Wedding planner – freelance vs venue

south wales weddings
Bethan Davies – accreddited wedding planner

In this weeks’ article we want to share with you the difference between a freelance wedding planner vs a venues wedding planner or coordinator.

Common thoughts for coupes when they see businesses advertising their wedding planning services are;

“I don’t need a wedding planner, the venue has their own wedding planner”.

There is a BIG difference between a freelance wedding planner and a venues wedding planner/coordinator. Let us start by telling you the main difference, a freelance wedding planner works for YOU. They answer to YOUR needs, ensuring every tiny little detail is covered for a completely stress-free wedding experience. A venues wedding planner or coordinator works for the venue, and although many of these planners/coordinators go above and beyond their duties and are amazing at their job, their duties are limited and beholden to the venue.

Read on to find out exactly how these two roles serve you differently.

The freelance wedding planner
Freelance wedding planners have ONE priority and that priority is you! Their passion is to ensure your wedding is bigger, better and more spectacular than you could have imagined. They prepare for every tiny little detail to make sure everything runs smoothly. Their signature service is a full planning package, they are there from day one to organise absolutely everything. With a full planning package, you can expect your freelance wedding planner to be there bright and early on your wedding day. They are on hand for any of your needs right up to when the last guest leaves. You would have spent the last year, at least, with them close at hand assisting and guiding you through every step, making a friendship that will last forever. They are trained to assist you with all aspects of planning your wedding such as;

  • your financial and budgeting plan
  • discovering and designing a unique style to suit your personalities as a couple
  • searching for a venue and bringing you suppliers to fit in with your budget and vision

That’s not all, freelance wedding planners are there to help you with your invites, transportation, accommodation, gifts, entertainment. Think of them as your personal assistant. Many wedding planners also offer alternatives to their full planning package for couples who only need help with specific areas of planning, they will tailor a service to your needs.

The venue wedding planner
The venue wedding planner, you will deal with right at the beginning of planning your wedding, when you chose a venue. They are employed by that venue and work as a salesperson for that venue, a manager for the wedding side of the venue and the main contact person for couples getting married at that venue. Once the venue is booked, it is unlikely that you will hear from the venue wedding planner until a couple of months before the wedding. This is when they will discuss logistics that specifically concern the venue. This could be;

  • timings and schedule of the day
  • any outstanding payments
  • your colours, décor choices and menu, ONLY if they are sourcing this for you

On the day of the wedding your venue wedding planner will be there to ensure everything is set up correctly but will likely leave once the main meal has been served. Many couples have several venues and suppliers involved on their wedding day, for example, the ceremony, photography, wedding breakfast and reception could be at different locations. In this case, it’s your responsibility to liaise between the venues and suppliers. If your transportation is running late, or the flowers are not what you expected, if there is a mix up with accommodation bookings or one of these suppliers cancels last minute…. who will be dealing with all of this?

This leads us on to suppliers.

Venue wedding planners usually work with a small number of suppliers, they have a very small list of companies they will use or recommend because those companies have paid the venue to be on that list, or they offer that venue a commission. Freelance wedding planners don’t work like this.

Freelance wedding planners, especially those who trained with the UKAWP, follow strict guidelines and code of conduct. Part of that code is that any commission received or offered is passed on to the couple. So, in effect, the freelance wedding planner practically pays for their self through the commission, which the couple wouldn’t receive through booking themselves. Freelance wedding planners also have what they call ‘their little black book’, a directory full to the brim of wedding professionals. They work hard and spend a lot of time building their contacts list and making relationships with a substantial number of wedding industry professionals. This allows the freelance wedding planner to bring you in to contact with the best suited team of professionals tailored to your style and budget.

This ties in with our next point – cost.

As already pointed out, most freelance wedding planners pass any commission or discount on to their client. That whole idea that a wedding planner is only for the wealthy is rubbish. Most Freelance wedding planners take a percentage of your overall budget with a minimum charge fee but bear in mind the planner is likely to be getting you discounted prices. This means part or all of that percentage you pay the planner comes out of the money they are able to save for you. The planner will also keep you on track with your financial and budget planning making sure you don’t get carried away and go way over your planned budget.

Don’t make that mistake in thinking that if a venue has their own wedding planner, that you’re getting a ‘free wedding planner’ because you’re most certainly not. Remember, the venue planner answers to the venue and won’t have nearly as much involvement with you as a freelance planner would. They won’t have that close relationship with you, they won’t know anything about your guests apart from the head count, they won’t have any involvement with your family or wedding party and they won’t offer you their commission, a good freelance wedding planner will!

So in conclusion, a venue wedding planner works for the venue and will only be available during set working days and are limited in the services they can offer you. On the wedding day itself they will only be there for part of the day, and they will have a limited number of suppliers for you to use. This is fine if you’re the couple looking for a simple wedding, have no expectations and know they will be pleased however the day turns out. If you love organising and have the time to do it and aren’t to hung-up on the details, then a venue wedding planner may be all you need.

However, if you are the couple who want a spectacular wedding, where every little detail is perfect, or your both busy and don’t have the time or even the patience to organise an event on such a large scale then a freelance wedding planner is a must.
Remember, the freelance wedding planner has a greater invested interest in you as they are working for you and not the venue. You will have a closer relationship with a freelance wedding planner and they will be able to save you time and money, providing you with a completely stress-free spectacular wedding experience from start to finish.


If you would like further information on our wedding or event planning services, then go to our services section of our website by clicking here. Alternatively, why don’t you drop us an e-mail or give us a call to discuss what we could do for you? Go to our contact us section by clicking here, we can then go on to arrange a complementary consultation if you wish.

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