Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner

Bridal | Portland Bend Seattle Wedding Planning + Design | Jessica Hill Photography

"If my venue has a coordinator – do I need to hire a wedding planner?" We frequently receive this question from engaged couples and think it is beneficial to understand the difference. So we are going to dive more into the difference between these two very important roles when it comes to planning a wedding and let you decide for yourself!

Venue Coordinators are employed by a venue to plan your event on behalf of the venue. They take care of quite a few details surrounding the space such as making sure the it is well kept, tables chairs, etc. are set according to your event layouts and serving as the contact for everything food & beverage related. When it comes to the wedding day the Venue Coordinator will be there to maintain the venue facility, turn on the lights, prep the venue staff, and oversee any food service. Typically once meal service has commenced, the Venue Coordinator will depart for the evening and appoint a Banquet Captain to supervise the rest of the night. Banquet Captains are commonly prepped on the venue-side of the event details.  We commonly work with Venue Coordinators throughout planning and on the day itself.

Wedding Coordinators (also known as "wedding planners" are hired by you, the bride and groom, and coordinate your event on behalf of you. We work for the bride and groom, which often can include finding your venue, recommending and booking vendors, negotiating discounts,  reviewing contracts, tracking RSVP's and many more services.  Typically Wedding Coordinators offer different packages, which allow you to select the level of involvement and assistance. Regardless of the package selected, leading up to the event a Wedding Coordinator is there working with all vendors, creating a detailed wedding day timeline and scheduling load-in and load-out with the venue. When it comes time for the wedding week itself, below is a list of what you can expect a Bridal Bliss wedding planner to do.

  • Finalize the personalized timeline and confirm all vendors
  • Run the ceremony rehearsal
  • Direct the ceremony processional 
  • Set up all decor and personal items including menus, programs, escort cards, guest book, favors DIY items, etc.
  • Coordinate pinning of boutonnieres and ensuring all VIP's receive flowers
  • Assist with wedding photos and photography shot list
  • Act as the point of contact for all vendors.  
  • Assist the wedding party and guests as needed
  • Distribute final payment and gratuity to vendors
  • Provide a fully stocked emergency kit
  • Deal with any unforeseen hiccups
  • Manage the timing of the entire event to ensure the day runs smoothly.

Both Venue Coordinators and Wedding Planners have important roles. While it might be common for one to think these jobs are closely related – they are vastly different and it is important to understand the differences so there are no surprises throughout planning or the day itself! 


Stephanie + Mark | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | Brittany Lauren Photography | Pearl Catering

Stephanie & Mark are a lovely couple from the Pacific Northwest. Both avid sports fans, The Seattle Seahawks and Sports Center came up in multiple toasts at the reception. The ceremony was held at Roehr Park, overlooking the Willamette River on a smoky day, which created the opportunity for wonderful pictures. The wedding was followed by a lively reception at The Foundry, filled with laughter, pale pinks, and twinkle lights. Between the couples’ lightheartedness, and their clear love for each other, it was a night to remember! | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | Brittany Lauren Photography | Pearl Catering

Photography: Brittany Lauren Photography | Catering: Pearl Catering | Cake: Laurie Clarke Cakes | Cinematography: JAM | Floral: Terri Pearsall | Officiant + Ceremony Music: Family 


Ashley + John | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | The Handmade Fischers | Zest Floral

Ashley and John worked with Elizabeth to plan their summer wedding at Riverhaven Farms. From the beginning Ashley and John had a vision for their wedding, which was to share what they loved so much about the Northwest with all their family & friends. The day of their wedding was a smoky day with summer wildfires taking place in Oregon. While they were hoping for sunshine, the haze created an incredibly beautiful setting. As if a romance filter was put on the entire day and on every picture.

Ashley + John's ceremony took place in a small patch of grass surrounded by old growth trees, looking over a river. One of Elizabeth's favorite details of the wedding was the flowers Ashley carried down the aisle. Zest Floral created a stunning trailing bouquet with jasmine vine and white blooming clematis vine. It was so unique yet the perfect touch for Ashley. 

The reception was beautiful. Guests dined on farm wood tables with greenery running down the center. Each table had fun accents throughout the flowers including small bowls filled with colorful plums. After dinner guests enjoyed a Whiskey tasting hosted by Devils Food, showing off some of John's favorite spirits. 

20150822-AshleyJohn_Wedding-269.jpg | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | The Handmade Fischers | Zest Floral | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | The Handmade Fischers | Zest Floral

Photography: The Handmade Fischers | Floral: Zest Floral | Catering: Devil's Food Catering | Cake: Dream Cakes | Transportation: Lucky Limousine + NW Navigator | DJ: Paradox Productions


Claire + TJ | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | Ellie Asher Photography | Christopher David Floral

You know it's going to be a show stopper when the bride wants a fun, boozy brunch wedding and she is going to wear a floral Carolina Herrera gown. Do we need to say more? Claire and TJ worked with Elizabeth and pulled out all the stops for their amazing brunch wedding. Oregon Bride Magazine even took notice and featured it in their 2016 Resource Guide!

As guests arrived they were greeted by the voodoo donut van and champagne. The bride wowed all the guests when she walked down the aisle wearing a one of a kind Carolina Herrera gown. It was a show stopper. 

