Planning a wedding?
There are all sorts of help you can get for a wedding, but which kind do you specifically need and want? You can’t get the right person to help without first knowing what each of them do – Wedding Planners, Wedding Stylists, Wedding Coordinators and even the Florists, do you know what they do?
We know (and we’ve heard your questions) about the confusion among these titles. They are so often thrown around in wedding-related articles and Instagram captions that were meant to inspire you. Yet for the most part, we’ve heard couples sharing with us that it only make them more confused!
So here it is, let us try to solve this mystery once and for all!
TWM Notes: A disclaimer though, weddings are very dynamic events so you can do what you want, and vendors too can decide what falls within their scope of service. You get those who does it all in-house while there are others who work with partners or freelancers. Still, what we have set out here is what is generally seen. You won’t stray too far from what is the norm if you follow it and even if you do go off-course we’re sure our industry vendors will be happy to guide you back on track, we’re all friendly and fun-loving people here!
First of all, these are all roles that you don’t need to engage if you don’t wish to. But of course, we will suggest otherwise if you don’t have the capacity to handle the areas they perform. Here are what they each cover in relation to a standard wedding planning process:
Wedding Planning Process in a Nutshell
In summary, these are the things that are done within each aspect of wedding planning summed up in a few points. (We reallyyyy tried to keep it short!)
- Working out a realistic wedding budget
- Ensuring all expenses are kept within set budget and may involve movement of allocated funds from one area to another when the need arises
- Tracking of deposit, progressive and outstanding payments
- Shortlisting and securing of compatible vendors. Compatibility here means compatibility with your style and among the vendors that make up your wedding team. (The last thing you want is the photographer and videographer getting in each other’s way on the day!)
- Sourcing work can fall into
- Wedding specific vendors like wedding gowns and photographers
- Related services like accommodation for overseas guests or venues for rehearsal dinners and after party
- Sourcing work can also be extended to overseas vendors if preferred
- Building the wedding concept and theme to pull together a coherent look. This typically covers all visual aspects of the wedding
- Conceptualising work can fall into
- Pre-wedding items like the look of invitation cards, bridal party attire and pre-wedding concept shoot etc. (basically all the things you need to use or prepare for the actual day)
- Actual wedding day items like personal flowers, car decoration, home decoration, venue decoration etc.
- Putting together a wedding program that jives with the desired mood of the celebration e.g. Formal, Casual or Party
- Planning the flow of event to fit the desired mood based on number of courses in the reception, type of live band engaged, videos and speeches etc. as well as any additional activities that may value-add to the guest experience e.g. a doughnut station or stage games
- Assembling the required elements to make the proposed program work e.g. audio visual equipment
- All the small and big details to power the actual day flow is covered here and will include
- Vendors liaison to ensure all engaged vendors are aware of their individual role, where to go, how and when.
- Working out the wedding day itinerary or schedule and making sure those involved (e.g. your parents and bridal party) know what to expect and be where they need to be
- Guest list management to collate all details like dietary requirements, seating plan etc. These information has to be disseminated to relevant vendors and be used on the day
- Rehearsal planning
- Carrying out all the plans for each aspect of the wedding accordingly
- Can be divided into two main areas
- Execution by area of expertise i.e. a photographer will only cover photography, a makeup artist will only take charge of your look, a venue manager will take care of venue-related logistics
- Overall coordination i.e. having an overview and coordinating all aspects of the wedding plan including all vendors, time keeping and crisis management. Also include being next to you to guide you every step of the way.
Role of Wedding Vendor
The technical parts aside, this is what each of the wedding professionals do in general.
In short, your venue manager’s role is limited to areas pertaining to the wedding venue. Hence, they don’t typically involve themselves in areas beyond that. As Wedding Planners, Stylists, Coordinators and Venue Manager tend to have overlapping roles, they get easily mixed up. We’ve covered this thoroughly in a previous article, you can read more about it here!
