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Planner vs Designer

I have been asked several times lately the difference between a planner and designer.  I hope this helps explain the two a bit better.

Planner - A planner is like a chief of staff or an orchestra conductor.  Planners work very closely with each vendor needed to have a successful event.  This includes finding the venue, catering, decor, photography and band but also includes finding hotels, pulling all permits needed, working with security and handling any transportation issues including parking.  The planner formulates the timeline and is responsible for the function to stay on track and move things around if time demands. The planner is responsible for the Big Picture but especially the tiny details. They are the ones you go to for help with a dress, an uninvited guest or any issues that will dismantle an event.  They are the go-to person to make something happen.

Designer - A designer is responsible for the way the event looks from flowers and centerpieces to a lounge area and any props.  They make sure everything flows visually and is responsible for how everything looks to the event guests.  Most designers are part florist and part rental company and they work closely with the client to ensure their "vision" is reflected in the event.  They make sure everything is "picture perfect", matches and is fluid throughout the entire evening for the photographer to capture.

I believe planners can design and designers can plan however I also believe that if you are having a large event you should separate the two functions.  Hire a planner and have them hire a separate designer.  They work very closely together, but this way each can focus on their specialization and not have to function as both.