What Type of Wedding Planner Do You Need?

You have a lot of choices when it comes to planners, so start by thinking about what you’re looking for and read up about your different options before meeting with any candidates.
by The Knot
Wedding set in a bar venue
photo by Sarah Elizabeth Dunn Photography

There are a range of professionals who fall under the wedding planner title, but have all different skill sets. For instance, not all planners offer design services, and not all event designers handle logistics. Some are more vision oriented, while others specialize in scheduling and production. Be sure you're clear on the extent of the services potential planners are willing to provide when you interview them to make sure you're going to receive all the support you're expecting. Below, find a detailed breakdown of your options and which one might be right for you. Just be cautious—these terms aren't used consistently across the industry, but will give you an idea of the type of service you want.

Full-Service Planner

A full-service planner handles it all—both design and coordination—from start to finish (like creating the overall vision, hiring and meeting with vendors and arranging weekend activities for your guests). This type of planner is great for couples who are having a complex event or simply want a professional to guide them every step of the way and handle all the details of executing their vision.

Event Designer

An event designer focuses on pulling together the overall look of the day rather than organizing all the logistical details (like the timeline or budget). They're like an interior designer for your event, so they may work with other vendors—from stationers to florists—to bring your vision to life based on the style and atmosphere you've dreamed up. But don't expect them to handle the organization or logistics.

A wedding designer isn't necessarily a must if you would like to work with your venue manager, wedding planner and/or florist (some florists, called "floral designers," are also design experts who will help you with the décor and design concept, as well as the centerpieces and bouquets) to create your wedding décor concept. Busy couples often turn to event designers to take some of the planning pressure off or to achieve a unique theme idea or concept—or just to make sure their reception looks amazing. This type of planner is best for someone who can handle organizing and coordinating all the vendors and events, but needs someone for vision.

À La Carte Planner

This part-time pro helps you shape the event by giving you décor suggestions, vendor recommendations or assistance with specific projects. You contact the planner when you need help and they charge either an hourly rate or a flat fee for each service. An à la carte planner is great for couples who need someone to design a blueprint they'll execute themselves. 

Day-of Coordinator

A day-of pro helps to make sure everything runs smoothly on the actual wedding day but isn't really involved much beforehand. Most prefer to begin their involvement at least a month before the wedding to truly make sure all things are in order, and they usually charge a flat fee. They'll handle all your vendors and setup on the day of your wedding, as well as any type of cleanup or postwedding duties, so you and your family members can just relax and enjoy the day. A day-of coordinator is perfect for couples who plan to be very hands-on during the planning process and can handle the contracts and organization, but want someone to take care of all the details the week before and be there on the day of.

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