The Differences Between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Manager (and why you need both!)

Planning for your wedding day can feel a bit like learning a new trade, but knowing the differences between a wedding planner and a venue manager can help you decide which professionals will be best to help create the wedding you and your partner have been dreaming about. And thus, those professionals take away the need for a new skill so you can sit back and enjoy the experience!

As you get started in your planning, let’s take a look at the differences between a wedding planner and a venue manager.

Who or What Are They Focused On?

A wedding planner’s role is focused on the couple. We work with you and support you as a couple ensuring that the wedding is exactly as you’ve imagined it would be. Deciding on budgets and timelines, coordinating invitations, and helping you source the perfect locations and decor – all part of the wedding planner duties.  

On the contrary, often a venue manager is solely focused on anything concerning the venue. It is more than likely that the venue planner will work for the venue. They will ensure payments are up-to-date, guest numbers are finalised and the correct amount of food & drink is ordered. 

Anything that incorporates the planning of the whole wedding will be the responsibility of the wedding planner. We will attend meetings, viewings and tastings with you, taking the role of an experienced best friend, on hand to bring your vision to life (or help you find your vision too).

Once initial contact with the venue is made, the venue manager will show you around, provide prices or packages to choose from and identify which dates are available for your wedding. 

Who Pays Their Fees?

Another one of the differences between a wedding planner and a venue manager is cost. Depending on your needs (and the company you choose), the cost of a wedding planner will vary significantly. Bear in mind that your planner will be involved throughout all of the wedding planning, not just on the day, so this is an investment. A worthy investment!

Usually, the price of the venue manager is included in the wedding venue costs itself. This does vary with each venue, but that is traditionally the way it’s done. 

When Do They Start?

One of the main differences between a wedding planner and a venue planner is communication and the timeframe of that communication.

Wedding planners will be working closely with the couple as soon as they are hired, right up to, and including, the wedding day. This can be a relationship that begins months or sometimes years before the wedding. And the job isn’t done until the wedding is.

Couples will be in constant contact with their wedding planner, whereas communication with the venue planner may be closer to the wedding date. After the initial booking confirmation of the venue, you may not hear from a venue planner personally until a few weeks or months before the wedding date. At this point, they will want to confirm guest numbers, table and chair layouts and any further details regarding the venue coordination. This is something that your wedding planner will take care of on your behalf. If you’ve had a tour or tasting, you’ve likely met this person along the way at the property. But be sure to ask if they are the same point of contact on the wedding day. There is a difference between sales and service and some venues. 

Who Goes to the Wedding?

On the wedding day itself, it is more than likely that both wedding planner and venue planner will be present. They will ensure tasks are completed behind the scene. Again, be sure to ask your venue if there’s a difference between sales and service staff so you know who you’re working with come wedding day. Your wedding planner won’t change. 

Wedding planners will be on hand from early in the morning right through to when the last supplier has packed up. Whereas a venue planner may only be present for part of the wedding day, especially if your wedding takes place in a number of venues. 

In short, in order for your wedding day to be a complete success, you will need the help from both a wedding planner and a venue manager. The wedding planner will be your hand to hold, an organisational whiz, and a creative genius behind-the-scenes. Whilst the venue manager is integral in running your venue on the day with precision, from staffing (if done in-house) to catering (if provided) or simply making sure the venue is providing what it was contracted for. Both are important members of your wedding dream team! You can find out even more reasons why having a wedding planner at your wedding is becoming even more important by visiting my past journal entry.

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O Dwyer Photography, Story of Eve