Destination weddings in Ireland and DC/MD USA. Your Irish wedding planner – styling and coordination to die for weddings since 2006. Based in Dublin and Maryland.

WEDDING Coordinator v. VENUE Coordinator: The Differences You Need To Know When Planning Your Wedding

The wedding planning world can be daunting. A lot of details to consider, coordination and planning of various items seemingly all at once, and adding on top of that, you placing your trust (not to mention your money!) into the hands of others whom you’ve never met, hoping they will see your vision, listen to your concerns, and come through to create your perfect day. It’s hard. And can be overwhelming. And that’s why the wedding planning business exists. We at Waterlily Weddings genuinely love what we do. We love the creative process, we love the challenge of custom creating weddings for each unique client, and we love being there on your special day to see your dreams become reality.

One question we got a lot is “What’s the difference between a Venue Coordinator and a Wedding Coordinator? Aren’t they they same thing?”

The answer is no, and yes.

The Short Answer: A wedding coordinator can do what a venue coordinator does; but a venue coordinator doesn’t do what a wedding coordinator does.

The Longer Answer: A wedding coordinator is there to help you plan your wedding: we take you from “Yes” to “I do”, we build a partnership by helping and advising you through every element to be checked off your planning list. We understand why each choice is being made and how that piece fits into the overall puzzle of the day. We hold your hand through every step from figuring out how to legally get married in Ireland, through picking the perfect vendors to creating the experience you want your guests to have – the look, feel, sound and “wow factor” of your wedding day.   We work within your budget, we help you stay on track and on schedule so the budget is preserved and everything is scheduled in time and without stress. Then on the day of your wedding we wake up super early and arrive to help set up and make sure you’re feeling relaxed and ready, we help bustle your dress if you need it, grab the purse you forgot at the hotel, go down the check list to make sure everyone is where they should be and doing what they need to be doing so everything flows easily and on schedule. We work with the vendors to make sure everything arrives the way you wanted it, on time, in the best quality. And finally we sit at the back as you’re exchanging vows, secretly proud and watching protectively over your ceremony.

And a venue coordinator makes sure the venue is up to par, ready for your arrival, helps to director vendors when they arrive, and makes sure the venue is offering your guests all the things you contract it to.

Venue v. Wedding

The biggest difference you need to know is the Venue Coordinator is coordination aspects of your wedding that deal with the venue specifically; your Wedding Coordinator (us) is dealing with every aspect of your wedding while the Venue Coordinator is only concerned with details pertaining to the venue itself. Let’s break it down in terms of wedding details:

  • setting up tables and linens for your wedding reception = VC
  • making sure the right food and beverages arrive, and on time = VC
  • setting up the band where they need to be = VC
  • your dress bustle has issues and keeps getting undone and you need help = WC
  • the wrong cake arrived = WC
  • the flowers are all the wrong color and two bouquets are missing = WC
  • it’s raining outside like cats and dogs and need to move the ceremony somewhere else = WC
  • the best man is drunk, two flower girls refuse to wear their floral crowns, and the priest needs to get paid = WC
  • speeches are running too long and cutting into dance time = WC
  • mother of the bride is arguing with bride on  how the tables should be set = WC
  • the photographer mistakenly thought your wedding was the following week and isn’t showing up = WC

The idea here is the Venue Coordinator will deal with everything involving the venue: they will help direct other vendors to where they can set up, they will provide a clean space that was contracted for, make sure the bathrooms are well stocked, the food is coming out properly and the drinks are being served.

A Venue Coordinator is invaluable for a wedding, however, especially for a larger one. They make sure everyone is running like clockwork.  In fact, Wedding Coordinators love working with Venue Coordinators to create a wedding where everything is running smoothly; the Wedding Coordinator leaves the venue details to him/her and then can focus on the couple and all their other needs. It’s one of the most important partnerships in the wedding planning business.

Keeping Track of Vendors

A huge part of wedding planning and coordinating is orchestrating the day to run smoothly. And the only way this happens is if everything is organized. A venue coordinator will be organized with everything having to do with the venue — the food will come out on time, drinks, etc — but the rest of the wedding’s details will be on your shoulders. Your ceremony location, your photographer showing up on time, flowers, transportation, the cake, musicians, hair and make up professionals, décor and prop rentals,  everything else will be up to you to design and make sure is running on time and as expected. It can be burdensome for a couple, let alone for a destination wedding. This is why hiring a wedding coordinator for the day of your wedding is a huge “ace in the hole” for you. A wedding venue coordinator will make sure your reception is up to par, but a wedding coordinator will make sure the entire event is.

Wedding Coordinators Know The Talent

This is a huge secret that couples planning their wedding might not know. If you go to a venue and are talking with a venue coordinator, maybe you are looking for photographers or musicians or a florist — other vendors to carry out your wedding details. They will have a Preferred Vendor List. Now most of the people on there are skilled and do good work — absolutely — but some might only be on there because they are locals or because they even paid to be on there, but the work is substandard. As wedding coordinators, we’ve worked with vendors across the board, throughout the country, usually many times over. We know the ones that are better suited for certain environments. For example, maybe your wedding ceremony is outdoors — we know the photographers that are outstanding with outdoor shots that can create incredible photo opportunities for your ceremony. We know the vendors that may be based in one area, but their talent will suit your vision, and they are willing to drive out to your location so you can have what you want. We know the vendors that are difficult to work with, the ones that are incredible, and we’re constantly discovering new talent throughout Ireland. A venue coordinator only deals with their specific venue; they can at most give you referrals of who’s worked their venue before.

Some Questions To Ask Yourself

Still not sure? Here are some common questions couples ask throughout the planning process and on their wedding day:

  • Who will tell us it’s time to leave for the ceremony?
  • What if the bridal party goes missing? Or we can’t find the Father of the Bride? And the car is waiting?
  • Guests ended up bringing their kids after all to our wedding and didn’t tell us until right now, on the day. They want a sitter for the evening. How can we get one?
  • My dress buttons broke!! Where can I find a tailor?!
  • Who cues the music for our entrance?
  • What if the speeches are running long?
  • I have a huge headache and forgot to pack Aspirin. Help!
  • We’re enjoying ourselves at the reception and want the band to stay longer. Who do we talk to?
  • Where do the vendors go to eat? How can we get them food and drink?
  • What time should everyone arrive to the ceremony? And the reception?
  • Guests are arguing over the seating arrangement…HELP!
  • The guests are asking for a taxi and it’s 2:00 in the morning. Who can help us?
  • Who will gather the guests for our sendoff?
  • How do we pay the vendors the balances owed?

The majority of venue coordinators will not be able to help you with these not because they don’t want to, but because contractually they can’t. These fall outside the scope of their venue responsibilities, and are issues you’ll be dealing with on your own. Hiring a wedding coordinator will eliminate the stress, as these are precisely the issues a wedding coordinator deals with. Not only do we have the answers for all of these questions, we had them already before you asked them because of our experience and knowledge of the area.

Some couples think they’re getting a “free wedding planner” when they see they get a vendor coordinator in the deal. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unless you absolutely are confident in your planning skills, and are fully prepared to stay on top of every single minute detail on your wedding day (morning to night), then do consider hiring us to coordinate your wedding day. We promise you it will be the best money spent: after all the money and effort spent in planning your big day, give yourself the gift of enjoying it.

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