If your only encounter with wedding planners is J-Lo and Monica Geller, it’s understandable that you might be a little confused about what they actually do. Throw into that the fact that wedding coordinators and wedding stylists also exist, and you’re probably very confused. What do they mean? What do they do? Why you do need them?!
A lot of wedding planners, stylists and coordinators use the terms somewhat interchangeably, which can add to the confusion – but don’t sweat, pet. The roles are often slightly more defined within them, helping you work out what it is that you want help with in the run up to and on the day itself. Being a wedding photographer lucky enough to work with some incredibly cool couples means I often work in tandem with equally cool wedding planners, stylists and coordinators, so I’ve asked the best of the best from London, the Midlands and Yorkshire to help. This should help clear up the confusion and explain what they do and, crucially, how they can help you. And not a headset in sight, team!
What is a wedding planner?
I think it’s fair to say that a wedding planner is the overarching term for a supplier who’s job it is to make your wedding day run smoothly. They can cover a number of different tasks within their remit – from full planning from day one, to last minute pulling together.
As Cherelle from Perfectly Planned 4 You, Hackney wedding planning specialist, explains, “This is a very good question, one that I feel many couples are confused about. From wedding to wedding, my job is never the same. But my main job is to help my bride and groom to have the best wedding planning experience possible.” This means she offers everything from Full Service Design and Coordination to Day of Coordination and many other options that fall in-between, including finding your suppliers – all the jobs that need to be done to give you more time to enjoy your engagement.
Ellen, founder of Leeds-based LND Events, says “A dedicated wedding planner should be able to do as much or as little as you want. Most offer different packages to suit couples needs, as of course every couple is unique in their tastes and choices, but essentially we are there to guide you in your decision-making so you end up with the right suppliers for your day, the right look and feel for your day, and to make sure it runs efficiently so all you have to do is enjoy it.” Not much then, hey?!
As she’s the go-to gal for warehouse weddings in Sheffield and Manchester, Elinor from Inner City Wedding does a lot of venue work as part of her role as a wedding planner. “We recommend spaces and suppliers (most of which don’t have wedding venue coordinators and are multi purpose spaces), and we have a huge amount of infrastructure we hire out, and assist in logistics and operations of weddings and events. We help our couples make the most of their budgets, collaborate on creative design ideas and implement those ideas, hook them up with awesome small businesses and independents, help set up, help coordinate it and pull all of the brilliant elements together! We also pack down post event as that is the shittest job in the world with a post-wedding hangover.” Woman of the people…
Regardless of what your planner specialises in, the purpose of a wedding planner couldn’t be clearer: the focus is on making the day totally stress-free and enjoyable for you and your family. Michaela from Clear Hearts Planning, a wedding planning service for awesome alternative couples, offers everything from controlling the entire budget and creating a quirky wedding from scratch to a few hours of venue styling, or inspiration sessions to recommend the perfect vendors. “I’ve found with my couples wedding planning can sometimes seem overwhelming at first BUT planning with someone who has worked at venues or knows other suppliers can make it all seem easier. Even in initial conversations, I’ve realised that I know bands or cake makers or venues that would be completely perfect for couples that they may not have found on their own (or would have spent hours searching for).
“We can also create bespoke packages that include a little bit of whatever you need to get your wedding and all the details ready — It’s all about making the day as stress free as possible – turning oh no’s into hell yeahs! The last wedding we coordinated the couple wanted to walk into a specific song and my team and I were on hand to make sure that moment was timed perfectly. These coordinated small details become much less scary when there is a team to ensure them than relying on the bridal party or family. Guests (and the couple) can party the day away without worrying.”
Devine Bride takes this one step further with her specialist ‘pick n mix’ wedding planning. (It’ll be a kilogram of jazzies and chocolate raisins for me please, no further questions.) “Pick + mix wedding planning is your wedding your way; I offer a much more flexible and creative way for couples to plan their big day. With my services, couples can pick and choose exactly what elements they need help with. From getting help with selected parts, as a consultant, or on a more ad hoc basis. My vision is to make wedding planning accessible and flexible. I offer creative solutions to planning and budgeting in the form of wedding tasking, styling and coordination. I offer a variety of different helping hand services, including but not limited to; Styling + Set Up, On the Day Coordination/Wedding Day Management, Partial Planning, and Hire a Bridesmaid.”
