Anyone who has ever watched a rom-com has heard the terms ‘wedding planner’ and ‘wedding coordinator’. But not everyone knows the difference between the two, or that they’re distinctly unique roles.
Planning a wedding means getting to know a lot of terms you may not have needed to think about before, and understanding the difference is important to help ensure your special day runs smoothly.
We recently sat down with Melissa Ketterer-Le Roux, our in-house wedding coordinator at Hazendal, to talk about the vital role she plays in our couples’ big day.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is the difference between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator?
A wedding coordinator is the go-to person on the day of the wedding and will coordinate everything from start to finish. Essentially, they oversee the execution and logistics on the day. They ensure that the schedule is adhered to, and they enable the bridal couple to enjoy their day stress-free.
The role of a wedding planner is a little different. They’re with you right from the start, up until your wedding day. They help you with everything from sourcing your venue to working out your budget, allocating the right amount to each supplier, and going to every meeting and consultation with you. They walk this journey with you from the start and are involved in every aspect of your wedding.
Why do you think it’s important to have a wedding coordinator?
A wedding coordinator is great to have because it removes all the stress from the couple and bridal party on the day of the wedding. Your coordinator takes care of everything so you can just focus on having an amazing day. You also want your guests to relax; to be able to enjoy a glass of bubbly and not worry about having tasks to do on the day.
Remember that the wedding coordinator isn’t just there on the day, but also in the weeks and months leading up to your wedding. They liaise with your suppliers and make sure everything is on track.
The month before the event is the most critical time. A wedding coordinator oversees the planning and knows exactly what to do at each step. They’ll start preparing your wedding day timeline and function sheets at this point, and send them to all your suppliers so everyone stays on track and on time.
Do you think it’s necessary to have a wedding planner if you’ve already booked a wedding coordinator?
If you have the time and the capacity to plan your wedding (while still enjoying the process), then no. I would, however, highly recommend a day-of wedding coordinator. They will make sure that your many months of planning are executed seamlessly on the day.
You may want to consider a planner if you’re having a destination wedding and can’t physically be at the venue until the big day.
Your average ‘work day’ is pretty unique! Tell us a little more about it.
It is, indeed. For me, a day of work means attending someone’s wedding, and that’s very special. I get excited about every wedding we host at Hazendal!
Image source: melissakettererleroux
I love walking this journey with the bridal couple and seeing them at their happiest. I also love working with industry friends and being surrounded by pretty all the time.
What does your average workday look like?
I arrive at the venue before the suppliers. First thing, coffee!
Next, I go through the function sheet to make sure I am ready for suppliers as they arrive. My team and I are here to assist them with anything they may need, answering questions and ensuring that everything is set up as it should be.
Once suppliers are done with their set-up, I will do a final walk-through of all areas to ensure that everything is perfect and we’re ready for guests to arrive. I’ll also brief all the food and beverage staff – this is critical!
There are so many activities that take place during the course of a wedding, and my role is to ensure a smooth and seamless flow between all of them. Guests are usually not aware of all this, which is perfect! Things should seem to just “happen” effortlessly.
After the event, we’ll oversee the breakdown, as well as the collection of hired items early the next morning. This is another thing that the bridal couple won’t have to worry about.
The role of a wedding coordinator sounds crucial and quite intricate. Is it as tricky as it sounds?
Yes, it is, which is why it’s such a good idea to use one if you can. At Hazendal, wedding coordination is included in the venue hire fee, which is always a welcome relief for our couples.
I’ve been working as a wedding coordinator for ten years, and I love it. I’ve done it for so long that I have crafted a powerful formula for ensuring that everything runs smoothly. I know this brings our clients such peace of mind, and I feel very fortunate that I can share my experience and expertise with couples. Plus, I just love weddings.
What does a wedding coordinator bring to a wedding that might otherwise be missing?
Definitely a sense of calm and order. We make sure that there’s no chaos, and that everything runs smoothly, exactly how the bridal couple envisioned it.
What’s your best piece of wedding-day advice for bridal couples?
There are a few things, and they’re all clichés, but that’s because they’re true. The day really does fly by, so you have to make a point of taking everything in. The specific moment that you stop and take it all in is the moment you’ll remember most vividly.
Don’t bring everyone to your decision-making meetings, as you tend to lose focus of what you want. It’s your day, so do it your way! Don’t try to please others on your wedding day. You deserve to enjoy it to the fullest.