Part of my mission here at IDL is to educate couples. The wedding world is big. It’s overwhelming and terminology and vendor standards are not only different across the board but seem to change every other day. Even as a wedding planner, I sometimes get lost in all the new terms and “things” that are out there. And that’s saying a lot seeing as I specialize in a type of wedding planning most have never heard of.
But, today, I want to try and set the record straight a little bit. While I could break down every term you might here, we’d be here forever and you’d get bored reading it. Instead, I’m just going to start with defining all the different titles you hear for wedding planners and what they actually do for you. Are you ready?
In the industry, we typically use the term planner to describe someone who is full service. This means that the person is helping you plan, organize, design and manage every detail of your wedding every step of the way. They are doing a lot of the leg work on your behalf, reaching out and getting quotes from their preferred vendors, attending meetings and tastings with you and closely monitoring every detail of your planning to ensure that each element flows seamlessly together and is within theme and budget. This person is also present on the day of your wedding to execute the vision they have created for your day. A wedding planner spends countless hours with you and costs between $5,000 – $10,000 (average, some charge more) for just their services. Additionally, they typically have a minimum budget they work with (average $50,000 and up depending on fee).
Month/Day of Coordinator
This is the level of service most couples hire. It’s important to note that a “day of” coordinator is not really a thing anymore. While the term is still used, mainly by couples, in the industry, I don’t know of many people who offer strictly day of services. Your coordinator generally takes over 4-6 weeks before your wedding and helps you tie up loose ends. This person is not assisting you with any planning in the months leading up to your wedding and doesn’t execute any planning tasks on your behalf. A coordinator is present on the day of your wedding to execute your vision, manage vendors ensuring their contracts are fulfilled, handle any conflicts day of and ensure the wedding comes to a close with all items returned to the appropriate parties and venue policies met before leaving. Coordinators provide an invaluable service and I strongly encourage every couple to find the room in their budget to hire one. An established coordinator will cost between $1,000 – $2,500.
A wedding manager is a new term that’s being thrown around. It’s simply a different term for month of coordinator that is preferred by some vendors. If you see this term on a services sheet, recognize that duties and responsibilities are the same as a coordinator.
A wedding designer simply designs your wedding. This person oversees the visuals of your day, helping you create a design plan that speaks to you. Most designers have an inhouse team that will handle your primary visual details like flowers, linens, specialty rentals, signage, large installs, and more. This person is only present on wedding day to oversee the install of visual details and decor. He or she does perform the same duties as your coordinator on wedding day unless they are a designer and full service planner in one. The cost of designers vary but the standard I use is that if you don’t have the budget for a full service planner, you don’t have the budget for a designer.
Virtual Wedding Planner
Now, we’re talking my language. A virtual wedding planner fills the gap between a full service wedding planner and wedding coordinator guiding you through the planning process in the months leading up to when your coordinator takes over. A virtual wedding planner works with you remotely and provides assistance and advice throughout planning. This person also monitors your planning progress to ensure details aren’t slipping through the cracks and you aren’t making costly mistakes. A virtual wedding planner provides the best of both worlds to couples that don’t have the budget for a full service planner. Our services are priced to allow a professional wedding planner to literally fit into any budget. Feel free to contact me for more details on how a virtual wedding planner can help you.
A wedding consultant is very similar to a virtual wedding planner. The primary difference is that with a consultant, you pay for time on an as needed basis only. With a virtual wedding planner, you pay a flat fee and have unlimited access whenever for whatever you need. Consulting services are great when you just need an hour here or there to run a couple ideas past a pro or do a quick overview to make sure you aren’t missing anything. Our services can also be structured this way as well to meet your needs.