What’s the Difference Between a Venue Coordinator and Wedding Planner?

What’s the Difference Between a Venue Coordinator and Wedding Planner?

As a wedding planner, when I speak to couples, I often hear “I don’t need a wedding planner, my venue has a coordinator”.  At this moment I cringe because I don’t think most couples know the difference between a venue coordinator and wedding planner.  I spoke with a local venue coordinator recently who told me about an experience she had with a couple who thought that since she was the coordinator for the venue, she would help with the timeline throughout the day and inform people of when they are needed for events.  Clearly they didn’t understand what the venue offers and what more we bring to the table, so now it is my job to explain to these couples how little the venue partakes in the entire planning of the day and all the details we help with.  Let me break it down for you…

What Can You Expect From Your Venue Coordinator

  • They are a salesperson and liaison for the venue
  • They are solely responsible for wedding details that concern the venue such as the banquet event order, menu tasting and the room setup.
  • They are responsible for making sure all vendors abide by all venue rules and regulations.
  • Their job concludes once the dinner and cake has been served, whereas a wedding planner will be by your side the entire night.
  • The venue coordinator that you start working with may or may not be the onsite contact for your wedding day.
  • They will provide a list of preferred vendors but that is the extent of their interaction with those vendors.
  • They will provide a timeline that is solely for the catering staff, that focuses on when the food will be prepared and served.
  • You will be sharing your venue coordinator with about 100 other Brides.  This could mean delayed responses and working around their business hours.

What Can you Expect From a Wedding Planner

  • A wedding planner acts as a liaison between you and your vendors and attends all meetings.
  • A wedding planner will customize a timeline for all the vendors arrivals and pickup times also including details of the day from when you wake up in the morning to when the doors close.
  • When your ceremony is in a different location, a wedding planner will be with you at your ceremony location and reception venue to ensure all details are taken care of.
  • A wedding planner will assist in etiquette, family matters and decor ideas just to name a few.
  • A wedding planner is the stage manager for all parties involved including the bridal party, family, vendors and guests.
  • A wedding planner takes responsibility for setting up all of your personal items and collecting them along with your gifts at the end of the event.
  • A wedding planner will oversee time management including ceremony processions and recessional, cocktail hour transition, entrances, cake cutting, toasts, dances, prompting vendors and troubleshooting.
  • A wedding planner ensures all vendors setup and strike correctly.
  • A wedding planner is there until all vendors and guests have left.
  • A wedding planner is available almost 24/7.  If you are having an emergency you can pick up your phone and text your wedding planner.  Your venue coordinator will not give you their personal cell number.

The biggest difference: A venue coordinator works for the needs of the venue and a wedding planner works for you, ensuring every details is flawless and your day is orchestrated just as you planned.

Backyard Chicago Wedding | Blush + Gold

Backyard Chicago Wedding | Blush + Gold

Andrei + Cassandra’s wedding was so unique and one of the best weddings we have had the opportunity to plan.  They work together for his Father’s family business.  With very little time on their hands they came to us to help with all the details for their backyard Chicago wedding.  They started the day taking photos with the bridal party at St. Mary’s in Mudelein.  They had a Persian ceremony in the backyard of the Groom’s childhood home followed by a romantic reception under the stars.

Vendors for this Grand Affair

Wedding Planner: Creatively Yours Wedding & Event Planning

Hair/Makeup: Salon Cambrai

Vegan Wedding Cake: The Bent Fork

Catering: The Picnic Basket

Persian Food: Noon O Kabob

Photography: J. Brown Photography

Transportation: M&M Limousine Service

Photo Booth: Fotio

Bar Service: Professional Beverage Services

Restrooms: Portable John

Rentals: M&M Special Events

Flowers: Trellis 

Invitations: Lucky Invitations 

Video & Drone: Xpress Video Productions

DJ: Mike Staff Productions



Black + Gold Wedding | Chicago Cultural Center

Black + Gold Wedding | Chicago Cultural Center

Jennifer and Steven were married in July, Downtown Chicago. They came to me almost 2 1/2 years ago to help manage their time and the planning process. The bride is a nurse at a local hospital and the groom worked 2 jobs, so they needed some help. They were married at St. Alphonsus Church in Chicago, IL with 130 friends and family. The bride arrived with her Father and Mother in a 1962 Rolls Royce and later got to take advantage of some great photo opportunites. Afterwards there was a formal dinner and reception held at the Chicago Cultural Center on Michigan Avenue.

