otherwise would not have considered.

Ps. If you want to get married in Sicily, I have selected the most precious and original churches of our land in this article.

Back to us, it is precisely in the case of an all-inclusive service that the wedding planner takes care of legal, administrative, fiscal, and bureaucratic aspects of the wedding. The purpose here is to leave the bride and groom totally free to enjoy their own preparations and big day without worries. And then the wedding coordinator?

Wedding planner does vs wedding coordinator: a huge difference

On the contrary, everything discussed above is not included in the wedding coordinator service. In fact, as the word says, the wedding coordinator deals “only” with coordination. Especially on the day of the event! 

In this case, her role is to mediate between all the suppliers, draw up a timetable, organize and supervise the arrival and arrangement of furnishings, flowers and decorations and make sure that everything goes the right way.

Now that you understand the critical difference between the two services, it is easy to understand which is offered and included – to tell the truth in an often incomplete way – in the location and supplier packages: coordination!

Let’s face it once again. The wedding planner is not “only” the one who arranges the decorations in the right world and supervises the arrival of the rented furniture or flowers in the Church. She is so much more, especially if she also offers the wedding design service.

The wedding planner is a 360 ° consultant for the spouses. The person who looks after their interests and defends their decisions – regardless of any internal dynamics of the suppliers!
And she is often a professional who brings together more skills, especially if she also offers the wedding design service.


Small parenthesis on wedding design

A wedding planner doesn’t have to be a wedding designer too. These figures can be united or separate: it all lies in the skills.

What is a wedding design? Wedding design is the image of the event, the scenographic project of the set-ups, decorations and lights. It’s the Pinterest wedding every couple envisions when thinking about their big day.
It includes table setting, tableau, flowers, decorations, coordinated graphics.

Attention: this does not mean that it will be the wedding designer who will take care of the operational creation of the graphics or decorations! But it will be the one who will give precise indications on the subject to the suppliers.

Now you will say, “But Tania, so which are the costs of all this”?


Wedding planner vs wedding coordinator: costs

Now that we know what the wedding planner does – and what she doesn’t! – let’s look at the most critical element for (almost) all spouses: the budget!

I would not like to go into detail about the costs really because that would not be real at all – but only based on my rates. As in any type of service, the prices vary according to the level, experience and skills. And I’m sure that you spouses will know very well which kind of service to choose from within your budget.

What I would like to reflect on here is actually the added value of the wedding planner and the constant support she offers throughout the entire period – which can be very long – of the preparations.

Let’s analyze this aspect together and see how it relates to the budget!


The wedding planner vs wedding coordinator’s service value

I honestly tell you that if any figure who carries out this profession were to propose an hourly rate…the costs would be really enormous! On the contrary, the rate for wedding coordinator is usually “time & material”, it means you pay for x days of work and the material she buy for your event.

The work – in terms of time – that a wedding planner puts in place to offer her couples a totally personalized service is indeed a lot. This is why the rate is usually “full service“.
But this does not mean that the costs of a wedding planner are prohibitive. Quite the contrary!
As I always tell couples who come to meet me, the value of a professional wedding planning service is much higher than its actual cost.

This is for 4 main reasons.

  • The tailor-made service
    The wedding planner offers a totally personalized service based on your wishes: there are no one-fits-all or standardized offers. Everything is made exclusively for you!
  • Partnerships with suppliers
    The wedding planner allows you to always get the best prices from suppliers through consolidated partnerships or an expert brokerage on rates. In many cases, this alone is enough to completely amortize the cost of the wedding planning service;
  • Support and troubleshooting
    The figure of the wedding planner is always at your side, both as a support and as an intermediary with suppliers and problem-solvers. Very few extreme events will be able to jeopardize the success of your wedding! All other critical issues will be handled even before they become real problems.
  • Calmness
    A wedding planner assures you one of the most precious things when planning a wedding: peace of mind and the chance to really enjoy your preparations.
Newlyweds-dance-looking-into-each other’s-eyes

Why the wedding planner is the best investment for your big day

An expert wedding planner – especially if you decide to choose an all-in-one service – will accompany you with patience, professionalism, creativity and competence until your wedding day, staying close to you for every choice. She will compose the design of your event and choose the most suitable suppliers to make your dream come true, just as you imagine it. And during your event? She will always be there, ready to solve any problem before anyone notices.

This is “what the wedding planner does” … or at least what I do!

Shall we start this journey together?

Tania Costantino – Full Service Wedding Planner in Sicily

Ph from the fairytale wedding of Anna and Francesco photographed by Gianmarco Vetrano