The Difference Between Event Designer, Event Planner & Day-Of Coordinator
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
YAY! It’s time to plan your big day! Whether it be a birthday, wedding, mitzvah or “just for fun” party, you already know who you want to celebrate with, but who’s behind the scenes? No matter what event, you need a creative and hard-working team around you. Next thing you do is google event planners, right? The answer, honestly, is maybe. The three main services that can help you with your event are event designer, event planner, and day-of coordinator. You can hire just one of them or all three.
So, when should you use a designer, planner or coordinator? It all depends on how much you enjoy being involved.
Event designers exclusively focus on the visuals of an event. They create or curate the look and feel of an event through invitations, decor, styling and venue transformation. Whether you have no idea or have a very specific theme, they will guide you through and give you options for each visual aspect of the event, from the Save the Date to your goodbye favors and everything in between. An event designer will execute all your ideas into visual details that make up the big picture.
When to hire an event designer: If you love the big picture but need a little help with the details. They let you focus on the things you’re excited about like hiring food and entertainment vendors and organizing behind the scenes and then they take care of the rest. This option works best for those that want a little help but don’t want to break the bank as there are usually many different pricing options and packages to choose from.
Full-Service Event Planner
A full-service event planner is essentially a professional multi-tasker. They will execute every aspect of the event including budgeting, finding vendors, negotiating with vendors, advising the hosts, and ensuring it goes smoothly the day-of the event. They focus on establishing the big picture and ensuring all the hired vendors supply their piece of the picture. They should provide you with tools that will help you make big decisions regarding the flow and organization of your event. They often work with or hire an event designer and/or day-of coordinator.
When to hire a full-service planner: If you love all the details, but hate dealing with logistics. This way, you only have to communicate what you want to one person and they will put all your ideas in motion by hiring and organizing all the vendors. This option comes at the most cost, but relieves the most stress.
A day-of event coordinator gets involved much later in the process. They usually have little to do with the big picture or vision of the event, but rather focus on the logistics and ensuring the day runs smoothly. You should ideally retain or reserve the coordinator well in advance, based on how far in advance they take on clients, but ultimately begin working with your day-of coordinator only a few weeks before the event. You, your planner and/or designer will supply them with a timeline of events, decor plans, and vendor information and then they take over for the day. They will be your liaison between any issues that may arise and ideally handle it themselves unless it requires your direct attention.
When to hire a day-of coordinator: If you’re all about the big picture and the details, but just want someone else to make it happen. We highly recommend hiring a day-of coordinator pretty much no matter what. They take the stress away from you on your special day and not only solve problems when they arise, but also have training to prevent problems before they happen. If you’re working with a tight budget, our tip for you is to assign an organized family member or friend to act as the point person for the day-of duties.
If you are not as particular about or honestly just don’t enjoy party planning, you’ll want to get all three so they can take responsibility, work together, and create or curate your event from start to finish. Then, you can just relax and enjoy your big day.
Photo by Amy Shamblen