romantic outdoor reception space beneath large shady tree at garden wedding venue
Megan Clouse Photography

Planning a wedding takes a lot of work, but hiring a planner is a surefire way to lighten your load so you can keep your focus on the end result: getting married. If you’re wondering, “what does a wedding planner do?”, the answer is a lot. But while they share the basic responsibilities (i.e. making sure your wedding runs smoothly), not every planner does the exact same thing. There are several different types of wedding planners, so we’ve created a list of what sets them apart and the benefits of choosing each type.

Read more about what a wedding planner does and how you can choose the right one based on your budget and needs. 

Full-Service or All-Inclusive

A full-service wedding planner is best for couples who want step-by-step guidance and a professional opinion from the get-go, or those who may not have a lot of free time to dedicate to planning. Your planner will be involved in every aspect of the wedding, from large tasks like helping you choose a venue and handling vendor correspondence, to setting up escort cards and corralling your bridesmaids on the wedding day. A full-service planner is also a great option for brides and grooms who need help with the smaller details of a wedding, such as choosing linen colors and flowers, and might prefer to leave those decisions to an expert. Because of the commitment and work involved, this type of wedding planner is typically the most expensive option, but the cost can be well worth it in the end.

Month-Of Planner

Couples who want to do most of the wedding planning themselves should still consider hiring a month-of planner to help ease the stress load during crunch time. Month-of planners are pros at stepping in to handle any unforeseen snafus in the weeks and days leading up to a wedding. They can also help with miscellaneous, last-minute things that need to be taken care of, such as final contract negotiations, making vendor payments and scheduling deliveries during what’s likely to be the busiest time of your engagement. 

Wedding Weekend Coordinator

For couples that have multiple days of festivities scheduled and a large number of guests to keep track of, a wedding weekend coordinator is essential to help everything run smoothly. He or she will be the driving force behind the actual wedding day but can also assist with greeting guests and organizing any non-wedding activities, such as the rehearsal dinner or morning-after brunch.

Day-Of Coordinator

A day-of coordinator will chat with their clients a handful of times before the wedding to create a game plan, but their main responsibility is to oversee everything taking place on the actual wedding day — nothing more. Think of them as the professional counterpart to your friend or relative who volunteers to “run” things on your wedding day (which isn’t always the best idea). Typical responsibilities of a day-of coordinator include greeting vendors and directing them to their proper places, managing the wedding decor setup and breakdown, helping the wedding party as needed, and ensuring that the day is running as on-schedule as possible. Prior to the big day, you will be responsible for planning the wedding and tying up any loose ends on your own.

Destination Wedding Coordinator

A destination wedding coordinator is crucial for couples planning a wedding from afar. When you and your fiancé(e) can’t readily visit your wedding location, it’s helpful to have a trustworthy professional there in your place, or someone who is very familiar with planning weddings in your destination. A destination wedding coordinator can help you scout for venues, meet with vendors, and get a firsthand account of everything on your behalf when you can’t be there in person. They’ll also inform you of important, regional-specific information you might not know about, such as weather patterns, local happenings, travel tips, and regional customs.

Vendor Scouting and Referrals

What does a wedding planner do, aside from creating your wedding day timeline and responding to all those emails you sent during one of your late-night frenzies? Many event planning companies will provide couples with professional opinions and advice, even if you aren’t hiring them full-time. The planners can review your wedding contracts, join you on venue walk-throughs or provide referrals to other vendors. Event planners have vast network of industry contacts, from florists to rental companies, and this is a great opportunity to get connected to some of the best in the biz!

Á la Carte

No two weddings are exactly alike, which is why some planners allow clients to create their own à la carte wedding planner services list and pass on services they don’t need. Creating a custom planning package can be a great option for couples who are on a limited budget but still want professional guidance in some areas.

What about event designers or event stylists?

Not to be confused with wedding planners, event designers and event stylists are professionals that will help you exclusively with the visual side of your wedding. This ranges from tasks such as choosing a color palette, creating beautiful tablescapes or finding the perfect rentals to bring your cocktail lounge area to life. Event stylists and wedding planners tend to work hand-in-hand on a regular basis, which means that many planners have developed an excellent eye for design, but your planner may also want to collaborate with a stylist to take your big day to the next level.