Bride Education

Full Service Wedding Planning Explained | Storybook Weddings and Events

One of the many questions couples ask themselves when planning a wedding is; should we hire a planner? (Pst…the answer should always be yes!) Then the second question is, should we do a wedding coordinator or a full wedding planner? This week, I teamed up with the lovely Nicole Hensley, owner of Storybook Weddings and Events and Storybook Abroad, wedding planning companies based in Chicago and Austin planning weddings locally and worldwide to help explain the difference. 



Wedding Coordination or Wedding Planning? What’s the difference, and what is the best fit for you? 

Hi, Couples! I am so excited to be sharing a highly requested topic on Alex’s blog today. For a brief introduction, my name is Nicole Hensley, and I’m the founder of Storybook Weddings and Events, a planning company local to Chicago, Austin, Miami, and worldwide.

When we first meet with couples, we have an inquiry consultation that allows us to understand the type of services that would best fit them from a planning and coordination perspective. Today, I would love to share the fundamental differences of working with a Wedding Planner for Full Wedding Planning versus Wedding Coordination. 

Let’s break them down.

Full Wedding Planning

Planning is defined as “the process of making plans for something”. Therefore when you inquire with a wedding planning company for wedding planning, you can expect that we will be working with you on discovering your wedding visions, translating those visions into plans, and then taking the lead on making those plans come to fruition.

A Standard Planning Process Should Include: 

  • A Planning Timeline
  • Budget Analysis
  • Sourcing and Vetting Venues and Vendors
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Floor Plan and Decor/Design Development
  • Complete Logistical Planning
  • And long list of many other logistical and creative benefits

Essentially, everything that you need to take your wedding day from “dream” to “reality” is involved in a typical wedding planning process.

Why Do Couples Hire Full Planners?

There are a variety of reasons that couples’ have when choosing to work with a Planner. The most common we hear is that the couple is having a hard time translating their design into a concept that can be executed to their expectations or as career-driven individuals, they would love to have the help from a professional to take off some of the stress and make wedding planning a more enjoyable experience.

Lastly, with full planning, it is expected that the packages include Coordination Services for the day of as well. I mean… how can we plan an incredibly gorgeous day and then not be present to witness and execute it? 

Wedding Coordination

When it comes to Coordination, the most significant difference is that it does not include any of the actual Planning of our couples’ weddings. For coordination only, we leave the planning and design up to the couple. A few months before the wedding, we step in and organize it all.

Every planning company tends to have its preferred coordination timeline, but most often, you will see that Coordination begins about 90 days from the wedding.

A Standard Coordination Process Should Include: 

  • A handover meeting
  • timeline development
  • a final walkthrough at the venue
  • logistical planning
  • vendor coordination
  • and more logistical items

Why Do Couples Hire Coordinators/Day of Management

Most couples who hire coordinators enjoy planning the wedding independently but are not looking to be in charge of vendor management emergencies on their wedding day. They’re looking to pass off the baton to someone else to handle anything that isn’t just simply enjoying the day. 

Most importantly, I think you and your fiancé must determine your goals before you inquire with a wedding planning company. Your engagement should be special and incredibly memorable and equally your wedding day. 

Happy Planning!



Storybook Weddings is a boutique planning firm local to Chicago, Central Texas, and Miami. Founded by Nicole Hensley in 2014, the company has planned hundreds of weddings for couples worldwide. Storybook is proud to be a leader in setting the standards for other planning firms and focuses on four essential components for achieving a memorable and exceptional wedding. Timeless Design | Elevated Guest Experience | Meticulous Planning | Trusted and Collaborative Vendors.


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