And Chenai, of the eponymous London luxury wedding planners By Chenai, describes her role as a wedding planner as an advocate. “A wedding planner’s job is to help their clients deliver the wedding they want. They are your personal wedding manager, saving you time by undertaking tasks such as researching venues, suppliers, arranging appointments and keeping things to schedule and in budget. They interpret what you envision for your day and help you achieve it. A great wedding planner remains objective, where sometimes on the opinions of family and friends can cloud decision making or add unnecessary noise. I always say I act as an advocate for my couples, be it in negotiations with suppliers, venues or tricky conversations with family members. They are there to ensure schedules are adhered to, details are considered but personally – I just want to ensure my couples have a truly lovely day.”
What is a wedding coordinator?
Wedding coordinators most often sit within the realm of wedding planners. They focus on the on-the-day running of the wedding, but their work with you starts before that. Lianne, founder of London-based Blonde Army, explains “A coordinator helps to bring together all the elements you have planned towards the end of your planning journey. You may have a co-ordinator included at your venue, or you may need a freelance coordinator like myself. I work with you for 1 whole month before your big day to ensure nothing is missed, creating a master schedule and liaising with all suppliers to ensure the day runs smoothly. Wedding coordinators take over communicating and organising, so that you can sit back and focus on yourself rather than on all the logistics of your wedding day..I’ll be there from the start of your wedding day to set up everything with precision and can be there until the very end to assist your guests and help with the clear up.”
What is a wedding stylist?
Ok, so we know what a wedding planner is. We’ve sussed the role of a wedding coordinator. But what’s a wedding stylist?
Lianne, founder of Blonde Army, says: “A wedding stylist deals with the aesthetics of your wedding. We help you work out how you want your wedding to feel and look. For me styling is about making it personal to you, the details, the guests experience and making it memorable to them and that’s a full sensory experience. We work for you – the couple – not the venue (even though we may have been recommended by them). I’ll work with my recommended suppliers to source props & furniture to flowers & crockery and everything in between to create your dream day and execute your vision.
If a cool-as-fuck fairy godmother of weddings existed, it would be Cherelle from Perfectly Planned 4 You. She is the QUEEN of Hackney weddings, with the kind of knowledge you only get from a local, and her wonderful no-nonsense attitude means she’s the perfect person to bring your wedding day together.
LND Events help take Yorkshire weddings from “how” to “wow” and their wedding planning prowess is just as wonderful as their tagline. With a focus on telling your story and making total magic, Ellen is 100% committed to making your wedding day exactly what you dream of it being.
A lot of the coolest wedding venues are blank canvas spaces, which makes the vision of your wedding all the more exciting but the execution even more bloody terrifying. If you want someone you can trust to take your dreams for the day and make them happen non-negotiably, Inner City Weddings are your guys. They’re less chair covers and sashes and more hauling-6-chairs-at-a-time to transform empty spaces into uber cool wedding venues.
In her own words, Michaela from Clear Hearts Planning offers alternative wedding planning for “awesome freaks, geeks, weirdos, metallers, punk rockers, and hip hoppers”. If you’re planning an alternative wedding and want someone who’ll not only understand your vision but exactly why it’s important that you have it that way – plus someone who’s super wonderful and will support you through every step – then she is your gal.
If the idea of a wedding planner seems terrifying, we all but guarantee that Laura from Devine Bride will change your mind. The country’s first and best specialist in pick and mix wedding planning, you can (would you believe) pick and mix the elements of wedding planning that you want help with and hand them over to Laura, whilst keeping control of the bits you’re actually enjoying.
To do their job properly, wedding planners have to have a super practical, logistical mind – and to do their job well, they should be super lovely and easy to gel with. By Chenai ticks both of these boxes tenfold – she’s an incredibly inspiring lady who you’d be as comfortable meeting for a cocktail as you would having her in charge of your wedding day. Her luxe London style isn’t about gilded gold and more for the sake of it, but about meaningful moments.
If you’re considering a wedding stylist or coordiinator but you’re not 100% sure you need one, we need to do nothing more than refer you to the fab Lianne from Blonde Army events. Just think, if she takes this much care with answering some blog questions – just IMAGINE how good she’d be on your wedding day, right?! And don’t be misled by the title either – alongside being a coordinator, Lianne is a fabulous wedding stylist, orchestrating good-looking great-feeling celebrations.