What They Do
Most wedding planners cover all aspects of wedding planning from start to end, and sometimes even your pre- and post-wedding activities. Most will even accompany you to go gown shopping! The only exception pertains to areas you would have to do yourself such as inviting your guests to the wedding, attending the official appointment at the Registry of Marriage (for documents verification and statutory declaration) or any other tasks they can’t do on your behalf or doing it for you wouldn’t be fitting.
Do take note though because most wedding planning teams are small, some of them do limit the number of meetings with you, and the number of coordination hours on the wedding day. Meet a few of them before deciding on one. You will want to make sure their style and service matches yours because you will be walking the entire journey with them! But after that, rest assure because you will never walk alone again 😉
The ideal time frame for wedding planning is between 12 to 18 months. But planners are known to be highly adaptable people so even if you only have 3 weeks to the wedding day, they will still be able to provide much value to you if not more. Still, having time on your hand meant that the planner will be able to help you secure your desired vendors and resources for the wedding and you have more time to make decisions.
What You Need When You Meet Them
As wedding planners typically enter your wedding planning journey early on, what information they need will be basic such as your wedding date, venue (if you have already secured it) and perhaps a general idea of how you want the wedding day to flow.
Besides planning the wedding with you, planners will also coordinate the wedding day. They’re after all the ones most familiar with the plans. Just take note that some planners may exclude certain aspects of wedding planning from their scope and will work with partners instead. For example, some may not conceptualise the wedding but work with a stylist or florist who does.
Thank you @day.of.twc for contributing to this portion of the article!
What They Do
Wedding coordinators don’t plan your wedding. They only coordinate i.e. they execute what you’ve planned. It is their role to ensure the wedding plan you’ve painstakingly built is carried out smoothly and accordingly. In order for them to do that, they will want to ensure your plan is sound in the first place as Matilda from Day Of by The Wedding Concepteur explains,
although we only assist couples on the wedding day itself, we work very closely with them to ensure that the wedding day schedule is well thought through – with enough time allocated and buffered for every activity.Matilda, Day Of
A good time frame to hire them would be 3 to 6 months before the wedding day. Once you’ve confirmed their service, you can carry on planning your wedding. The coordinator will typically take on a more active role about 1 month before the wedding while others may enter the scene 3 months prior. When they come into the picture is highly dependent on the coordinators’ preferred style of working, so be sure to ask them when you reach out to them.
What You Need When You Meet Them
The meeting with the coordinator can be divided into 2 parts – at the point of engagement and the time when they take on a more active role in your plan.
At the point of engagement (3 to 6 months prior), give them a general understanding of how your day is going to be like and suss out if you and the coordinator team is a good fit.
At the point where they become active in your wedding plans (1 to 3 months prior), you should go to them with all aspects of your wedding pretty much sorted and confirmed. This includes the list of vendors you’ve engaged, what you’ve agreed with each of them and a good idea of how the wedding day would unfold. The coordinator will then work with you to plan out the best flow of the day and take over the liaison with the vendors from you so that you can leave everything to them on the wedding day. Do your best to convey the plan because the wedding coordinators’ role is to carry out the plans on your behalf.
As explained, wedding coordinators run the day for you. Some coordinators coordinate the entire day from beginning to end while others may set their service hours. Day Of by The Wedding Concepteur takes on a hybrid approach as Matilda explained,
We work on a 10-hour schedule on the wedding day. It really depends how the couple would like to utilise the 10 hours of coordination, but to maximise our coordination hours, we walk through the itinerary with the couple to ensure they are comfortable with our suggestions. Couples usually prefer us to be around starting from their venue set-up. So, for morning activities like gate crash, we work remotely with the couples’ family members and bridal party to ensure everything goes according to plan.Matilda, Day Of by The Wedding Concepteur
Thank you @medkarlek.inc for contributing to this portion of the article!
What They Do
Wedding Stylist are mostly responsible for all the visual aspects of the wedding day as what Samantha of Med Kärlek Inc explains,
we are a design house that specializes in designing the space for your celebrations. It is important to us that the entire venue and theme is consistent so from installations, table pieces and even stationery, we will do our best to make sure that the theme is brought through.Samantha, Med Kärlek Inc.
