So you’re getting married...and you’re smart enough to know you need a wedding planner (hooray!)—but exactly what type of wedding planner should you turn to? With everything from full-service wedding planners to day-of coordinators to choose from, knowing which seasoned pro your soirée calls for can be a bit tricky. Today, then, we’re breaking down different types of wedding planners and the services each offers with the help of Heather Hoesch from LVL Weddings and Events. Read on, and get ready to hire the right pro to help you plan and execute an unforgettable affair.
Full-Service Wedding Planner
A full-service wedding planner is an experienced, reputable, and typically full-time professional who works with you either from the very beginning, helping you find a venue, or who works with you immediately after you’ve found your venue. A full-service wedding planner is your expert guide to anything and everything—from RSVPs and seating charts to timelines and vendor contracts. She (or he!) has inside information and valuable connections in the wedding industry and will know things like which florist in town is best for delivering your vision and which calligrapher to turn to for the best bang for your buck. Bottom line: she’ll take the guesswork and stress out of planning. Her services typically include: creating a personalized budget, custom vendor partnership pairings, and overall planning guidance tailored to your schedule and needs.
"Bottom line: a full service wedding planner will take the guesswork and stress out of planning."
A full-service wedding planner will also be pretty hands on when it comes to the design aspect of your wedding—helping you bring those Pinterest dreams to full fruition. In the final weeks leading up to your wedding, a full-service planner will work to create and execute the dream wedding you’ve spoken about for months. Unlike a month-of coordinator, a full-service planner has been a part of every conversation along the way—rather than being brought in in the final weeks leading up to the wedding—so she will have a complete understanding of everything from design details to family dynamics, ultimately helping ensure your wedding day goes off without a single hitch.
Full-Service Wedding Planners are a Great Option for:
- Couples looking for tip-to-tail guidance throughout the planning process
- Couples with an off-the-beaten-path venue (destination wedding, estate, backyard, outdoors, etc.)
- Couples with large guest lists (100+)
- Couples using lots of off-site vendors
- Couples with full-time jobs who need ongoing help managing the details of their wedding
- Couples who don’t want to have to handle the logistics (RSVPs, seating chart, timelines, etc.) on their own
- Couples who want help with their design vision
- Couples who want a Pinterest-Worthy wedding
Month-Of Wedding Planner
A month-of wedding planner begins working with you one or two months prior to your wedding. She will jump in, take your plans and what you’ve created so far, help to organize it all, and make it happen on the day of. Unlike a full-service wedding planner, a coordinator typically won’t be too involved in the design process. A month-of wedding planner is mainly there to help finalize logistics in the month leading up to your wedding—fine-tuning the timeline, communicating with the vendor team, and letting you rest easy in the weeks before your Big Day.
Month-Of Wedding Planners are a Great Option for:
- Couples who are already working with a hands-on venue coordinator (see below) and need a little extra off-site help
- Couples who are comfortable handling the design aspect on their own
- Couples who are comfortable executing the majority of the planning process on their own, but who just need some help fine-tuning the details
- Couples with mid-range budgets who want a point person in charge in the weeks leading up to their wedding
- Couples who are highly organized and don't need tons of guidance from the get-go
- Couples will smaller guest lists
A venue coordinator is a coordinator who works in-house for your wedding venue. Typically, hotels, resorts and other popular wedding venues have a full-time in-house venue coordinator. Keep in mind this person works for the venue, not you. So, while she’ll coordinate the details surrounding the venue and help manage services offered on-site (in-house catering if you’re going that route, room blocks if it’s a hotel, parking and signage, chairs and linens if you're going with what the hotel provides and not renting from another vendor, etc.), she won’t help with off-site services that you book. She’ll provide a list of preferred vendors for you to choose from when it comes to things like photographers and floral designers, but that’s as far as her extent with outside vendor coordination will go—you’ll be responsible for managing vendor communications and contracts, and ensuring each vendor knows where they need to be and when on the day-of. She also won’t handle any of your individual logistics (RSVPs, seating chart, timeline, etc). Those details will all be left for you and your partner to handle on your own. For this reason, we always recommend supplementing a vendor coordinator with, at minimum, a month-of wedding planner.
A day-of coordinator isn’t usually an option we recommend, as there’s really no way for a new point person to show up on the day of your wedding and be fully versed in every detail the way she needs to be for your wedding to go off without a hitch. For that reason, we typically recommend no less than a month-of wedding planner for all couples—regardless of the size of your soirée. That being said, a day-of coordinator’s job is to show up on the day of your wedding and help run the show. She’ll guide your bridal party, coordinate with vendors on site, and act as a day-of point person to turn to should any last-minute emergencies arise.
Hero Photo Courtesy of Brian Leahy & California luxury wedding planner LVL Weddings & Events