Wedding Coordinator vs. Venue Coordinator – What’s the Difference?

A big hello from The Wedding Day Coordinators and welcome to our first wedding coordination feature for Coco Wedding Venues.

If you’re just getting started then congrats on taking steps in the right direction – you’re already becoming absolute wedding planning bosses by being right here!

You’re no doubt being dazzled by ALL THE VENUES right now, but to assist with your next stage of planning, our first feature is going to help you understand the difference between your wedding venue coordinator (if your chosen venue has one) and an independent wedding day coordinator (like us).

Explaining the two roles carefully should hopefully help manage your expectations and allow you to make an informed decision about whether you should hire a professional wedding day coordinator.

The confusion between a professional couple-appointed wedding coordinator and an in-house venue appointed wedding coordinator arises of course because of the similarity in their job titles. However, that’s where the similarities end!

In our years of coordinating wedding days for couples, we have seen time and again the problems that arise when these two roles have not been clearly defined. To avoid disappointment on your wedding day this article will clear up that confusion and provide you with some much-needed tools to ensure you are getting all the support required for you and your day.

Wedding Coordinator vs. Venue Coordinator Roles

In short, the difference is this: the venue ‘wedding coordinator’ works for the venue; the independent wedding coordinator works for you – the couple. Venue coordinators don’t coordinate weddings and wedding coordinators don’t run venues!

Both are professionals with clearly defined roles, but the most important thing to remember is the venue coordinator ultimately protects the interests of the venue whilst a wedding coordinator protects the interests of the couple.

This does not mean that the venue coordinator will not do their utmost to help you out on your special day, but ultimately they do not work for you.

The venue coordinator is an excellent person to have on your side and you should certainly make friends with them. In the recent Coco Wedding Venues couple’s survey, liking and getting on with the in-house venue team was high on your list of desires for finding the perfect venue. So this relationship is super important.

The venue coordinator is employed by the venue to make sure everything runs smoothly from their end, upholding their reputation and ensuring that standards – and rules – are met and maintained. They will guide you on how to use the venue spaces, make sure that the room is set up as you have directed on the day (in other words, they will arrange the tables and chairs, but they won’t necessarily decorate them) and they will ensure that your chosen menu is served (again not applicable to dry hire venues), and then they will probably hand over to the venue duty manager, their job is done.

The venue wedding coordinator is essentially a manager – and usually an excellent one! And, like other managers, does not work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In all likeliness, you will deal with two or more venue wedding coordinators in the process of planning your wedding. They will be jointly responsible for the smooth running of all the weddings taking place at that venue.

Your personal wedding coordinator is all yours from start to finish – they will be the first to arrive and, if required, the last to leave.

An important aspect of this, that may not occur to you until the day, is that as a venue employee, the venue wedding coordinator will only be at the venue! It sounds obvious, but think about it; they will not be there in the morning to rally the troops and chase the missing make-up artist; they will not be at the church or registry office to round up bridesmaids and chivvy the photographer; they won’t be on the end of the phone when the best man loses the rings… for all of that and more, you need your very own wedding coordinator.

How to decide if your venue coordinator is enough?

Venue coordinators are often asked and expected to arrange things, and carry out duties that are far outside their remit. When they fail to do them, the couple feels let down and the day is not as stress-free as it could have been. These expectations are tied into the word ‘coordinator’ of course, but it is misleading.

Whilst the venue coordinator may well be able to locate a sewing kit or rustle up some last-minute plates for unexpected guests, some of the tasks that pop up on a wedding day simply aren’t their job.

It is important to remember these key facts when making your decision about whether to hire a personal wedding day coordinator or rely on your venue wedding coordinator:

A venue coordinator works for the interests of the venue. A wedding coordinator works for the interests of the couple.

A venue coordinator is your point of contact at the venue only; they will not be at your home or the church or your photography location if that’s not the venue.

Your wedding coordinator will be responsible for all the logistical wedding day management in the weeks leading up to your wedding day which will include creating schedules, timelines and floor plans specific to each supplier including your venue coordinator.

The venue coordinator may well be overseeing two or more weddings at the venue at any given time; your day-of wedding coordinator(s) is completely focused on you.

The venue coordinator will be working specific hours, and will go home at the end of their shift, usually after the meal is served and cleared away. Your wedding coordinator will be the first to arrive on your wedding day and usually the last to leave if required.

The venue coordinator is not responsible for liaising – or managing – any of your other suppliers, be it photographer, florist, band or driver. This is the responsibility of your self-appointed wedding day coordinator(s).

The venue supplier is not responsible for any of those small details that make this your wedding: the table decorations, the colour theme, the children’s entertainer, the music, the lighting… all of that is down to you or your wedding day coordinators!

Here at The Wedding Day Coordinators, we’ve worked with some really amazing venue coordinators over the years (and some less amazing ones!). We’re not seeking to do them a disservice with this feature, but to clarify their role in order to help you organise your big day.  If you are still uncertain about what your venue coordinator is responsible for download our questions to ask your venue coordinators.

Should you book a wedding coordinator?

If you want every detail of your day to be curated to your exact requirements, you will want a personal wedding coordinator by your side. If you want everything provided by the venue to run absolutely smoothly, you will want the venue coordinator on your team.

If it all feels like overkill or a palaver, just talk to your wedding coordinator(s) about how to simplify it all and keep it all on track.

If you want to know a little bit more about how we support you to sit back, relax and watch your day unfold, take a look at our wedding day coordination services here.

You can also read further articles to support you on your wedding planning journey on this blog here.

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