Planner vs. Coordinator vs. Designer vs. Stylist vs. Creative Director | What is the Difference?
With all of the heartfelt, emotional posts I've been sharing lately, I figured it was time for something a little more academic. Today I want to define some industry terms that often leave many confused and scratching their heads. Ever wondered why there seem to be so many different titles for the people you've always thought to be "wedding coordinators"? Well let me pull the wool back a little and let's chat about what these terms actually mean.
An event or wedding planner is responsible for - you guessed it - planning the wedding or event. Planning implies a full logistical process of careful preparation over a period of time and encompasses much more than merely directing a ceremony or orchestrating details on the day of the wedding. If you're someone looking into event day management for your wedding, then you shouldn't actually be looking into wedding planners, as their services as much more comprehensive than what you seek.
An event or wedding coordinator is not held responsible for planning the wedding. Instead they're merely responsible for coordinating details. This person is someone you might hire to oversee the wedding day or provide "month-of coordination services" to help execute details that have already been previously planned.
A wedding director performs the simple task of directing the ceremony and/or logistics on the wedding day. They have no role prior to the wedding day other than to learn the details that have been planned/coordinated for them to execute. A ceremony director at a church fits this title perfectly.
An event designer's role has very little to do with planning, coordination, or direction. This is a popular title (dare I even say it is trendy?!) in the industry and many young planners use it to describe themselves. There are some planners who are also designers - our company certainly provides a good example of this hybrid approach. More often than not, however, we see a misuse of the term "event design" to describe a planning process that relies solely on other designers (a floral designer, a rental company, a graphic designer, etc.) to develop a creative vision. An event designer or event design team is the person or company that is actively developing or creating the aesthetic design and vision for the wedding.
The term stylist refers to many different roles, such as a wardrobe stylist, personal stylist, hair stylist, etc. In reference to weddings and aesthetics, the term stylist should be defined as someone who styles the wedding, meaning he or she is responsible for creating/implementing a cohesive aesthetic. This is often similar to (or the same as) an event designer. More specifically, a stylist often approaches his/her work with the same eye and attention to detail used in an editorial process.
This is the title I've chosen to most adequately describe my own role in our company. I am an event designer and stylist and actively work with flowers, linens, and different materials to design products, props, and installations - but more than that - before any of those details come into play, I work with our clients to develop a vision. I'm responsible for developing or overseeing the development of all creative content and the entire creative process itself.
Is it possible for one person to hold more than one of these titles? Yes. Absolutely.
Looking for even more? Rhiannon over at Hey Gorgeous Events wrote a great post about all of this last year. Go check it out!