Thanks to all the vendors:

Ceremony | St. Alphonsus Roman Church, Chicago, IL
Reception | Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
Caterer | Jewell Catering
Photography | Wilde Sparrow Photography
Videography | Gravity Weddings
DJ | Spin Productions
Florist | Prairie Basket
Ceremony Music | Belle Music
Classic Car | Classic Wedding Cars
Transportation | Emperor Limousine
Hair + Makeup | Pin Me Up Chicago
Photo Booth | Admit One DJ’s

In 2017 I Will…

In 2017 I Will…

Well, the new year is here and everyone has and or is making their New Years resolutions.  The problem (for me at least) is that goals are just that, goals.  They do not hold me accountable just help me aim for higher.  So I have decided to create a “I WILL” list that will turn those goals into must do’s.  It is much easier to fail at something that I tell myself I will try to do than it is to fail at something I have already said I WILL DO.  So, I have laid it all out there, here are my personal and business I WILL’S for 2017.



  1. Attend an industry class/seminar
  2. Get 2 weddings published
  3. Become a preferred vendor for 3 other venues/vendors
  4. Do my first styled shoot
  5. Stop working at night when my family is awake


  1. Stop telling my kids to wait/hang on.  They come first!!
  2. Embrace my relationship with my Husband
  3. Save $25 each week for Christmas 2017
  4. Take 3 deep breaths when I get mad so I do not yell
  5. Eat cleaner

So now you know what I plan to do for 2017.  I would love to hear what you “WILL DO” in 2017.  Please leave me a comment below.  I look forward to reading them.



The Chocolate Wine Ceremony

The Chocolate Wine Ceremony

Marriage is ROMANTIC, FUN, SWEET and  A LOT OF HARD WORK.  The Chocolate Wine Ceremony represents just that, the bittersweet of marriage.  This can be added into your ceremony just before your vows.

What you will need:

  1. Two pieces of dark chocolate on a plate – THE BITTER
  2. Two glasses of red wine – THE SWEET

What the Officiant will say:

________&________, life is filled with great sweetness and days of bitter sorrow.  There are celebrations, and there are tears.  There are triumphs, and there are tragedies.  Life holds indescribable happiness for you both and unavoidable pain.  And so to symbolize this acceptance of this reality, today you will share the bitter and the sweet together, just as you have shared them in the past and will share them in the years to come.

Both of you take and eat this bitter, dark chocolate.  Taste in it the dark days which that have and will rock your marriage and test its strength.  It represents dissapointment, illness, grief.  Know that these hard times will come, and with them, the opportunity to deepen your bond.  Now take and drink this sweet red wine.  Taste in it the sweetness and light that fills tyour marriage with joy.  Savor the fruits of this wine, just as you savor the happiness your beloved brings you.  It represents shared laughter, your children’s sucesses and your anniversary.  Delight in it as you delight in each other.  Combined these items are representational of what you experience in life, and just like today, you will share them and experience them togheter for all the days to come.

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On The Inside With Candy | Prairie Basket Floral Design

On The Inside With Candy | Prairie Basket Floral Design

I would like to introduce Candy, the owner of Prairie Basket Floral Design in Barrington, IL.


I had the pleasure of meeting Candy over a year ago when we started working together on a backyard wedding for Samantha and Max.  This was a very low key wedding and so Candy said to me, “with such a limited budget for flowers I was surprised they hired a coordinator.”  I LOVED this question as it gave me the chance to explain how important it is to have at least a “stage manager” for the day so the couple and family wont have to orchestrate anything, no matter what their wedding budget is.

We are currently working on Downtown Chicago wedding that will have over 25 corsages and boutonnieres.  My hands already hurt for her.

It was wonderful chatting with Candy over some coffee as I learned that she started her home based business over 25 years ago with the same thing in mind as myself.  She wanted to be home with her children and be apart of their childhood events growing up.  She never took on too much as her family always came first, but once her 3 children were able to tackle the driving world she put them to work handling the deliveries.

She truly enjoys taking the flowers and matching them up with each bride uniquely.  She also carries this into her arrangements.  She does not try to transform a room with overly grand centerpieces.  Instead, she likes to bring detailed designs into smaller arrangements that can be viewed by the guests with the same dramatic effect.

What was your favorite wedding?

A Bride chose to have no personal flowers.  She wanted everything to be simple, allowing more possibilities for the decor and centerpieces.  (I really like this idea, it also can save you a ton of money) 

What is a fun request you have had?

To incorporate deer antlers in the centerpieces

A penny for your thoughts?

Baby’s Breath is not cheaper.  You will need several more stems to fill in the space.

Follow Candy on her Facebook Page HERE and see what she is up to.