FEATURED VENDORS: Venue/Catering Coordinator vs Wedding Planner | The Difference

ri summer wedding

Anyone who is currently or has recently planned a wedding knows there are lots of moving parts. Between coordinating times, scheduling meetings, researching wedding professionals who fit your style and budget can be an overwhelming process. The average wedding takes over 250 hours just to plan! {CRAZY, right?} While all your wedding professionals will work together on your wedding day to make sure your day runs smoothly, it is nice to have ONE person that knows the in’s and out’s of the day and can assist you throughout the planning process. This ONE person is your Wedding Planner and/or a Day of Coordinator {DOC}. Keep in mind Wedding Planners and DOCs are very different from your venue coordinator or catering coordinator. Couples often get the two mixed up, so we interviewed one venue coordinator and two Wedding Planners to better explain who does what.

Venue coordinators are employees of the venue. They help you with things regarding the venue: tasks that showcase the venue, reviewing your food and beverage services and finalizing your room set up needs. They can provide you a list of wedding pro’s that have worked at their venue in case you want to reach out to any of them.

As the wedding approaches, the venue coordinator will often provide a timeline for their venue and include what is happening and when. On the actual wedding day, your venue coordinator will make sure that the room is set up correctly {meaning tables, chairs, linens etc}. If the venue offers a ceremony on site, they will oversee this and make sure everything runs smoothly. Kelley O’Toole, the venue coordinator at Harbor Lights Marina and Country Club, explains to her clients that “as the venue coordinator I am available on the day of to help run the ceremony and make sure the building is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and comfortable for the guests!” She likes to think of it as “being a guide for the couple! If they need help or advice they know that I am there for them but they do most of the planning themselves.”

If you selected a venue that does not offer food, you will have to hire a caterer. Often times a catering coordinator is included with your package. This person works with you on behalf of the catering company. They will coordinate your food and beverage timeline, including delivery of tables, chairs, linens and flatware. They will work with your venue coordinator to make sure everyone is on the same page as far as set up and the courses being served.  Some caterers will ask if they can help introduce you to other wedding professional {like a photographer, a band etc}. But they may not know your style and budget.

Typically your venue and catering coordinator will not reach out to all of your other wedding professionals to see what time everyone is starting, what time your transportation is arriving etc. They will not be that middle person, you as the client will still have to coordinate your vendors time of arrivals, set-up instructions and manage your day.

This is where the Wedding Planner comes in! Wedding planners and Day of Coordinators {DOCs} are personally hired by you and assist you by managing your day so you can actually enjoy it. Planners connect you with professionals who meet your style and budget. By doing this, they are saving you research, time and money. They will reach out to all your wedding professionals and provide them with a detailed timeline of the entire day. If something goes wrong, they take care of it. Planners work well with venue coordinators and catering coordinators on your wedding day. It’s an extra bonus on your wedding day to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Wedding Planners and DOCs are like personal assistants on your wedding day! Wedding Planners and DOC’s work on behalf of their clients: YOU.

Below are two Wedding Planners that we have personally worked with and highly recommend. Be sure to let them know you read about their business on Nicole Gesmondi Photographer, LLC‘s blog!

Wedding Planning Expert: Erica Trombetti of Infinite Events

wedding planner ri
Owner of Infinite Events: Erica Trombetti

Tagline: “Be a guest at your own wedding”
Website: www.infinite-events.net
Phone: 401-330-8367
Email: erica@infinite-events.net
Address: 270 Bellevue Ave   |   Newport, Rhode Island   |   02840

Tell us about yourself and Infinite Events: Infinite Events provides professional planning and event coordination services for wedding, fundraisers, baby showers, corporate events, and more.  With a successful custom planning process for out-of-state clients, we specialize in Newport, RI destination weddings and other destination locations around the world. I have more than seven years of corporate planning experience and have spent the past five years focusing solely on weddings and social events. My love and passion for this industry really shines through in my work. I am very detail oriented and like to think outside the box. My personality and creative design makes every event unique and special.  My main goal is always to make sure my clients feel like a guest at their own party, provide a stress free planning process and to get couples away from the traditional cookie cutter wedding.

When should clients book your services? It varies depending on whether we are doing day of coordination or full planning. Clients have booked us 2 years out for full planning or a few months out for day of coordination.

Where can couples find your services? Couples can find us on our website, through Rhode Island Wedding Group, on social media, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What should couples consider when hiring someone like yourself? That a professional wedding planner/day-of coordinator is completely different from their venue or catering coordinator. Be sure to research exactly what your venue/cater offers and compare it to a professional wedding planner.

Anything else we should know? Infinite Events is available for a complimentary consultation if you would like to learn more about our services and how we can help you with your upcoming event.


Wedding Planning Expert: Sarah Daly of Sarah Daly Events

wedding planner newport
Owner Sarah Daly of Sarah Daly Events

Tagline: We are Event Architects: designing and planning your wedding from the ground up
Website: www.SarahDalyEvents.com
Phone: 401-741-7742
Email: sarah@sarahdalyevents.com
Address: 62 Thames St   |   Newport, Rhode Island   |   02840

Tell us about yourself and Sarah Daly Events: It takes 250 hours to plan a wedding – that’s like 6 weeks of working a full time job!  No wonder engaged couples are stressed!  We are Event Architects, helping you design and plan your wedding from the ground up, and with almost 20 years of experience, we connect you with the best in the business. We are your one-stop shop to save you time, money and stress – from helping you find the best vendors, to flowers, to linens, we can do it all for you.  Email us at sarah@sarahdalyevents.com or text us at 401-741-7742.

When should clients book: It’s best to book 6-12 months prior

Where can couples find your services? Find us through the Rhode Island Wedding Group, or at our website, or call 401-741-7742.

What should couples look for when hiring a planner? When looking for a planner, find someone you feel a connection with.  You will be communicating a lot with your planner, and you’ll want a trusting, positive relationship with that person.

What are some things couples should consider: Consider your wedding and all of the details – are you having a country club wedding?  Perhaps you only need someone to help you coordinate the pieces before your reception, such as making sure your transportation shows up on time, and the room is set up properly.  Are you having a tent reception?  You really should consider having a planner by your side the entire way, helping you with all the moving parts such as set up and breakdown of chairs, tables, and linen.

Anything else potential clients should know?  Hiring a wedding planner can be more affordable than you think!  And after all your hard work of making decisions to be sure your day is perfect, a planner is the extra insurance policy you need!

Nicole Gesmondi Photographer, LLC is a wife-and-husband photography team located in Providence, Rhode Island. We’ve been providing wedding and portrait photography services in and around Providence and Newport, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Boston and more for over a decade.

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