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We get asked this question a lot and so I thought I’d write an article about the differences between a wedding planner, wedding coordinator, wedding consultant, designer, etc.  Then, as luck would have it, someone in one of my groups found this post from a blog on The White Box:

I chose to post it here as well.

A number of brides I have met are unsure of the sort of service they need. They have heard about consultants, managers, coordinators, planners, and designers who can help them, but what are the differences among these titles?

It is time to shed some light on this subject and help brides find the right assistance. Here’s how The White Box defines these many roles:

Event Consultants are hired much like a lawyer is hired. Consultants are often paid by the hour hour or per meeting. You hire them for their knowledge and their resources – they do not make plans for you. Hire a consultant if you need help getting started with wedding plans, outlining a budget, creating a timeline, finding great vendors, or if you have etiquette or planning-related questions. You may also seek a consultant who would be willing to put together a package of sorts that would allow you to meet with her once a month as you work through your plans or to email her your questions as they arise.

Event Managers are hired to manage your wedding day (sometimes known as a “day-of” coordinators or “DOC”). Event managers are not planners or designers. If you hire an event manager, YOU are the planner and designer of the event. The event manager’s job is to make sure your plans are executed on the event day. Hire an event manager only if you are highly organized and have a few hundred hours to devote to wedding planning, otherwise you need a higher level of service.

Event Coordinators are hired to coordinate the details of your wedding day. You will be part of the planning process, but the coordinator will help ensure that everything works together. Coordinators are not designers. They are type-A, left-brained timeline people who may not necessarily be aware of aesthetics on any level. Hire an event coordinator if you want to be involved in making a lot of decisions and plan on being heavily involved in the planning process.

Event Planners are hired to plan your event. Period. You’re getting married? Great! Give an event planner the date, time, venue (perhaps), budget, and any must-haves. Then your planner plans the event. End of story. You will have to do some work (i.e. create your guest list, respond to your planner’s questions, etc.). Hire an event planner if you don’t want to deal with the headaches of wedding planning. Do not hire an event planner if you can’t resist micromanaging her.

Event Designers are hired to design the decorative aspects of your event. It could be argued that all events are “designed” and some planners will refer to themselves as “designers” – these planners are actually both. They will research ideas for décor and layout and come up with ways to make your event unique and fabulous. They will not call the cake lady to find out when the cake stand needs to be returned. Often, designers will offer day-of decorating services to execute their designs as well. Hire an event designer if you’re more into planning than design, if you are having a hard time determining your style, or if you want to ensure your day is very cohesive and extra-special.

Many event planning companies, like The White Box and LifEvents, provide all five services, but usually specialize in a couple.

LifEvents and The White Box are the type of planners who like to think of the planning process as a design process, so when you hire them to plan your wedding, you get both! We also offer event coordination and event management, but these are not the best value if you are looking for the best service.

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