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Part 3 – Planner, Coordinator, or Designer?

Part 3 - What is the difference between a planner, coordinator, and designer?

The last piece to the puzzle is probably one of the most challenging to understand but the most important. The people that “plan” your Wedding can be called a variety of things and it is important to understand the difference between them and how they can best assist you.Father of the Bride (the remake 1991) began our love affair with marriages and the quirky, unique industry of planning Weddings. When Jennifer Lopez starred in the Wedding Planner ten years later, suddenly, courses in Wedding planning sprung up across the country as many were caught up in the moment thinking it was glamorous and easy. What the movies (and televisions shows) neglect to disclose is that it isn’t just waltzing into a space and coming up with a fabulous idea of flowers and decor. For a truly successful event you need to realize that every single element involves not just planning but a master design to pull together all of the different elements to make the day successful.

When you consider the role of a coordinator or planner, most of the time the extent of their services are merely filling in the blanks with suggestions that fit the space. For instance, if you want a DJ they may just go through the list of their preferred partners forgetting the key element of the process – every couple is different. If you understand that every couple is unique and has a different perspective to share than you must also realize that just because ABC DJ has worked with you before and has done a great job does not mean they are right for everyone. This is one of the biggest pitfalls I have seen both novice and professionals get stuck in. With Weddings and Events one size does not fit all and if you want a customized experience you need someone who really understands the elements of event planning and design.

As an instructor for the Wedding Coordination and Design course at the International School of Hospitality I am involved in teaching the process management of what is needed to be successful in the industry. What many students and even industry professionals forget is that design begins from the very beginning of the process – and coordination can only occur once the design phase is complete.

Designing is more than randomly collecting the basics Wedding Professionals to fill in the blanks. When teaching aspiring Wedding Planners there are two examples I like to use when referring to designing an event. The first is the “Mad-libs” which you may have had as a kid. Sure, your word fills in the “blank” ( just like a DJ or florist) but the selection doesn’t always make sense with the rest of the sentence. The second example is standing in a closet of designer clothes and getting dressed with your eyes closed. Each element alone may be exquisitely tailored and high fashion, but just throwing them together without understanding what works together does not make the perfect outfit.

In the past few months I have seen more Wedding Planners start to talk about “design” as the new catch-phrase in the industry. While many think design and décor are synonymous, they are mistaken. Designing events is like composing a new symphony, designing a house, or creating a signature culinary dish for a celebrity chef. You need to understand how each element works together harmoniously based on the needs of the audience. It is about creating the emotional content of the space, incorporating elements which tantalize all of the senses, and give you goose bumps by just being there.

When we launched JMT Eventology we had a lot of puzzled looks from both Wedding professionals as well as couples as to what we were really all about. After all, Las Vegas Wedding Planners have been doing a decent job for the past ten years, so what why were we talking so much about design? But the mere fact that so many people weren’t sure of what we were about demonstrated the absence of the design approach to planning – and the opportunity to do something very different in the market.

What sets us apart as a team is our experience and expertise in catering, event management, and hospitality design. Our team has designed menus and events, planned conferences, and even award winning hotel rooms, restaurants, night clubs, and public spaces in Las Vegas as well as across the country. We know that every element of your event needs to work symbiotically to create something truly stunning from start to finish. Our goal is to create an event that is perfectly tailored and as unique as each client we work with. So if you want a custom designed Wedding from start to finish check out JMT Eventology for more information!

Yours in design …

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