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Wedding Industry Terms 101

There’s a lot of acronyms and terminology floating around the wedding industry. As a wedding planner, we also have quite a few. You may have heard some of these: wedding planner; wedding designer; floral designer; day of coordination; wedding management; venue coordinator; or month of coordinator. One of the biggest sources of confusion is that some people think these terms are all the same. Would it shock you to know that there are in fact different roles for most of these? And while there is some overlap with some of these terms, it’s best to understand what each means so that you can make an informed decision when choosing what’s right for you.

First up: why are there so many uses of the word coordinator? The core definition is a person whose job is to organize events or activities and to ensure that others work effectively together. When you add an identifier before it, it allows you to see the scope of that work. So therefore, a venue coordinator is there for the venue; a day-of coordinator is just there for the day, etc. As the term describes, a venue coordinator is an employee of the venue, and their goal is to ensure that the venue (and all their employees) are delivering the expected service, and your venue may or may not have one. What’s typically out of scope for them is coordinating vendors outside of the venue (photographers, DJs, florists, hair and makeup artists, etc.). They may or may not help with rehearsal and wedding day timelines, but even where they assist with these, understand that it is limited to what is happening at the venue.

Now, as far as day-of coordinator, month-of coordinator, or event management labels: in a way, some of these are a bit of a misnomer. In order to effectively coordinate an event, you really can’t just show up on the day of the event. You’d need to contact all the vendors, discuss wants and needs with the client, create a timeline, be available for rehearsal, and so on. If you’re looking for someone to manage your event and ensure that the day goes smoothly, there’s a lot of prep work that needs to happen first. This might sound like semantics, but if you think about it, it also reflects the amount and quality of work that will happen for your event. Expecting someone for just the day has a different level of impact as understanding that what you’re looking for is an event manager.

Moving on to more terms: designer, florist, and decorator. Are any of these really planning? No, but your planner may work with designers, florists, and decorators to achieve the look that you desire for your wedding. Some companies offer some or all of these services, but keep in mind that no one person can do all those jobs on the day of your event. A florist will obviously provide flowers, but what do you want them to look like? How does it fit in with the rest of your event design? This is where a designer might be helpful so that you end up with a cohesive look and feel fit your event. A decorator meanwhile will be there to set up shag has already been designed.

I saved the best for last this week: wedding planner. They are your partner in planning your wedding, helping you get all the pieces you need in place. From recommendations to budget management to creative problem solving, having a wedding planner will remove having to understand wedding lingo from all the many vendors, ensure that you’ve got the best team in place for you, and of course, that you get to enjoy your party. If you’re looking to reduce stress and get a wedding planned at the same time, a wedding planner is the way to go!

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