Planners...does your business title encompass all that you do? As a business owner, are you labeling your wedding/event business roles correctly?
As our planning industry has grown, so have our titles! The all-encompassing title of 'wedding or event planner' has been divided into planner, designer, stylist...each referring to a different niche of the industry. However, it is crucial that we clearly understand the difference so that our clients can be educated, as well, and so that we can better define our own work in the planning and design fields.
New event planning professionals entering the industry: before advertising your company, know what the correct title of your business role should be, according to your services.
Experienced event planning professionals: label your talents correctly and price your services accordingly! Get your full credit for your abilities and experience and get paid for those abilities! If you have employees, ensure that you label them with the correct role!
So...are you a wedding/event coordinator, planner, designer, stylist, or creative director? As previously mentioned, there are HUGE differences in these titles...so be accurate with the title you give yourself. My goal in this article is to ensure you understand the difference in the titles and are titled correctly or rename yourself to fit your role!
A Wedding/Event Coordinator or Consultant
The coordinator is for the couple or host who wants to do it all themselves! Coordinators put approximately 25 hours into the event and usually step in four to eight weeks before the wedding/event. The coordinator is not involved in early planning. He or she handles the month-before logistics such as confirming vendor contracts, creating timelines, confirming payments and guest counts. He or she does a final walk-through of your venues, ensures you have all the right vendors, manages your rehearsal, and oversees your event weekend! The coordinator makes sure everything you have already planned is sound and in order!
The coordinator is for those couples/hosts that are organized, detail-oriented, have obtained all of the vendors themselves, and possibly don't have the budget for a full-service wedding planner.
A Wedding/Event Planner
The planner takes care of all the logistics! He or she is the logistical strategist and organizational mastermind of events! Planners are involved in every organizational aspect of your event, such as vendor referrals, initial contract negotiation, and keeping track of your budget. Planners typically put 80 to 250 hours of time into your event. Planners will typically schedule and attend all of your vendor meetings, attend site tours, and menu tastings, and arrange hotel blocks. Her or his sole task is to direct the ceremony and the logistics of your wedding day. He or she will manage your rehearsal and oversee all details of your wedding/event day. He or she will ensure your wedding is smooth and stress-free for you during the process...from beginning to end.
Planners require a larger budget for the couple/host. Hire a planner if you want the least stress level possible, have no free time to plan for yourself, have no idea where to start planning, have a short time-frame, or are having a complex wedding with multiple events, a destination wedding/event, or if you're using an unusual venue.
Some planners offer event decor design or stylist services, while others contract these duties out to a wedding designer and/or stylist.
A Wedding/Event Designer
The designer is focused on the look of your event, not the contract negotiations, vendors, or timelines. Designers will have in-depth knowledge of colors, fabrics, decorative elements, entertainment, and music. The designer must have the technical skills that correspond like lighting, sound, staging, and rigging. He or she must be comfortable using an event design software to help clients visualize their event.
A brilliant wedding/event designer will ensure there are focal points to capture the guests' attention. Event designers specialize in design, floor plans, light designs, linens, furniture rentals, and possibly attire. The designer truly transforms the entire space and creates the vision of the couple/host. The designer generally puts about 40 hours into the event.
The wedding/event designer creates the 'stage' from the couple/host's vision! The designer provides color choices, obtains the right special props and equipment, and creates detailed floor plans. He or she will oversee the decor budget, ensuring that the right vendors are in place for stationery, flowers, rentals, and lighting.
A Wedding/Event Stylist
The term 'wedding/event stylist' was mainly associated with celebrity or platinum weddings, until recently. This title has become more prevalent within the last five years. A stylist is someone who 'styles' the event and is responsible for creating a cohesive look. The role is very similar to an event designer. However, the term 'stylist' usually refers to a designer who does not offer production of the final product--just the vision. The stylist looks at the vision with an 'editor's eye'...making tweaks to ensure everything matches or fits.
Many event planners double as stylists; however, there are now more companies that specialize in styling events, especially weddings. While planners cover everything, stylists focus on creating a backdrop for the event! Hiring a stylist will ensure your event will look polished from beginning to end.
Recently, you may have seen this title appearing more and more among our peers! This position takes on the role of an event designer and stylist--actively working with flowers, linens, and different materials to design products, props, and installations--but before that, he or she works with the clients to develop a vision. He or she is responsible for developing the entire creative process!
The following two are pretty simple...they are additional titles given to you by business owners you work for in the wedding/event industry:
A Wedding/Event Director
Most venues and churches have a position that fits this title. Her or his sole task is to direct the ceremony and the logistics of your wedding day in their venue.
The wedding director is not involved in planning the wedding. They have little or no role prior to the wedding day other than to schedule your date and confirm your wishes in their specific venue. Unfortunately, many couples do not hire a planner if their ceremony and/or reception venue has its own director.
Many corporate planners in our industry serve under the title of this role. Event managers work for companies and plan and organize promotional, business, and social events. An event manager is a person who plans and executes the event, taking responsibility for the creative, technical, and logistical elements. This includes overall event design, brand building, marketing and communication strategy, audio-visual production, logistics, budgeting, negotiation, and client service. The event manager is not responsible for event operations at the rented venues, but will monitor all aspects of the event on site.
Event Managers manage the whole process from the planning stage, right through to running the event and carrying out the post-event evaluation. The role is primarily hands-on and often involves working as part of a team.
As business owners, so many of us take on the role of more than one of the business owner titles listed above. Is it possible for one professional to hold more than one of these titles? ABSOLUTELY...and most of us do!
Our role as 'the wedding/event planner' combines our psychological diplomacy, practical artistry, clear and concise communication skills, time management, and creative skills! If wedding/event planner is the title you chose, make sure you lists all of your services on your website, especially if they include event designer and stylist services!