Samantha highly encourages you to look into a stylist at least 6 months before the wedding because that will give you ample time to get what you need for the wedding. It also gives her team the chance to get to know you a little more so that your personality is reflected in the set up that they will be designing. That said, even if you’re less than 6 months to the wedding day, a stylist will still be able to help you out.
What You Need When You Meet Them
When engaging a stylist, what you will expect is them getting a thorough understanding of your wedding vision. (Even if you don’t have one, their role is to point you towards a right direction!) Having photos of what you want and don’t will help greatly in the process so saved images on Google, Pinterest and Instagram will be your best friend! When you’re able to share what you want even if it’s just a colour scheme, they can provide more tailored suggestions and recommendations to you.
Given that COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, Samantha pointed out that,
If couples have an opportunity to speak to the venue coordinator before meeting team Med Kärlek Inc, it would be useful to find out what the restrictions are (E.g. zoning, decoration, entry point, etc.) so that we can better plan and work out what we can and cannot do on the day of the wedding.Samantha, Med Kärlek Inc.
When it comes to execution, stylists may sometimes produce the floral work themselves. However, they typically also work with a few partnering florists to create their floral pieces. “This allows the team to focus on our client, the design of the space, and the styling.”, Samantha explained. A stylist’s logistics requirement will have to be conveyed to the venue as well.
What They Do
A florist like how the term is defined is someone who works with flowers. In local context, it would refer to the partnering florist that your venue may provide, or you may look for one whose style and artistic direction is what you like. For instance, Elaine from The Flowering Year provides bespoke full service floral styling services for weddings which Elaine explained,
this includes floral installation for shoots and ceremonies, reception flowers as well as bridal personal flowers such as bridal bouquets and boutonnières.Elaine, The Flowering Year
Working with your venue contracted florist may often involve just choosing your preferred arrangement from a set of standard selection. However, working with a florist like Elaine will involve a more in-depth process of developing a mood board from scratch. This mood board will guide the artistic direction and floral design for the wedding.
If you’re planning the wedding yourself, Elaine will be building the mood board with you. But if you’ve already engaged a wedding stylist or wedding planner, the mood board is likely to come from the stylist or planner. In this case, Elaine will work with their mood board, provide her inputs, and create the floral works. She explained that,
working with a planner or stylist lets us focus on the florals while they run the entire concept and curate other styling details such as props and other non-floral decorative elements.Elaine, The Flowering Year
If you’re planning your wedding on your own, try to reach out to the florist at least 4 to 6 months before the wedding. For a couple with a planner or stylist, you can leave it to them!
What You Need When You Meet Them
If you’re planning your wedding on your own, you will need to let your selected florist know what your desired wedding look is. In the case of Elaine, she will:
generally look to clients to provide just one inspirational image that speaks to their aesthetics (can be flowers or non-flowers), or tell us what they don’t like! From there we consider the venue setting and the couple’s personal tastes to craft a mood board for their wedding florals.Elaine, The Flowering Year
Any other information that can give Elaine a better idea of your personality and style is also very welcomed and these as Elaine shared will include,
pictures of the gown and suit as well as the photographer they’ve engaged. Gathering these visual cues will tell me a specific aesthetics they’re going for.Elaine, The Flowering Year
If you already have a wedding planner or stylist, you can just sit back and let them share all about the wedding look with the florist.
A florist’s medium is flowers so they will be the ones in charge of arranging the flowers together. Their logistics requirements will be conveyed to you if you’re planning the wedding yourself and you will have to either pass them along to the venue manager or in some cases link up your florist with the venue manager. Likewise, if you have a stylist.
For someone with a planner, your planner will sort out the logistics with the vendors involved.
There you have it! We hope this gives you a better understanding of how all these roles usually work with each other and they can assist you for your wedding! Please let us know if this has been helpful by sending us a message here or DM us on IG!
Feature image – Photo from Styled Shoot at Ce La Vi, taken by Tinydot Photography, Jewellery by MADLY Gems, Bouquet by Fellow Folks