It is very important for brides and grooms, given the fast changing market and the huge supply in the industry, to understand what exactly is the difference between a Wedding Planner, a Wedding Designer, a Wedding Coordinator and a Wedding Producer like me. I try to do this with the help of articles and blogs written by other colleagues and with the help of well-known publications. I will divide this long, multi-faceted, long grid article into 4 chapters. I am often asked by friends and brides and grooms “What is the difference between a wedding coordinator and a wedding planner?” or “What does an Event Designer do?” I thought I would try to explore this distinction in a world, that of weddings and events, which is constantly changing.
Wedding Designer (Wedding Stylist or Wedding Architect)
The role of a Wedding or Event Designer is purely aesthetic, creative and does not include things like negotiating a contract. We also specialise in design and consultancy on everything from floor plans and lighting design to flowers, furniture, linen and clothing for guests and staff. We help our clients to create an event that is harmonious and consistent in colour, elegant and sophisticated, even when it is ‘simple’. The ability to design an event and create an atmosphere is a unique and rare talent, the real difference being the ability to conceptualise the entire event and truly transform a space to become the required setting.
Tasks of the Designer
- Duration: up to 40 hours. Foreigners count the hours, we in Italy are more time conscious. Reason more in terms of time, a designer can be hired for the initial so one month before moving on to the Wedding Planner who will continue with the planning.
- Create the design concept for the event.
- Provides guidance for the colour palette.
- Oversees the budget for decor and suppliers (florist, furniture hire, lighting, general image.
- Choosing suppliers for the articles chosen for the set-up and any special equipment.
- Participating in a site visit, identifying potential problems and devise an initial design.
- Create detailed floor plans.
- Ensure that all furniture elements are present on site at the on site at the wedding.
Hire a Wedding Designer if…
- The décor is the most important element of your wedding or event.
- You are confident in your organisational and logistical skills, but your creative skills are lacking creative skills.
- You are trying to achieve a very specific theme or have a million wedding ideas that you can’t narrow down.
What does a Wedding Planner or Event Planner do? Planners take care of the logistics, from contacting the supplier to negotiating the contract to the day of the event with the delivery of the service. A Wedding Planner makes everything run smoothly, keeps an eye on your budget and takes care of the logistics. This is a skill that many can learn, but only the best Wedding and Event Planners have the years of experience and credentials that can make all the difference. Some Wedding and Event Planners also provide design or styling services, like our agency, helping you with all the creative stuff too, while others choose to leave these details to a designer, which means you will have to hire two professionals to create the day you have dreamed of. A word of advice: be sure to clarify in advance whether your planner also offers design services.
Tasks of the Wedding Planner
- 250/300 hours of work. Foreigners count hours, while we in Italy are more concerned with time. From signing the contract to delivering the event.
- Providing supplier references and negotiating contracts; scheduling and attending all meetings with suppliers.
- Creates the detailed planning and timelines for the execution of the set-up.
- He helps to determine and manage the budget.
- Participates in all site surveys and menu testing.
- He organizes coordination meetings and follows up all executive and design details.
- He coordinates hotel room reservations and transport.
- He manages all rehearsals for the dinner and etiquette for the ceremony.
- Supervises the entire wedding day (makes sure everyone stays on schedule, handles contingencies, vendors).
Hire a Wedding Planner if…
- You have the necessary budget.
- You want as little stress as possible for the wedding.
- You have no free time due to a demanding job.
- You do not know where to start planning and your organizational skills are not the best.
- You have a very short period of time for planning.
- You are planning a wedding in another country and/or a weekend event spread over several days.
- You are hosting your wedding in an unusual space.
A Wedding Coordinator is focused on logistics, like a Wedding Planner, but with a shorter time frame than a planner. They usually start helping you prepare for the event a month or so before the wedding and act as a point of contact on the wedding day. They will confirm contracts with vendors and create a timeline for the wedding day, as well as make sure things like payments and guest counts are in order, but will not be involved in the earlier planning stages or keeping track of your budget. Coordinators make sure that everything you have done up until the time you take over is in order, nothing is forgotten and you can enjoy your wedding day.
Duties of the Wedding Planner
- Puts in about 25 hours. (as above, in Italy we reason by contract).
- He meets with you four to eight weeks before the wedding to find out what you have planned so far.
- Checks with your suppliers to review signed contracts and confirm logistics.
- Create detailed timelines and floor plans.
- Complete a final visit to the ceremony and reception venues. Ceremony and reception venues.
- Takes care of all overlooked details.
- Manages rehearsals ceremony, music.
- Supervises the whole wedding day.
Hire a Wedding Coordionator if…
- You would like to take an active role in planning your wedding, but would like someone to take care of the last minute details.
- You are extremely organised and detail-oriented.
- You do not have the budget for a full service wedding planner.
- You don’t want to ask a friend to do it because you want her to enjoy the party.
- You don’t want “mums” to reorganise your year’s work
Some key elements to keep in mind
- Book ahead of time Whether you are hiring a Wedding Planner, Wedding Designer or Wedding Coordinator, it is best to secure them as soon as you decide on the wedding date, even if they are not involved until the month before. This tactic can also help you achieve maximum savings.
- Consider the cost. Generally speaking, the fee for an event planning and design consultancy is around 15-20% of the total budget, here in Italy between 10 and 15%, depending on the experience of the Wedding Planner. A Wedding Producer generally costs at least 20/25% of the budget, compared to the full service of a Wedding Planner (for example: if the total package is 10.000 euro, the fee to be paid will be 2.000/2.500 euro).
- If you choose not to hire a professional wedding planner, put someone in charge of the activities on the day of the event. Someone – not you the bride and groom – has to make sure that everything runs smoothly on the wedding day and that everything you have planned is executed correctly. But what if a professional wedding planner is not within your budget? Most venue coordinators and caterers are happy to take care of basic on-site logistics and simple set-ups – like arranging the menus on the table, but it is true that they are working for someone else, not you, (meaning they are making sure the food is served on time, not that the DJ is playing the right songs or that there are enough pens for the guest book). The best option is to ask a responsible and trusted friend to take care of some tasks.
I’ve tried to be comprehensive and go as deep as possible into the subject by explaining the differences between the roles of the various wedding and event professionals, but if you are left with any doubts or questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. A Wedding Producer can answer any question.