It's tough. You're getting married; you have a strong desire to have the most elaborate and special celebration, all while still attempting to do it for the lowest possible price. While your intentions are commendable, if you're beginning to think about hiring a wedding planner to assist you, it's important not to confuse a certified wedding planner with these 5 individuals:
1. The Venue Coordinator
When you find your dream venue, more often than not, your venue will come with the coveted "Venue Coordinator" staff member assigned to your wedding. It is easy to confuse this role with a wedding coordinator because we both share the same word in our title. However, you shouldn't assume we play the same role at your wedding. Your venue coordinator is HUGELY important on the day of your wedding. This individual will protect you from paying damages to the venue by ensuring that you are following all of the house rules. For example, your venue coordinator will make sure no vendors or family members are putting holes in the walls, lighting unauthorized candles, etc., if you're getting married at a "full-service" venue, then this individual is probably also responsible for ensuring your food is out and served on time. Usually, after your cake is cut, is when this individual departs for the evening. And, with a celebration as awesome as yours, that's 2-3 hours before your big reception send-off, right?
2. The Church Coordinator
Here we see that word "coordinator" again, don't we? This isn't as common as the venue coordinator, but confusion does still happen with this title. Your church coordinator oversees A LOT of wedding ceremonies inside of the church that you've chosen to take your wedding vows. This individual works closely with your Pastor, and spends a lot of time understanding how your wedding ceremony will flow, the language that will be used during your wedding ceremony, and the good ones, will even provide counsel on how to create a meaningful ceremony program. Because you've chosen to have your wedding ceremony inside a place of worship, they really do take the lead on ensuring the ceremony flows right and all church rules are followed. A good wedding planner will understand this, and seek their counsel before proving input with regards to the ceremony.
3. The Music Provider
Your DJ or Band Leader is in no way your wedding planner. They have the tough responsibility of keeping your guests entertained for an extended period of time by playing the right mix of music, and informing everyone of important events throughout the reception if they are your emcee as well. In order to this more efficiently, they'll probably build a timeline surrounding the important parts of your celebration that involve music. The timeline they build probably won't include vendor load-in and break-down times, and it won't include how much time your make-up and hairstyling will take. However, you will know, without a doubt, that you're tossing your bouquet at 8:45pm.
4. The Event Designer
Full disclosure: A lot of wedding planners offer design services as well. This has a lot to do with the fact that the wedding planner is so intimately involved with your special day, so they have a strong hand in determining how the celebration will look, feel, and taste as well. However, there are INSANELY artistically talented designers that are not well-versed in logistics and tactical processes, so they leave that to a planner, and you should too. A true wedding designer will spend a great number of hours making sure that your guests senses are all aroused at the appropriate times, and that the wedding is true to the theme that you both have agreed upon, and they'll do an absolutely fabulous job!
5. The Bridesmaid
Have you been to a bridal show lately? Strike up a conversation with a Bride, and ask her, "Who is your wedding planner?" You'll probably meet at least one who looks at the girl behind her as the Bride answers, "My Bridesmaid is planning my wedding." When you look behind the Bride, you will see a girl who once was so full of life and happiness, but now she just shakes as she clasps onto 3 reusable tote bags and two binders, nervously biting her lower lip as the pain swells to her cheeks through her forced smile. Also, a wedding planning professional probably won't be bringing a box of wine over to your condo at 7:30 in the evening two weeks before your wedding to build favor boxes either. Bridesmaids have a deeply emotional and supportive role to play during your wedding. They are the individuals who you've chosen to stand next to you as your declare your commitment to your new spouse, but they still have a life that stretches far beyond taffeta and buttercream.
Those individuals that were mentioned above are five of the most pivotal roles involved in putting your big day together. Wrangling and organizing those 5 people in addition to the florist, stationer, baker, caterer, officiant, and the other people tasked with making your wedding magical, is no easy task. Vendor communication along with minute-by-minute timelines for the actual day, a planning timeline for the weeks and months leading up to the wedding, recommendations so you're confident in your buying decisions, RSVP management, seating chart drafting, and professional support and mindfulness of your well-being during your wedding are all stellar and responsible reasons to hire a wedding planner. A wedding planner is an important professional to assist your wedding team, but it isn't a role you can easily hand to another equally important teammate.