Lindsay and Paul's Seabrook Wedding

Lindsey & Paul’s Seabrook Island Wedding | Photo by Hillary Leah Photography

One of the most important days in your life has come – you are finally engaged! But amidst all the joy and excitement, you may be left wondering, Where do I even begin? With the unpredictable nature of 2021, couples are increasingly opting to hire someone who can help guide them through each step of the planning process. However, with so many options available, it can be hard to narrow down which person is right for you and your needs. Luckily, we are here to help walk you through everything you need to know before the time comes to choose!

Wedding Planner vs Designer: What’s the Difference?


What Does a Wedding Planner Do?

As a general rule of thumb, wedding planners are typically the brains behind organizing and coordinating all things wedding. They are essentially the logistical experts of the industry. Regardless of what you may need, a wedding planner has you covered on almost every front, from the time of your engagement to your wedding reception. The best planners have plenty of industry experience, and typically have a list of trusted vendors on hand. Not only can they help provide you with referrals based on your needs, but they can also help you develop, negotiate, and keep track of all resulting vendor contracts. Wedding planners can also help create a detailed plan and timeline tailored to meet your budget and needs. Your wedding planner will attend meetings, menu tastings, dress fittings, and other wedding-related events to help you make the tough decisions.

Ultimately, they are your right-hand person, helping you take notes and keeping track of your goals. A planner will also arrange and manage your wedding rehearsal, coordinate hotel room blocks, and transportation to ensure you and your guests are covered. Once the big day arrives, your wedding planner will be in attendance to oversee and ensure that everything is running smoothly. This includes everything from coordinating vendor arrivals and departures to resolving any unplanned crisis, emergencies, or conflicts. While some wedding planners may offer design services, others opt to leave those details to a wedding designer—which means you’ll need to hire two professionals to create the day you’ve dreamed of. Be sure to discuss whether your planner offers design services beforehand.

What Does a Wedding Designer Do?

Though wedding designers play a different role in your wedding, they are equally as important. A wedding designer, also known as a wedding stylist, is less focused on the logistics, instead playing a key role in executing your vision. They are architects of creativity, possessing the artistic touch needed to conceptualize a cohesive aesthetic that you will love, whether it be bohemian, whimsical, elegant, or coastal. The real challenge comes in bringing it to life – in every single detail. Luckily, that is just a wedding designer’s specialty.

They make sure that each seemingly minute detail, from lighting and floral arrangements to linens and signage, has a wow-factor that reiterates your theme. Not only can wedding designers provide the guidance you might need in choosing a color palette or bouquet, but they also have the contacts to help source the perfect decor for your wedding. A designer will keep track of every detail, including your floor plan, to make sure the tables and dance floor are well-suited for the room and your needs. And when the big day arrives, they help ensure they are all placed perfectly in place. However, a wedding stylist will not be able to help you with vendor contracts or coordinating other aspects of the wedding, as they are focused purely on pulling together an aesthetically pleasing event.


Which is Right for Me?

Everyone has different needs for their wedding day, and a different budget to spend. While it is possible to hire both a wedding planner and a wedding designer, chances are you will opt for one or the other. Wedding planners typically put in more hours, typically between 75 and 250, due to their high level of involvement outside of just the big day. Depending on whether you choose a full-time, part-time, or destination wedding planner, your costs could be in the thousands, which is often much higher than a designer. It also depends on whether your planner charges a flat-fee or a percentage of your wedding expenditures. Couples tend to enlist of wedding planner for several reasons, including:

  • They can feasibly include a professional planner into the budget.
  • They do not have enough time to plan due to a short turnaround time or a demanding job.
  • They would like to have the least possible amount of planning-related stress.
  • They are having a destination or unique wedding (i.e. farm, museum, etc.).

If organization and coordination are not among your strengths, you will likely want to enlist the help of a wedding planner. Keep in mind that if you are working with a more stringent budget, a wedding coordinator may be your best bet. A coordinator will meet with you 1 to 2 months prior to your wedding (for approximately 25 hours) to review your signed vendor contracts, complete a final walkthrough, and coordinate your rehearsal and wedding.

Alternatively, wedding architects can help you transform any space to create the perfect ambiance for your dream wedding. Wedding designers typically 40 or so hours into the creation and implementation of the aesthetic concept. Soon-to-wed couples typically hire a wedding stylist for the following reasons:

  • They are organized but lack the eye for detail and design needed for the aesthetic.
  • They have a very specific vision that they need help carrying out.
  • They have too many visions and inspirations to narrow down.
  • They prioritize decor and the general ambiance of the wedding over other elements.

Both wedding planners and wedding designers can be an excellent addition to your wedding planning process, as they both have their expertise in unique areas and understand what it takes to make your dream wedding a reality. After all, it takes a village! As you continue to plan your wedding, be sure to give our team at Seabrook Island Weddings a call. Not only can we help you find the perfect wedding venue in South Carolina, but also help you curate a list of wedding vendors and professionals that can help bring your vision to life.

Happy planning!



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