As an event space with several in-house event coordinators, we are frequently asked about our services vs. those of an event planner. While the names are similar and both roles are important, the job responsibilities are actually quite different.
What happens during the planning stages of a wedding?
A full package with an event planner typically includes conceptualizing an event from the very beginning, including the ceremony and reception locations. A planner works with the clients to create a vision for the event, with heavy influence in the décor aspect. Planners also frequently negotiate details of contracts with other vendors, such as relaying timelines to photographers and DJs.
On the flipside, an event coordinator does not come on until a specified time prior to the event date. For example, after an event is booked at dock580, one of our in-house coordinators begins the planning process with that client 9-10 months prior to the wedding date, even if they book a year or more in advance. A coordinator’s planning process is geared much more heavily toward the food aspect of the event, with additional time on important services including timeline construction and the conceptualization of floor plans. The remainder of the coordinator’s responsibility during the planning process is to document the details brought in from the clients or planner so that they can be fully executed day-of.
What happens on the day of a wedding?
As with the early stages of a wedding, a planner’s responsibility lies mostly in décor and client relations on the big day. Since the planner has had more involvement in the creation of the décor, it is their responsibility to see the clients’ vision come to life, prior to guest arrival. It is also expected that a planner will keep an eye on things like off-site photos or an unruly bridal party, to make sure everything runs smoothly for the client day-of.
Once all of the set up is done, an event coordinator’s main responsibilities really begin. While most planners offer a ceremony coordination service, the majority of dock580’s ceremonies use our in-house coordinators. Ceremony coordination includes lining up families and bridal party and cuing musicians for the processional. Afterwards, it is the coordinator’s responsibility to make sure that the remaining items on the timeline go off without a hitch. From a room flip, to the timeliness of dinner service, to being a liaison between all of the other vendors, the coordinator pulls together the details and services from a logistical standpoint day-of. Also, since the coordinator is much more familiar with the ins and outs of that specific venue, they are heavily relied on to troubleshoot unforeseeable mishaps, day-of.
What services do dock580 event coordinators provide?
- event coordination, beginning 9-10 months prior to the event, including 2-3 detail meetings and a tasting
- menu planning
- timeline construction
- floor plan creation, complete with CAD layouts
- organization of the details of your event, including décor & centerpieces, dessert, the bar, other vendors, and anything else you want to include in your big day
- day of set up of basic décor & centerpieces, as well as timeline execution and troubleshooting
When do you need a planner, in addition to your venue-provided event coordinator?
Many clients are planning from out of town, out of state, or even out of country; a planner can be crucial in these situations. Having someone who can represent your vision in person is a huge comfort.
Time is another huge factor in deciding whether or not to hire a planner. Many of our clients have busy work schedules, travel for work, or are still working on their degree, all of which mean they don’t enough time to fully plan their own wedding. Hiring someone to deal with the tedious details frees you up to focus on your other goals.
Finally, some people just don’t know all that goes in to planning. Sometimes those of us in the industry forget that not everyone plans hundreds of weddings a year. If you just got engaged and you have a vague idea of what you want but no idea how to get there, a planner can help you achieve your vision.
At the end of the day, your planner and your coordinator work together to cover every base of your event to make one of the biggest days of your life everything you dreamed of.