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What Is The Difference Between A Wedding Planner, Designer, Coordinator and DIY?

Engagement is a period of gushing over your new ring and basking in the glow of your love. Eventually though, you’re going to need to start planning your wedding.

To some, this is the day you’ve been waiting for — Pinterest boards primed and potential vendors on speed dial. To others, wedding planning is daunting, and you truly have no idea where to begin.

No matter which category you fall or if you’re positioned somewhere in between, it’s important to know the planning options available.

You’ve heard the terms wedding planner, wedding designer, wedding coordinator and doing it yourself, but what exactly does each provide? We’ve compiled information on each to help you decide which option is the best fit for you as a couple.



Wedding planners provide the most extensive amount of planning help. Planners are your go-to for logistics, referrals, contract negotiations, execution of your vision and day-of services. Planners work with you from the start. Initial meetings are held to gain insight on your vision, wants and needs. From there, they attend vendor meetings, showings, tastings and more with you. Some planners also provide design and styling services, but make sure to inquire if they do.


Services provided:

  • Provides referrals.
  • Negotiates contracts.
  • Attends meetings.
  • Creates timelines.
  • Creates floor plans.
  • Determines and manages budget.
  • Attends tours and tastings.
  • Coordinates hotels, transportations and all guest accommodations.
  • Manages the guest list and RSVP tracking.
  • Finds and sources décor.
  • Manages rehearsal.
  • Oversees the weddings day — timeline, vendors, handles issues, executes dream wedding.


A planner is for you if:

  • You have the budget to hire a planner. Typically planners cost 10-20 percent of your budget.
  • If you want to be a stress-free as possible.
  • If you have no free time.
  • If you have a very quick turnaround time to get married.
  • If you are having a destination wedding in a place you don’t know well.



A wedding designer’s role is purely aesthetic and is focused on the look and vision of your wedding. A stylist does not handle tasks like contracts or attending appointments. Designers are your creative eye and ear.


Services provided:

  • Creates design, look of wedding.
  • Provides guidance for colors, décor, florals, etc.
  • Oversees budget for florals, rentals, etc.
  • Sources décor.
  • Creates floor plan.
  • Helps you visualize what you want.


A designer is for you if:

  • The theme and look of your wedding is very important to you.
  • You have the budget for it.
  • You’re not creative.
  • You want your photos to focus heavily on the setting and decor.



A coordinator is logistics focused, much like a planner, but on a shorter timeline. Coordinators step in when the majority of the wedding planning has been handled. Typically this means 1-2 months before the wedding. A coordinator’s primary focus is to alleviate any stress in the months before and to learn the details of your wedding in order to be the point person on the day of.


Services provided:

  • Point person overseeing all day-of proceedings.
  • Ensures all vendors are on time and have what is needed.
  • Has payments ready for day of vendors.
  • Checks in with vendors a month before to confirm and provide schedules.
  • Creates timeline and floor plan.
  • Completes walk through of the site.
  • Manages rehearsal.
  • Oversees any missed details.
  • Answers any questions on day of.


A coordinator is for you if:

  • You want to plan most of your wedding, but want to be stress free on the day of.
  • You don’t have the budget for a full-service planner.
  • You have people helping and supporting you in the planning process along the way.
  • You want a flawless wedding day.



If you choose to do it yourself, all planning will be completely up to you. You may choose to DIY for many reasons: you want complete control of your wedding, you have experience planning events, you don’t have the budget to hire someone or you just genuinely enjoy planning your wedding. If you choose this option, it still might be wise to have a team of friends and family ready to help out should any day-of issues arise.


Some things to consider…

  • Make your decision early and secure services early. Many planners, designers, coordinators work with multiple weddings and might be booked on too short of a notice.
  • Do your research, and really know what’s right for you as a couple.
  • Make a connection. It is important to select a service provider that you like as a person since you will be spending a good deal of time together.
  • Speak up for yourself and your vision. Take your planner’s advice but also remember that this is your day.
  • Consider the costs associated with each service provider.
  • Have fun! The planning process is when you truly get to evaluate and showcase all that is important and unique about your love story.
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