The difference between a Wedding Planner, Event Designer, Banquet Manager and other Wedding Professionals

Understanding the difference between a wedding planner, event designer and banquet manager can be completely confusing to anyone not in the wedding industry.  And then on top of that there are so many other professionals that help make a wedding day possible – Who are they and whatever do they all do? We’re gonna make this super easy for you understand and give you a breakdown of the most common wedding professionals, their job title, and the responsibilities and talents associated with each of them.

wedding planner, event designer, banquet manager, wedding professionals

Wedding Planner

A wedding planner is in charge of the organization of and overseeing the entire wedding plan.  He or she is an expert in wedding coordination, budget planning, and has developed relationships with the best wedding professionals in your area for your style and budget.  Your wedding planner is in charge of handling all of the details of your wedding from vendor management to seating charts and month and day-of-coordination.  This pro has spent a ton of time developing personal relationships with local wedding professionals (florists, emcees, rental companies, officiants, etc.) and can also often get you discounts or add-ons.  From month-of coordination to personalized one on one guidance every step of the way, a wedding planner will usually customize his or her services to best meet your needs.  At Best Day Ever Hawaii, wedding planning is the core of what we do though we also specialize in event design.  We understand that each couple is completely unique and different and mold each of our packages to fit your personal style and budget. As you get a little further into the planning process, you will come to understand that a wedding planner is often your best advocate, when booking all vendors, venues, and with all details. Our main goal is to represent you to the best of our ability. We strive to get you the best deals and make the most of your budget all the while keeping in mind your big picture… what is your “dream wedding”? We want to ensure we bring your vision to life.

Event Designer

While a wedding planners strength in the logistics, detail handling, organization and budget planning, an event designer shines in designing the aesthetics of your wedding.  Put simply, this is where the ‘wow’ factor comes in.  An event designer doesn’t just refer you to florists or stationary designers, but has the ability to create things from scratch.  Here at Best Day Ever, we have both a wedding planner and event designer on staff. Complete event design begins with a design consultation which we will meet and discuss your vision.  We will narrow down your theme and ideas and then create a vision board for you which will outline exactly how we can bring your ideas to reality.  Event designers create a “Look and Feel” to your wedding and make sure all visual aspects evoke a feeling, create a flow and set a overall “feel” to the event.  If you’re envisioning bridal table on the beach with sheer fabrics, seashell centerpieces, lit by a warm glow of candles and glass chandelier, an event designer is the one who can make this a reality.  A great event designer has all of the tools and knowledge to pull together the details that will make your dream wedding a reality.  They will do all the research in figuring out where to get the best props, what can be made from scratch and what can be rented, and then oversee the execution of the final production. Event design is a skill that not anyone can do, be sure to check your event designers credentials before moving forward and hiring them.  Event designers must be very design and detail oriented, a perfectionist in their craft, and should have a binder or portfolio of design samples.

Ceremony Site Coordinator

Ceremony site coordinators work for the ceremony site or church.  Their job is to make sure the ceremony site rules are implemented.  When getting married in a church or chapel here in Hawaii, there is often a chapel coordinator who’s role is very essential to your big day.  So what does a ceremony site coordinator do? Their duties would generally include, going over all the details of the chapel (where to enter, where the speakers are, how guests will be seated, directing you and your bridal party to the right room to wait for the ceremony to start, making sure no candles are lit, no smoking is allowed, etc.  Your ceremony site coordinator will also assist with directing guests into the proper place and will work directly with your wedding planner, to oversee and execute your ceremony while ensuring ceremony site rules are met. Put simply – your ceremony site director is there to ensure the chapel or church is respected and left in good condition and all rules are abided by.  Your wedding planner is there to oversee and coordinate the actual ceremony.

Reception Site Coordinator (Banquet Manager)

A reception site coordinator is often a salesperson working on behalf of the venue.  Generally the receptions site coordinator is in charge of booking weddings for the venue and ensuring that the venue’s rules are abided by.  They also will work with you to ensure that you receive all necessary paperwork before the big day.  Reception site coordinators are often also referred to as “banquet managers” or “event coordinators”. Reception site coordinators at hotels are usually on-site on your wedding day, making sure the linens on the tables and covers on the chairs match your order, silverware is set up properly and food comes out at the right time.  They oversee the wait staff and are your go-to person when dealing with any hotel or catering questions.  Although most reception site coordinators are not trained and accredited wedding coordinators, some actually are.  Though they typically won’t help you secure your other wedding professionals, they will often hand you a list of wedding professionals who have done weddings there in the past.  Sometimes the venue gets a referral fee for these vendors, and sometimes they don’t. Reception coordinators or banquet managers don’t handle vendor coordination on the day of, favor set up, centerpiece set up, distribution of final payments, organization of guests, ceremony set up or execution, music cues, slide show set up, timelines, seating charts, sign in tables – or anything along those lines.  They basically manage the hotel staff and ensure everything that comes with the venue is managed properly.


A florist is a professional who creates floral arrangements for a variety of events such as holidays, birthdays, and weddings.  Most florists operate out of a storefront or warehouse and have a space for you to visit to see their samples.  Although some florists have taken professional floral design classes, most have been taught by other professionals and some are self-trained.

Floral Designer

A floral designer specializes in designing floral arrangements and floral set-ups for larger scale events, such as weddings.  Floral designers generally do not do smaller events such as birthdays and holidays and rather focus all their attention on weddings and other large scale events.  Floral designers usually have some sort of design background and are professionally trained in floral design.  They are very detail oriented and experts in what they do.  They usually cost a lot more than a typical florists.  Many have participated in design competitions and have built a name around their art.  Floral designers specialize in ‘wow’ factor of flowers and work directly with your event designer to create an overall “look and feel” for your event.


Caterers play a super important role in your wedding, well that’s obvious right? But what exactly do they do and what are they really responsible for?  Caterers work with you to put together your ideal menu.  They can assist with customizing food and ensuring that the timing and presentation of each dish flows nicely throughout the event.  Although at first glance it seems you usually are just hiring one caterer, the truth is you are in fact hiring an entire catering team.  The catering team is in charge of ensuring that the food comes out at the right time, is served properly and presented well.  The catering team, though amazing at what they do, does not specialize in setting up the design elements, handling your timeline of your event or securing discounts for you with other wedding professionals.  A few do, however, suggest a list of professionals they have worked with in the past and some even assist with table set up though rarely do they assist with breakdown.  This is left to your wedding planning crew.  Well, what about hotel catering managers? The answer is basically the same except – that the hotel catering crew does assist with breakdown of the tables, chairs and linens.

wedding planner, event designer, banquet manager, wedding professionals

I hope this helped clarify some of the misconceptions about wedding professionals.  Each job is unique and different (yet completely essential to creating a beautiful wedding) and each professional has their own set of talents.  Often couples unknowingly assume one fo the above professionals will handle a much larger responsibility (combining multiple roles or jobs into one) … which can result in details getting lost or miscommunicated. We strive to make sure this never happens. After all, weddings are a Big Deal! and we do always want to ensure you do indeed have nothing less than your “Best Day Ever”.

Got questions or comments? Please leave us a note:)

xoxo, Hawaii Wedding Planners ~ Best Day Ever Hawaii

Original post idea was from the Bonafide Bride : A great resource for wedding info and bride and groom advise! Photos courtesy of One Plus One Photography.

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