So, you’re planning a special event, or perhaps you’re getting married and know you need help but don’t know what kind of professional you should hire. There are a few different things to consider when searching for professional help, but you should also understand the difference between each professional’s role. Let’s first talk about the definition of an Event Planner, Event Coordinator, and Event Designer.
An Event Planner is a professional who will plan out your event from beginning to end, assist with finding the right vendors, review all contracts and put together a design plan based on your vision and needs for the event. If you need help with your event budget or budget management, some planners (though not all) will provide this as well. A planner will detail out a timeline for the event and manage setup, vendors, the flow of the event, and break down. For brides, your planner (or their assistant) will be with you until you walk down the aisle to provide whatever assistance may be needed and to keep on track of time. Your planner will ensure the event concludes on time to keep to the venue’s requirements and assist in collecting all personal items so nothing is left behind while you focus on enjoying your event activities.
An Event Coordinator provides assistance mainly on the actual day of the event by managing a plan that you have put together to ensure everything is set up properly and runs smoothly. For weddings, people often refer to this role as a “Day of” Coordinator, however, they will actually start to work with you well before the event date (usually 4-6 weeks out) to get a full understanding of what you have planned and to become familiar with your vision for the event, connect with your vendors and review the services each will be providing, as well as make sure they have all the necessary information and instructions; they will prepare a detailed timeline to make sure no details are missed and that everything will flow together, and they communicate this timeline to all vendors and necessary parties. The Coordinator will be your point of contact with the venue and all vendors so you can just focus on your role as the bride or event host and not be bothered with a million questions during your event. Some venues provide their own coordinator as part of the venue rental, however, not all of them are full-service coordinators. Most often, the venue coordinator will only handle things related to the venue or facility. They do not prepare a detailed timeline, nor do they connect with all your vendors in advance to make sure they are familiar with the full plan of the event. The venue coordinator will only handle setup/breakdown of any items provided by the venue and will not be responsible for any personally provided decorations or items. They also are not there to assist you (the bride) or your wedding party with any personal needs because they will be busy tending to the venue setup.
Now, an Event Designer is more of a specialty role because of their creative talent, skill, and ability to provide the decoration for your event. Most Event Designers do not handle the planning (nor do they want to) and won’t be onsite to manage the event. These pros primarily help design the look and feel of your event through different elements of décor which they can provide from their own inventory or may even create custom pieces to fit your theme and style. They will handle the installation and setup of the event décor including table settings if requested. This will require you to coordinate between your venue, rental companies, and caterer so everyone knows what is being provided by the Event Design company that they may or may not typically include. If you are using an Event Planner, they may work with a designer to help put all of this together for you and will coordinate all services involved.
So how do you decide which professional is right for you?
This depends on what you think you’ll need the most help with and your overall vision for the event. If you don’t even have a clue where to start or how to find vendors, or you don’t have time to search all over the place for vendors and décor, then you will want to hire a full-service Event Planner. If you have an idea of what you want for your event and feel comfortable finding all the vendors you’ll need, and plan to provide most of the décor yourself, or if you have a venue that provides a lot of decorative pieces in-house, then an Event Coordinator may be right for you. If you know how you want your event to look, or at least have a general idea, then you can select items from the venue that fit your vision and they will handle the setup. If you are going to “DIY” the décor, then you need to make sure you have someone to set everything up for you because a bride should not be worrying about any of this on her special day! However, keep in mind, you want to keep it simple so your “borrowed help” or Coordinator will be able to carry out this task easily to achieve your vision.
If you want to have more extravagant décor with large floral installations and special props, then you may need to have an Event Designer involved or at least hire a full-service Event Planner that will be able to secure the right vendors to provide these things and set them up properly.
There are many factors to consider when planning a wedding or a large corporate event, and while there are different ways of going about achieving the same thing, you will want to include allowance in your budget to hire at least one of these professionals because it will save you money and a lot of stress in the long run and ensure you have a fine-tuned and smoothly run event!