Ideally, your venue coordinator and wedding planner should be able to work together to execute your well-planned dream wedding. Of course you need the coordinator provided by your wedding venue (ceremony and/or reception) because they are most familiar with the ins and outs your chosen location. However, there is a difference between this person and an independent wedding planner that you hire to be your liaison.
The venue coordinator is responsible for what happens inside their 4 walls. They are responsible for making sure you get the items you paid them to provide. They make sure their caterer provides the right food at the right time. They make sure their bar is stocked properly. They make sure the right number of tables and chairs are provided for your guests to be seated. They make sure the lights are on, the heat/air conditioning is at a comfortable temperature, and the bathrooms are fully functioning.
Your privately contracted wedding planner will help you with your plans prior to the wedding day. They may help you make decisions about the details for your wedding (venue, professionals, colors and/or theme, stationery, flowers, etc.). They will start working before you get to the ceremony and after you leave the reception. They will troubleshoot problems as they arise so you don't have to interrupt your moments with friends and family.
Real examples from our experience of issues the wedding planner might tackle... Your photography services are contracted to end before the reception is over so the timeline has to be adjusted accordingly... the florist delivered the wrong corsages for the mothers of the bride and groom... half of the specialty linens ordered didn't arrive at the venue... the limo driver got lost on the way to the church (with the bride inside)… the DJ had a heart attack while setting up for the reception… These are issues that the venue coordinator either would not know about or would not be able to help you resolve.
There are many other things that your selected wedding planner will do for you, but we hope you now have a better understanding of the differences. If your venue coordinator tells you that you won't need a wedding planner because they do it all, just ask them what they do to help you before you arrive at the facility.
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