Many venues and churches offer on-site coordinators. The fact that your venue provides this service is wonderful (they are usually so helpful!!) but they are not the same as a wedding planner or day-of coordinator. How so? Read on to find out.
Put simply, the on-site coordinator is there for the venue, a wedding planner is there for you. On site coordinators know the venue in and out. They can open locked doors, they make sure bathrooms are stocked, they often oversee the parking, and sometimes they set up tables and chairs (if you rent them through the venue). The wedding planner, though, calls to confirm with all of your vendors the week of your wedding, sets up your decor, knows the schedule of your reception, lets you know that it’s time for your grand entrance, and ensures that the DJ has the proper pronunciation of the names in your wedding party, etc. The same discrepancy exists between the positions when it comes to church coordinators and wedding planners. Church coordinators are there to make sure that the church rules are followed, facilitate the opening of the church for your rehearsal and wedding, ensure that all ceremony procedures are attended to, and sometimes will help with send you down the aisle. They do not worry about you arriving on time, the shot list of pictures that you want to grab after the ceremony, transport to your reception venue, etc. These are all things that your wedding planner is aware of and helps you with throughout the day.
There is sometimes a risk when it comes to depending on the on-site coordinator. There tends to be a high turnover rate with these positions, and there is no guarantee that the coordinator you met with when you booked the venue will be the one you work with on the day of your wedding. If you book an independent wedding planner, this person is specifically under contract to work with you from that time through the end of your wedding day. They will get to know you and the preferences you have for your wedding day. There is no need to worry about explaining everything you thought you had already worked out with the former on-site coordinator to a new hire when you have a wedding planner.
Because on-site coordinators work through the venue, the time they spend helping on your wedding day is dictated by the venue. They often leave once the major catering events are over. This is different from a wedding planner. Planners and independent coordinators are often one of the last people to leave, ensuring that all guests have exited and that major, important items have been accounted for. For example, I typically arrive at the venue as soon as they’ll allow me in for setup, and I’m one of the last people to leave at the end of the night (usually along with rental companies who are there for pick up, or caterers that are finishing up their clean-up.)
Don’t get me wrong. On-site coordinators are a great bonus. But they do not take the place of an independent coordinator; a wedding planner knows your day inside and out and is there to make sure the small details are handled while keeping YOU in mind.
All the best,