After saying I do in one of Portland's best secret gardens, Claire and TJ treated their guests to a fun brunch with custom boards, a menu that included chicken & waffles and dessert towers that we filled with the couple's favorite desserts. While dinning, guests enjoyed a 20 piece band by Art Abrams Swing Machine that turned into dancing the day away. | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | Ellie Asher Photography | Christopher David Floral

Photography: Ellie Asher | Art Abrams + The Swing Machine | Floral: Christopher David | Makeup: Sara Biria | Cake: Beaverton Bakery | Officiant: Father Kevin Yell | Cinematography: JAM Media | Transportation: Double Decker PDX | Donut Truck: Voodoo Van


Tara + Web | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | Jos Studios

Tara & Web are the kind of couple that you instantly become friends with and their coordinator, Meghan, had so much fun getting to know them as they planned their wedding. To celebrate Tara and Web invited their friends and family from all over the world to Plaza Del Toro for a cocktail-style reception. Guests were greeted upon arrival with sparkling Rose and oysters before gathering for the ceremony. Their guests surrounded them in an intimate ceremony officiated by two of their very best friends. Plaza Del Toro's Chef, John Gorham, started off dinner with inventive small plates and gradually worked into an impressive and delicious selection of meat dishes that had been slow cooking all day.  Their guests even got to experience a true Portland experience, their out of town guests, the naked bike ride happened to end just blocks away- the guests loved it, adding to an the evening one that won’t be forgotten! | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | Jos Studios

Photography: Jos Studios | Photo Booth: HappyMatic | Floral: Botanica | Ceremony Music: Jordan Harris | Reception Music: DJ Waffle


Bridal Bliss Team Shoot | Portland Seattle Bend Wedding Planners | Mosca Studio

Attempting to sync schedules of eighteen busy wedding planners is not an easy feat!  Thankfully we figured out a day that worked and spent a Sunday afternoon getting pampered and taking Bridal Bliss team photos at Really Big Video!  Anna's Bridal and Face Body Beauty made us all feel gorgeous while Mosca Studio + Moving Picture Weddings shot the day.  Classic Vintage Rentals, Zest Floral, The Party Place and Chad Dowling Productions set the stage for or stunning backdrops! | Portland Seattle Bend Wedding Planners | Mosca Studio | Portland Seattle Bend Wedding Planners | Mosca Studio

After all the photos + video interviews had been shot...we decided to have a little fun (no surprise with this group)!  Flip cup in formal gowns? Why not! This was such a fun day--big thanks to everyone who made it happen!

To learn more about each of our talented team members, CLICK HERE!


Mikaila + Jace | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | Time Newman Photography | Bella Bloom Floral

When Mikaila & Jace asked Meghan to be their coordinator, she was thrilled to be a part of their big day. Mikaila & Jace met in high school and were friends before they started dating. The two are incredibly artistic and knew they wanted to incorporate Mikaila's love of watercolor into their event with a sunset palette full of corals, pinks, oranges, and grays. As they entered Abernethy Center, guests signed a handmade guest book painting that they water-colored and signed their name in a square. Bella Bloom added a pop of color to the ceremony and reception with beautiful arrangements in hand-painted watercolor mason jars made by Mikaila and Jace. Surrounded by so many friends and family, the two were married in Abigail's Garden and the love of this couple was certainly felt throughout their ceremony. After a cocktail hour filled with corn-hole and folk music, guests made their way into the tent for dinner. Dinner concluded with an epic sing off toast by Mikaila and Jace's sisters. Guests made their way to the lawn for a balloon send off prayer and contra dancing with the Rich Goss BandJace then surprised Mikaila with a choreographed dance with his groomsmen that got the whole crowd on the dance floor. What a night!

Photography: Tim Newman Photography | Photo Booth: Tess Miller | Cake: JaCiva's | Cinematography: Couture Motion Pictures | Floral: Bella Bloom | Reception Music: Rich Gross


Kelley + Kent | Portland Wedding | Oregon Event Planning and Design | Ben Pigao Photography | Blum Floral | Classic Vintage Rentals

Kelley & Kent just knew they had to get married in Kent's parents backyard, because it was the place Kelley fell in love with Kent. With picture perfect views of downtown Portland and a little rain, their wedding day will be one to remember. Meghan coordinated their wedding day with a stellar team of vendors. Ben Pigao captured the feeling of the celebration perfectly. The Metcalf's worked to transform their backyard into a beautiful garden that was decorated with farm tables and vintage decor from Classic Vintage Rentals and floral arrangements from Blum Floral and Design. Guests enjoyed a leisurely cocktail hour, delicious dinner, and after dinner cigar and bourbon bar by Devil's Food The celebration continued into the night with live music from Ty Curtis and his band who keep the guests dancing. 

Photography: Ben Pigao | Rentals: Classic Vintage Rentals | Band: Ty Curtis | Floral: Blum | Catering: Devil's Food | Makeup: The Prettiest You | Bathrooms: Luxury Restroom Trailers | Cake: La Jaconde | Photo Booth: Happymatic | Ceremony Music: Ariel Consort | Transportation: Double Decker PDX