Is There a Difference Between Wedding Officiants and Wedding Planners?

To my surprise I've recently discovered some people believe a wedding officiant also doubles as a wedding planner. If there is not a wedding planner or coordinator hired to facilitate the logistics of a wedding and its vendors oftentimes everyone looks to the officiant to organize and step in to take charge of the flow of the ceremony.

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Is this okay? No it isn't.

The planner/coordinator is involved early on in the planning stages, often times several months before the ceremony date. The planner/coordinator helps to secure other vendors, maintains contact and follow up with vendors, assists the couple in making decisions concerning the wedding, create a timeline for the rehearsal and day of the ceremony, and is ultimately the project manager for the wedding from start to finish. They should be extremely organized, able to delegate and resolve unexpected issues quickly. Planners and coordinators will often have a team or at least an assistant depending on the size and complexity of the wedding. 

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The wedding officiant, on the other hand, has very limited or no involvement with the project management of the wedding. The officiant is responsible for marrying the couple, signing the marriage license to make the marriage legal and filing the marriage license with the county clerk. 

There is also a very different fee structure for a planner/coordinator vs an officiant. In my area of Houston, Texas I've seen planners start there fees at $650 and up. I've seen officiants start there fees at $50 and up! There have been times that I've been asked to step into the role of a planner on the day of the wedding because one wasn't hired. This really bothers me and makes me feel taken advantage of as an officiant because the cost to officiate is so low (the lowest expense of the entire wedding) vs the cost to hire a planner. So please - hire a planner or at least a DOC (Day of Coordinator) to assist on the day of the wedding. 

~ Kim