Types of Wedding Planners

And what does Alena do?

“Not all planners offer design services, and not all event designers handle logistics. Some are more vision-orientated some are more schedule and production orientate.” – Kristin Koch, The Knot


Most couples don’t even know what a wedding planner or coordinator does, especially if this is your first and only time getting married! You won’t know the “wish-you-had-a-planner-blues” until it’s too late!

I can prevent missing important details by looking for holes in the plan. I can perfect the timeline for a smooth and composed day that doesn’t confuse or bore guests. I can conduct everything so you can relax, and breathe, and say “ask Alena”, when everyone starts harassing you about what they need to do next. I can be your “mini-me” on your wedding day. I can ensure wedding pros arrive, with the right stuff, on time, and have the connections to work magic if they don’t. I love day-of direction and partial planning, because I love to collaborate with couples as they plan their dream day. I’m great at stepping back to see the big picture and I enjoy hunting down and helping select the best wedding pros to fit your unique needs and budget. I end up falling in love with my client’s love story and unique wedding vision, and desire to do everything in my power to make it perfect as possible.

BUT- How I can do that varies…. See below!

Day of Coordination ie/ Day of Direction

A Day of Coordinator will be your mini-me on the big day. She will typically organize and coordinate vendors a week or two before the wedding and on the big day, orchestrate setup of 1 or multiple locations, ensure gifts make it home safely, and coordinate everything in between. Her job is to prevent mistakes and ensure everything runs smoothly- throughout.

Alena Swanson LLC offers a Day-of Coordination package including 10 hours of planning for the purpose of keeping in minimal touch throughout your planning process. I like to help at the beginning (9-12 months) when you’re getting started, to help a little with budget and finding the perfect wedding pros. I like to touch base in the middle (6-3 months) and plan a smooth day-of timeline and ensure you’re not struggling with the planning schedule. I love the excitement involved in the very end (1-2 months), when you can finally clock out & remove all the weight from your shoulders and hand it over to your new mini-me! Some brides hire Alena Swanson LLC at only a month or 2 before the wedding and then all the time can be focused into a month-of service, where I can attend all the final meetings with the wedding pros and just look for last-minute holes in the plan! The 10 hours of pre-planning is very flexible, and if you have a super short wedding day, I can customize the time even more!!


Partial or Full Service Planning

Partial and Full service planners can do it all. They can help with colors and budget, logistics and details, overall vision, hiring and finding wedding pros, any & everything wedding! If you have a really complex vision or event, or just want to find a BFF who will hold your hand (professionally) throughout the process, this is the level of service you’ll want to consider!

As you probably can tell, I love partial planning, but I’m not too keen on “full service”. I strongly believe couples should create their wedding vision and be intimately involved in selecting details. (For example, I don’t want to pick your first dance song for you…. but I’m happy to give you a list of popular and meaningful ones to pick from!) I’ve seen wedding planners “take over” and be bossy at weddings. I believe in attracting bees with honey and I strive to be different. I fight that stereotype. I see my skills best utilized from behind the scenes, directing on your behalf.

To be a true partner in your wedding planning, I can be greatly involved and collaborate with only a 40 hour partial planning package. That’s enough to feel confident I will know everything I need to about your wedding, while you focus on writing vows and picking music and take care of DIY things with your besties. I’m thrilled to be involved in every part of planning, ensuring everything matches and comes together smoothly. But, I still believe that’s only hands-on 50% of the time. For example, girls night to tie tags on your favors, can be planned with bridesmaids, and I don’t need to micro-manage that! But, I might join you for margaritas and help out for fun! 😉 I love attending meetings with vendors and helping choose the invitation and I know how to discern value from cost in the wedding industry… but I’m also just as happy to leave all those decisions up to you and your soulmate, and catch up with you lovebirds later.

Wedding Design

An Event or Wedding Designer is more like an interior decorator for your wedding. They take care of colors and look and overall presence and ambiance, but not organization and logistics needed for yourself or other wedding pros. They may partner with your other wedding pros, like a florist or rental company to bring their whole vision to life, or they may provide these things for you. For the down to earth or budget friendly bride, you are probably designing your own wedding and not planning to hire a designer or decorator to do it for you!

I care deeply about ambiance and a wedding flow that matches your love story, but I do not often pick out colors and design events for couples. It’s just not my sweet spot. I know people who ROCK at that, and I leave it up to them. I like to stay in my lane. I live for details and keeping an eye on the timeline to ensure all wedding pros are successful on your big day. I do know what works well and what doesn’t design-wise, and I’d love to attend all the design/decor meetings in a partial planning package (with the centerpiece designer, etc.)! But, I would truly love for you to take the lead on your theme and colors. I believe in leaving flower designs up to the florist and not micro-managing the other wedding pros unless it’s necessary! Still, I can totally help create an awesome pinterest or design board for you- so you can see the vision all in one place! <3

Ps. I designed the budget-friendly rustic centerpiece above. I’m pretty creative, I just want your wedding guests to think “That’s so insert your name here!” 🙂


I hope this helps explain what planners & coordinators & designers can do! In a lot of ways, I’m an expert at being all things to all people, and I must be flexible to fit various wedding styles and couples well, but I do know when we “click” and when we won’t, so if you feel like I’m not the perfect fit for you, don’t be shy! Send me a message and ask me for the best designer or full-service planner in town!

Thank you to Emily Joanne for the beautiful pictures of Helen & Chris’ wedding. This couple hired Alena Swanson LLC to provide a partial planning package. I assisted with logistics, design, selecting vendors, etc…. but didn’t go to the food tasting, bummer! 😉 Most of our planning was done over coffee and macaroons, my fav! <3