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Wedding Coordinator vs Wedding Planner vs Wedding Designer: What's the Difference?

If you're searching for a wedding planner, I'm sure you've seen all these service titles or more- wedding coordination, wedding management, full-service planning, guided planning, wedding planning and design, etc.

All these options can feel overwhelming when you don't know what they mean and how to choose the best option! We're here to break it down for you!

Wedding Coordination-

This can also be called "Month of Coordination" or "Wedding Management."

Wedding Coordination typically begins 12-16 weeks before the wedding after all plans have been made. A wedding coordinator will organize the plans you've already made and make sure they go according to your plan. They can also help review your plans to ensure no details are missed.

A black and white photo of a couple kissing wrapped in string lights. The bride and groom got married in Waco, TX. Wedding Planning by CMDesigns Weddings

A wedding coordination or wedding management service typically looks like this-

  • A final walkthrough of the venue with the couple and a few vendors to discuss the details of the day. Taking the time to discuss these details will help ensure no detail is missed and that everyone is on the same page.

  • Confirmation or creation of vendor timelines.

  • Creation of a custom wedding day timeline.

  • Creation of a custom floorplan or floorplan review.

  • Coordination of the ceremony rehearsal.

  • Coordination of the ceremony.

  • Coordination of vendor setup.

  • Coordination of the reception timeline.

On the wedding day, they are-

  • Checking in with vendors

  • Overseeing the setup

  • Communicating with the wedding party

  • Keeping things on track

  • Overseeing the timeline

  • Making sure vendors are ready before each event

  • Making sure everyone is where they need to be

  • Making sure everything is flowing well

  • and so much more!

This might be a good fit for you if-

✨ Most wedding plans have already been made, and you're ready to hand them over to a pro.

✨ You want to make sure no details have been missed.

✨ You want to be fully present on your wedding day and allow a pro to handle the details, coordinate the vendors and keep things on track.

✨ You want your family to enjoy the day with you instead of coordinating the wedding for you.

This service usually ranges in price from $1500-$3000, depending on the expertise and service your planner provides.

Guided Planning-

This can also be called "Partial Planning" or "Custom Planning."

A couple celebrates their wedding surrounded by their excited wedding party. A Waco wedding planned and designed by CMDesigns Weddings.

Guided Planning service typically means you are planning your wedding with the expertise of a professional wedding planner by your side.

A guided planning or partial planning service typically looks like this-

  • Budget review

  • Vendor recommendations

  • Monthly check-ins

  • Planning resources

  • Wedding Management Services

This might be a good fit for you if-

✨ You've got the major details figured out (venue, budget, etc.).

✨ You have the time to plan your wedding. (let's say 5-12 hours a week)

✨ You want to plan your wedding and be in the details but want an expert's help and professional opinion.

✨ You know the importance of having a planner but don't have the budget for full-service wedding planning. (You pay less but also take on more of the wedding planning load.)

This service usually ranges in price from $3000- $6000, depending on the expertise and service your planner provides.

Full-Service Wedding Planning-

We also refer to this as "All-Inclusive Wedding Planning."

A couple kiss and dip in front of a beautiful gazebo on the beach. A wedding ceremony in front of a gazebo on the beach. A beautiful beach destination wedding in Cancun planned and designed by CMDesigns Weddings.

With Full-Service Wedding Planning, your wedding planner will plan every detail of the wedding. After a detailed discussion of your vision, your wedding planner will work on pulling it all together and take care of everything from choosing the best venue to handling all the details of the day.

Full-service wedding planning typically looks like this-

  • Budget planning and management

  • Creation and management of a custom planning checklist

  • Planning Resources (guest tracker, budget tracker, etc.)

  • Venue recommendations and help with booking

  • High-quality vendor recommendations

  • Help with booking and choosing vendors that fit your budget and style

  • Scheduling and attendance at venue tours and vendor meetings

  • Help with sourcing decor and details

  • Vendor communication and updates

  • and so much more!!!

This might be a good fit for you if-

✨ You don't have time to plan your wedding.

✨ You have a demanding job or personal life that would not allow for much flexibility in planning your wedding.

✨ You don't want to plan your wedding.

✨ You're planning your wedding in a different city than your own.

✨ You don't know much about weddings or wedding vendors and want to make sure everything is taken care of by a planning expert.

This service usually ranges in price from $6,000- $20,000, depending on the expertise and service your planner provides.

Many planners offer percentage-based pricing for this service. Percentages can range from 12-20% of your overall budget. (Read more about percentage-based pricing here.)

Wedding Designer-

Ok, here's the deal- Not all wedding planners are wedding designers, and not all wedding designers are planners. Some planners (including us) offer both planning and design services.

An outdoor ceremony aisle lined in huge lush florals. The couple stands in front of their arch made of flowers. An Austin wedding planned and designed by CMDesigns Weddings.

Wedding Designers typically-

  • Offer detailed design consultation and/or questionnaire

  • Create a detailed design plan

  • Create a custom mood board

  • Create a custom design sheet and/or design checklist

  • Assist with sourcing design vendors and decor items

  • Create design renderings or offer design viewing

  • Oversee every detail to make sure everything is perfect

  • Make sure the design fits your personality and aesthetic

  • Some also offer production

A reception filled with beautiful blush and white florals. A stunning floral installation lining the head table. An Austin wedding reception planned and designed by CMDesigns Weddings.

This might be a good fit for you if-

✨ Your wedding design is very important to you

✨ Your guest experience is very important to you

✨ You hope to get published

✨ You're creative and want that to show in the design, but you need help with the more minor details.

✨ or (on the other hand) planning the details and logistics of the wedding is something you can handle but need a professional to help with the creative elements.

This service usually ranges in price from $1000- $6000, depending on the expertise and service your planner provides.

Other things to consider when choosing your planner-

  • Does their style fit your own? When you look at their galleries or social media, does the work they share fit the style and design you're looking for?

  • Do your personalities match? You'll be working with them for a long time, so it's important that you can work well together.

  • Does their service cover everything you're looking for in a planner? Although a lot of planners offer the same type of services (i.e., wedding management, wedding planning, wedding design), not all wedding planning services are the same. Not all wedding planners work the same or cover the same details.

  • Do they fit within your budget? Remember, depending on what service you choose, your wedding planner will be with you from the very beginning, taking care of every detail of your wedding. They are the only wedding pro that will help you from the time they are booked through the end of your wedding (and beyond). Because of this, your wedding planner could be up to 20% of your budget.

Are you looking for a wedding planner? Check out our services and reach out to us here.

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