Today, I am answering one of the most frequently asked questions I get as an Ottawa wedding planner. If you have already started looking at wedding venues, you have likely noticed that many of them include a day of venue coordinator. If this is your first time planning a wedding, you might even be asking “if a venue coordinator is included, do I really need to hire a wedding planner?“.
You may have noticed that I don’t usually give “hard” answers here on the blog. I really believe that each and every wedding couple is so unique and without having all of the details of your wedding day, it’s impossible for me to give a proper recommendation. I treat my wedding couples in the same way – I don’t believe any event should feel cookie cutter and I don’t give blanket advice. As a wedding planner myself I know how valuable it is to have a wedding planner on top of a venue coordinator – after all, our roles are complementary. Instead of just answering a question with a swift yes, I’m going to break into the difference between the two roles so you can decide the level of support and service you want for your wedding day.
The Wedding Planning Experience
One of the main reasons I recommend hiring a wedding planner is the difference it makes in the entire wedding planning experience. If you ask most vendors, such as your photographer or caterer, they will most likely tell you that there is a very noticeable difference between a wedding with a planner and a wedding without one.
I am not suggesting you pay thousands of dollars just to be spoiled (although you deserve it!). When you work with a wedding venue coordinator, you get a very passive experience. If you have a question, they will provide an answer. The trouble with this is if you don’t ask the right questions, you might mistakenly make assumptions. If this is your first wedding, how could you possibly expect to ask all the right questions?
On the contrary, a wedding planner often takes a more active approach to planning. I am often just as excited for the wedding day as my couples! Instead, I guide you through every step of the way making sure nothing is overlooked. You don’t need to question what’s coming next or fear you are missing something. My couples come to me with big dreams and I actively find ways to make them a reality. On top of that, I actively provide ideas and suggestions based on my experience to make it even better!
Booking Your Wedding Vendors
A wedding venue coordinator’s primary job is to help you book your wedding venue and coordinate the services the wedding venue provides. If they recommend vendors, they are often from the venue’s preferred wedding vendor list. Keep in mind, the service providers on a venue’s list sometimes have paid to be included. On the contrary, if your wedding planner provides you a preferred vendor list, vendors are added based on merit and relationships built (and often, custom to what you are looking for). I never accept referral fees, kick backs or anything of the sort for recommending a vendor to my couples. If I recommend someone to you, it’s because I think they would be the right fit for your wedding. I don’t make recommendations lightly.
Venue Coordinators have High Turnover Rates
When you hire a wedding planner, you are often hiring one person. The wedding planner you hire will be with you from the very beginning to the very end. I tend to become become incredibly close with my couples throughout the process, and I hope to be the event planner you turn to for all of your occasions. Your wedding is so much more than “just a job” to me. As an Ottawa wedding planner, I only take on a very limited number of weddings per year. I invest my heart and soul fully into each one. On the other hand, a venue coordinator does not choose the amount of couples they work with. Depending on the Ottawa wedding venue you choose, your venue coordinator might be responsible for 50-100 couples at one time!
Additionally, venue coordinators have incredibly high turnover rates. They work long hours and it can be incredibly stressful. Some venue coordinators will quit. The good ones get promoted. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to work with 2-3 venue coordinators over the course of your engagement. Each time, you’ll worry that some of your precious wedding details were lost in the transition.
The Difference Between a Wedding Venue Coordinator and a Full Service Wedding Planner
Finally, the last note I will leave you with is when you hire a wedding planner, they work for you and by extension your guests. A venue coordinator works primarily for the venue. On the other hand, with a wedding planner you have a fierce advocate who works tirelessly for you. To clarify, none of this is to say venue coordinators aren’t incredible, they have a difficult job and most do it well. As a wedding planner, my goal is to work WITH the venue coordinator, not to replace them. Our roles are complementary.