Planners & Designers: What’s the Difference?


Wedding planner, wedding designer, florist, full service, coordinator…goodness. All of these terms are enough to make anyone’s head spin. And if you’re engaged and planning a wedding, you’ll come across a dictionary’s worth of more. 

But don’t worry. This post will not be a vocabulary lesson in all things wedding speak. Instead, we’re going to zero in on two: wedding planner and wedding designer. 

Because once you’ve defined your wedding-day vision and it’s time to put those plans into place, you may wonder which of these professionals you need on your vendor team.

If you’re asking yourself questions like:

  • Do I need a planner and a designer?
  • Do I just need a planner and a florist?
  • What is the difference between all of them? 

You’re in the right place! 

Even though there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, today, I’ll give you some insight into what each of these vendors does and how each helps make your wedding dreams a reality.

Wedding Planner vs. Wedding Designer: Is there a difference?

Ask a room full of wedding professionals that same question, and you’ll get different answers. 

That’s why this is such a tricky topic and one that’s hard to answer.   

Here’s the thing. Planners can jump back and forth between planning and designing depending on the client and their needs. Sometimes they are both, and sometimes they are solely planners. 

So you have planners who focus on budgets, vendors and organizing the wedding flow. And you have planners who also incorporate design into their services. They help you decide on and execute a theme and handle the unique concepts and visuals.  

Now, here’s where some might consider this an opinion, but there really isn’t such a thing as just a wedding designer. In fact, I believe we should throw away the term altogether and replace it with Full-Service Florist. Because full-service florists are actually event designers who also provide florals. And they work with a wedding planner on the visual aspect of the event. In other words, what it’s going to look and feel like.

Four Vendors Who Weave Your Design Together

Full-Service Florist/Designer: Help you create a design board and source everything you need to execute that design, including florals, table-top decorations, linens, rentals, décor, etc. Then they tie it all together with one big, beautiful bow. 

Limited-Service Florist: When you book a limited-service florist, you’re really booking a florist. They do not do linens or rentals, or décor. And they don’t source anything for you or your design. They provide the flowers that are part of your design. And an essential one at that.

Wedding Planner/Designer (Logistics & Design): Helps with bookings, logistics, timelines, schedules, and checklists. And also goes the extra mile to weave the design into your overall vision. They will start with the design board and communicate that vision to your Full or Limited-Service Florist and continue weaving the design throughout the process. 

Wedding Planner (Logistics Only): Helps with bookings, logistics, timelines, schedules, and checklists. And typically, they’ll hand off the design aspect to a Full or Limited-Service Florist and will price out selections for you. 

Which One Do You Hire?

As I said at the beginning of the post, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s your wedding. So, it’s your way! Only you can decide what your priorities are. But if in some peculiar universe you could only hire one, I would recommend hiring a wedding planner. 

And friends, this is not because I’m a wedding planner. This is because I’m a wedding planner who knows how important a planner can be. Before, during, and after your day. 

Even if you hire a planner who only focuses on the logistics, they’ll be able to connect you with reputable designers and other vendors who will help you bring your wedding vision to life. 

At JLE, we’re a planning and designing team, so we help you with the logistics and the design vision, depending on what you need. But design is always a part of our process. 

And once we help you articulate your vision, we’ll turn to a trusted florist (full or limited-service) to help us expound on that vision and beautifully bring it to life. 

I hope I’ve cleared up some of the confusion around all of these wedding terms! And if you want to make everything super simple for yourself, head to my inbox, and let me know that you need a planning and designing team to take the lead. We’re ready!

Thanks for reading, friend.

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