The Difference Between Wedding Planners, Architects, and Directors

A lot of couples feel like they could use a little bit of professional guidance to plan their dream wedding. Some couples feel like they need a lot of help! Figuring out which type of wedding professional to hire can be confusing, since each one can call himself or herself by whatever title they wish. To sort it all out, these are the differences between wedding planners, wedding architects, and wedding directors.

The wedding planner is the type of person most of us think of when we hear about a professional event planner. This is the person who coordinates every single detail of a wedding from beginning to end. They will handle the big stuff like negotiating vendor contracts and creating a design scheme, as well as all the small details like shopping for bridesmaid jewelry and calligraphy for placecards. The full service wedding planner may also go by the job descriptions wedding coordinator or wedding producer. Expect this type of planner to put about 80 – 250 hours into the wedding.

A full time wedding planner is best for couples who do not have time to plan their own wedding, either due to busy careers or a short lead time. They are also useful for brides who are not detail oriented, or those planning complicated weddings (such as an affair for 300 guests in Tuscany). They are very beneficial for anyone having their wedding in a blank canvas type of venue like a loft or a tent in their backyard. Hire a full time coordinator if you want someone you can rely on to handle everything wedding related from the very beginning until the last guest has left at the end of your reception.

A newer version of wedding planner is the wedding designer, stylist, or architect. This person does not oversee every single detail of your event, but rather focuses on the decor and theme. Expect a stylist to put up to 40 hours into your event. They will design a concept and color palette for your wedding, create the centerpiece designs, hire the lighting specialists, and track down unique props. On the morning of the wedding, the designer will supervise the vendors to make sure that the design is executed perfectly. A stylist is great if you have a vision of an amazing reception, but do not know how to put it all together. They are also fantastic if you know you want your wedding to look special and unique, but lack ideas on decor. A wedding architect does not oversee other details of the wedding, like making sure that out-of-town guests have a place to stay or that you have enough food for everyone.

The day of wedding planner (who may also be known as a day of wedding coordinator or a wedding director) actually starts a little bit before the big day. You will meet with her one or two months before your wedding to go over what you have already planned. Since the director is not there in the early stages, the bride will need to be comfortable with hiring her own venue, vendors, and so forth. The day of planner will touch base with your vendors, and also go over details with you to make sure nothing has been forgotten. She can remind you that you still need to pick out bridesmaid jewelry gifts or that you need to get the final head count to the caterer. The primary job of a wedding director is to orchestrate the actual wedding day. He or she will organize the rehearsal the day before, and then supervise vendors and the wedding party on the day of the event. The average wedding director puts at least 25 hours of work into each event. They are ideal for the couple who does not need or cannot afford a full time coordinator, but wants to be able to relax on their wedding day, knowing that they are in good hands.