Event Planner vs. Event Designer: WHAT’s THE DIFFERENCE?

Many clients are understandably confused when it comes to making event vendor decisions. A whole host of people can help bring your event dreams to life, but it can be tricky to discern what help is right for you. As the events industry has grown in recent years, what was once an overarching profession of event planning has been slowly divided into a number of specialties – planning, designing and styling – each title referring to a different niche. Today we’ll talk through the differences.



A whole host of people can help bring your event dreams to life, but it can be tricky to discern what help is right for you.


An event planner’s main focus is on the logistical and organizational side of things. A planner is charged with budget tracking, contract negotiations, timelines, vendor referrals and appointments. A planner’s role is to help you plan your event within budget and without any “oops, we didn’t think of that” moments. Your planner is your sounding board and advocate, and most importantly, will ensure that every loose end has been tied, so that your event runs seamlessly.

A planner is not typically tasked with developing the design or aesthetic elements of the event, however, a planner is often responsible for finding the creative mind who will manage these aspects.


An event designer is the idea-maker and aesthetic visionary behind the event. A designer will work with you on everything from selecting a color palette to creating a floor plan, choosing linens, furniture and rentals, creating custom pieces, imagining the floral designs and even developing branding for the event. A great designer will bring new and innovative ideas to the table vs. just gathering and executing looks from existing sources. While the designer doesn’t manage the overall logistics or flow of the event, the designer actively manages all elements and vendors involved in the aesthetic experience. It is important to know that while many designers also offer production services – meaning the actual manpower that brings the designs to life such as building centerpieces or installations, it is also not uncommon for designers to be the creative force developing the concepts and ideas for an event that they will then outsource to another team for production. 

Designers also offer styling offerings will often include collaborating with the photographer day of the event and may include personal styling for the client (and for weddings, the wedding party.) Some designers also offer styling services for photo shoots and interiors.


In reference to events, this often refers to a designer who does not offer production.

Early on in your event planning process, it’s important to realistically identify your own time limitations, strengths, and weaknesses. Knowing what you personally are and are not willing to take on is a big step in identifying what type of outside help would be the best fit for you.



We focus on design and styling. We work in close partnership with some amazing planners

At Gray Sage, we focus on design and styling, and we personally create or source and manage all visual elements of your event. We completely transform your space and ensure every element conveys the story you want to tell. We work in close partnership with some amazing planners and are happy to provide referrals. To find out more about our services, click here.


I hope this post was helpful!

Much love,


Q&AAngela Esposito