Event Planner Vs. Event Coordinator

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Sorry for skipping last weeks blog post, September is such a busy month and with it fast approaching, my mind completely forgot to write a blog post!

This week I would like to talk about the difference in an event planner and an event coordinator. Now you may be thinking they are the same thing, but they actually are not and I will explain why!

EVENT PLANNER

An event planner, actually plans your event. They get the basic information, budget, and theme you are looking for and they do 90% of the event planning and preparation. As a client who has hired an event planner, you will be doing a lot of approving or disapproving of event aspects.

For example an event planner will likely pick a few different venues and caterers that match your event, provide you with proposals and you will make the final decision about which venue or caterer you would like to use.

An event planner will do all the searching, dealing, and paperwork on your behalf. Because event planners do so much work they usually cost a pretty penny. Their flat rate costs usually start at about $4,000-$5,000 depending on your event, but I have seen flat rates be an upwards of $50,000. Some planners will charge an hourly rate instead of a flat rate and hourly rates can range from $50 to $200. A third possible planner payment type is a percentage (upwards of 20%) of the total cost of the event. For example if your event cost a total of $25,000 you would be paying an additional $5,000 to your event planner. Planners are not cheap, but also remember that if you have the right planner they are going to make deals with other vendors, and receive discounts you could not get if you were planning the event yourself. A good planner will also make planning an event almost completely stress-free for you!

Yes, planners are a lot of money but they also are professionals in the event industry, and if you choose the correct planner, you will receive a well organized and designed event! You will never have to worry about waking up early to decorate, or having to deal with 5 to 10 vendors at once, everything will be done for you. All you have to do is sit back, relax and approve or disapprove designs and plans.

A good way to look at a planner, is to compare a planner to an architect. Most people would never trust themselves to design their own house, that’s why we have architects. You tell an architect what you are looking for and they design a house to your liking, you let the architect do all the work because they have the skills and experience to do it right. Think of an event planner as an architect for your event. Planners are educated, trained, and have experience in what they do. You pay them to plan an event that you don’t have the time and all the skills to do yourself.

EVENT COORDINATOR

In most cases when you purchase coordination services, you are purchasing day-of help. A coordinator service is not as detailed as a planning service. Most of the time a coordinator is hired for help on the day of the event. That means they are not in charge of working and planning with your vendors (such as caterers and DJ). They do not design your décor or venue. Those little details and planning are all on you. Some coordination services (such as myself) will add small planning elements to coordination packages such as help with floor plan and help with day-of schedule, but that is about as detailed as they get.

Coordinators also are not event set-up, coordinators do not have the time to set-up and move furniture. Those are items you either pay your venue or equipment rental company to do. Coordinators basic job is to welcome your vendors and show them where to set-up and give them a basic schedule for the event. Coordinators will welcome your guests and answer any questions they have. Lastly coordinators will make sure your schedule is followed.

For example a wedding coordinator will get the bridal party lined up on time and down the aisle, they will then work with your DJ and Caterer to get your meal served correctly and on time and your dancing, and reception activities set-up correctly. They usually do very minor set-up such as table clothes, centerpieces, napkins, place cards, guest book and such. Again I repeat, they do not set-up large decorations such as tables, chairs, stages, backdrops and such. If they have this service you will probably be paying extra for it.

A corporate event coordinator, will again make sure your food is served on time, collect tickets (if ticketed event), answer guest questions, make sure speakers are prepared and in the correct location at the correct time. They will do minor set-up such as table clothes, centerpieces, and swag bag, or favor set-up.

A coordinator is hired to do the all the day-of planning and organizing so you can enjoy your guests and event. They do all the background work, such as timing of event activities and vendor communication, so you don’t have to answer a bunch of questions and get interrupted during your event.

Coordinators do not have as much work as a planner has, thus they are often cheaper then a planner, ranging from flat rates of $200-$3000. Or hourly rates of $50 to $100. But do not mistake a coordinator as a cheap planner. Yes, they are less expensive but their services do not cover a wide range of event details such as a planner. Do not hire a coordinator and expect the same detailed service as a planner!

The main reason I am writing this blog today is because in the industry I have seen an increase in clients who do not understand the difference between coordination and planning services and many businesses who will not explain the difference. Never hesitate to ask a potential planner/coordinator what specifically their services include. If the price seems lower then expected its usually because you are paying for a coordinator not a planner. Lower prices means simple day-of tasks, larger prices is more all-inclusive event planning.

Many event business will have both coordination and planning services, be sure to ask about both and get full details about both services to determine what is best for you. Also don’t hesitate to call businesses, email and messaging can only explain so much, calling and speaking to a professional is a lot easier and you usually gain more answers and details you are looking for!

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