Wedding Planners – my hat is off to you! Seriously, these amazing people have the hardest job in the wedding industry. They keep us running on time, ensure everything goes smoothly, and are responsible for making all that wedding day magic come to life!

Janelle, with Vivid Expressions LLC, says that we first have to break down which planning pro you actually need for your big day.

“When you hear Wedding Planner, Wedding Coordinator, and Wedding Designer do they all mean the same thing?  Well, not exactly.  It may sound like they all do the same thing.  In fact, some professionals may even use more than one title fluidly, but the truth is they are 3 different responsibilities.  Not all couples or their needs for their wedding are the same. And in order for a couple’s to get the type of service they need for their special day, it’s important to know who does what.

Wedding Planner

So let’s get started with the most widely used title, Wedding Planner.  A Wedding Planner actually helps you establish your wedding plan.  They are kind of like a “Project Manager” for your wedding by helping you; develop event structure, vendor referrals, scheduling or managing appointments, educate on wedding etiquette, reviewing and negotiating contracts, and overall guidance throughout the planning process.  Planners can range from “full-service” which means helping you with all the majority of tasks in the process to “partial planning” that assists the more hands-on clients who will primarily need guidance and certain tasks.  Of course, there are many Brides (and Grooms) who may choose to be a DIY Planner and completely handle their own planning.

Day of Coordinator 

Next is Wedding Coordinator which is not exactly the same thing as Wedding Planner.  Where a Planner develops “the plan”, the Coordinator execute “the plan”.   Normally if you are working with a Wedding Full-service or Partial Planner they will usually then execute or coordinate.  You can also hire a what is known as “Day of ” Coordinator.  The biggest misunderstanding is the idea that a “Day of ” Coordinator is only working on “The Day of”.  Although you will see most of the work on the day of their duties start well in advance.  In addition to facilitating the wedding rehearsal (typically done the day before the wedding) they actually take time to review contracts, confirm vendors, develop timelines, conduct walkthroughs, identify potential problems and make sure that nothing has been missed.   Becuase of this most “Day of” Coordinators start working on a couple’s wedding 4 – 6 weeks prior in order to the wedding and often refer to their services as “month of” in their contracts. 

Wedding Coordinator (Hotel or Venue)

This is completely different than a hotel or venue Wedding Coordinator.  Venue Wedding Coordinators are a specialist in the hotel or venue who works on behalf of the venue. These Coordinators are not the same as “Day of” Coordinator.  This person is employed by the venue to play an integral part in ensuring that the venue’s obligations and operations related to the event are fulfilled.  Ex: room staging, staff scheduling, food/beverage orders, contract requirements, etc.  This Coordinator will not negotiate contracts with other vendors, track overall budget, track RSVPs, facilitate hair & makeup scheduling, oversee transportation, etc.

Wedding Designer

The last title is an Event Designer or Wedding Designer.  A Wedding Designer (or Event Designer) is a type of wedding specialist. This professional helps you develop your event’s aesthetics and a complete “Visual plan” for your wedding.  Think of it this way, if a Wedding Planner is your primary doctor, a Wedding Designer would be a specialist such as a Cardiologist who focuses on a specialty.  Another way of thinking this is as an Interior Designer for your wedding – developing a cohesive interior design plan.  This may include concepts, color harmonies, design budget, floor plans, and procurement of flowers, linens, décor rentals, lighting services, staging, and unique design pieces.  Designers work with you to develop your wedding look, maximize your design budget, manage resources, and bring design concepts to fruition on the day of your wedding.

Virginia Beach Wedding Planners

Wedding Planners – What the Pros Wish you Knew

Crystal, the head planning ninja at Cherry Blossom Planning Factory, thinks back to her big day. “This was advice my now husband gave me when I started feeling overwhelmed – we do the things (planning, putting thought behind details, orchestrating family stuff) for the memories, not because we’re obligated to.
If any couple out there is like me and hates being the center of attention, this will surely resonate with them!

​Another fun nugget: you want to do everything and that’s ok. Not into table numbers? Have someone else make them for you instead. Don’t care about the garter toss? Then don’t do it. Each wedding is so different and there really isn’t a “normal” anymore. Go with what moves you because it’s YOUR wedding!”

Tammy with Simply Grand Events says her wish is that “brides and grooms knew how important setting a wedding budget is. Planning a wedding is NOT the time to figure it out as you go.  Most likely, budgeting is not at the top of the fun things to talk about list, but it is so necessary.  Knowing what you have available to spend will help determine when to splurge and when to be frugal.  So, set that budget and then get on to planning the best day ever!”

Fellow Virginia Beach native Missy, owner of Antonia Christianson Events, says trust is a key factor. “As an experienced event professional of nearly twenty years, it is my job and goal to give unbiased feedback to clients that has their best interest in mind. Whether they are asking my opinion on design, budget, quality of vendor, etc., my opinions are never for personal or financial gain. The only thing I am interested in is a happy, relaxed, and stress-free client.

I think sometimes clients forget that as a full time wedding planner there is experience behind my feedback. Or, I think sometimes they are getting so much unwanted feedback from other loved ones, friends, enemies, etc…they forget that they have hired someone to be unbiased. I hate to feel as though clients have wasted their money or budget by not using our experiences and guidance. So I guess the long and short would be to hire event professionals that you feel like you could trust, build a rapport with, and feel like has your best interest in mind.”

wedding dessert bar

Kelsey, with Chickadee Events, tries to impress on her clients “how much more relaxed they will feel after the ceremony is over. It’s like a weight is lifted as soon as they come back down the aisle! After all the stress and focus on the details for the reception during the planning process, it’s refreshing to see them realize that they can truly relax and enjoy their party. The stress about seating charts, centerpieces, and even the timeline dissipates, and they’re able to focus on what truly matters. It can be so easy to get caught up in every minute and every detail, and while they are each important, I always try to remind my clients that they will feel so much differently after the pressure of the ceremony is over! And, time and time again, it’s true!”

Adrienne, the joyful spirit behind Hearts Content Events, says “one thing I wish every bride knew as they planned their wedding was that they don’t have to do this alone. They have a loving sweetheart, supportive family and friends who I’m certain are ready and willing to lend a hand wherever the bride needs it. And if that proves to be a bit too much, or they would prefer that their loved ones relax during this special time, they can always hire a wedding planner who will be their fearless advocate, encourager, and orchestrator of this special day. That way the couple can truly enjoy every precious moment of their engagement. Planning a wedding is a lot of work, but when a bride relies on her support system she can experience a little less stress, and a lot more joy during this special time in their lives.”

Wedding Planners tips and tricks

Meghan, the Lead Planner with her Costa Rica wedding planning company Mil Besos LLC has two great tips:

“On your wedding day, all the details and what-if’s that occupied your thoughts in the past year fade away. And many of the things that would seem like they go “wrong” actually make for amazing memories.  Worrying about the flower girl and ring bearer cooperating?  Once at a wedding a 2 year old ring bearer stopped and threw his ring pillow into a river!  Fortunately, at the rehearsal the day before I had overheard the mother of the 2 year old ring bearer mention that he was in a “throwing phase” so  I suggested we refrain from putting the real ring on the pillow he was carrying.  He also walked carrying his Elmo stuffed animal to give him courage and while not planned that way, it was adorable.  While the ring pillow being thrown in the river would seem like something that went wrong, it became a wonderfully funny family memory.

So don’t sweat the what-if’s in advance.  It’s just unneeded stress and you can’t possibly think of all the scenarios that can come up in a wedding day.  Just plan well and trust your planner to handle anything that pops up while you enjoy your day!
Focus on your style and location and use Pinterest for inspiration but not to replicate.  What is possible in a city in the U.S. for example, may not be possible in Costa Rica.  This can be certain types of flowers (peonies for example, don’t grow in Costa Rica), a gorgeous dress isn’t ideal for a tropical climate, or even if tall arrangements might not work in a location with high winds.  I recommend keeping your eye on the big picture, and we can help find ways to use Pinterest images as inspiration and to identify the styles that appeal to you while creating something new and unique that suits your setting.”

Love What You See? Want to Chat About YOUR Wedding?!

If you’re looking at this expert roundup of wedding planners and are thinking to yourself – I want you to come photograph my wedding! Awesome!!! We would LOVE to create a custom wedding package for you and the ones you love! Feel free to message me by hitting the { CONTACT ME } button or by giving me a call at 757-749-5350. I can’t wait to create some magic for you!