Congratulations, you’re getting married! Now it’s time to start planning.
You’ve seen the process in movies and even read through a how-to guide or two. No need to hire a professional wedding planner, right? Wedding planners prices are too high and they’ll probably just get in the way of your plans.
Consider this. There’s the venue, the rings, the gown, the reception. The list goes on and on. Unless you’ve done this before it’s easy to get overwhelmed and even easier to leave things for the last minute, or even forget things altogether. A professional wedding planner would never let this happen PLUS they already have relationships with vendors. Play your cards right and you may even save both time and money.
Average Price Of Wedding Planner
So you’re going to at least consider hiring a professional. That’s a great first step. The next step is to take a look at wedding planner prices to make sure that you can afford it.
How much does a wedding planner cost?
There are several answers to this question.
When you’re shopping around make sure to keep an eye out for the type of charges they offer. Some will charge (sometimes with minimums) by the hour, usually between $75 and $300 per hour. Others charge a flat rate ranging from $1000 to $2500 on average.
It should be noted that this average completely depends on your area. A lot of the Southern States are seeing average total wedding planner costs as low as $2000 while average costs are inflated closer to $4000 in the Northeast.
How is the average cost of wedding planners calculated?
It’s pretty simple. The wedding planner cost is based on the overall cost of the wedding. It makes perfect sense that a wedding with a $200,000 budget has a lot more details to coordinate than a wedding that’s budgeted for $50,000.
Experts say that couples should set aside 15% of their wedding budget to go towards wedding planning.
Of course like any industry there are bargains if you look for them, and there are high-end professionals well-worth the premium.
Now that you have a better idea of what all of this is going to cost you, it’s time to see if you can justify the expense.
Why Do You Need A Wedding Planner?
Wedding planners aren’t just for the rich and famous. Couples of any budget should seriously consider the options.
The two most compelling reasons to invest into the cost of wedding planner are:
Planning a wedding on your own is pretty much a part time job. Do you really have the time in the day to commit 3 or 4 hours? Can you keep that up for 6 to 12 months? Many of us simply don’t have the time, and paying a wedding planner to do the work for us frees us up to focus on our jobs and other commitments that eat up far too much of our time.
On one side, we can’t afford to take time off work. On the other, time spent working makes more money than what you would pay a wedding planner. Rarely does it not make financial sense to hire a professional.
And then there’s the quality of the event. Covering your wedding planning cost means that everything is on time, details are to your specifications, vendors are known and trusted, and they’ve done this 1000 times. They know when to question vendors and how to hold them accountable.
The third is stress.
Less sleep and more stress is the perfect recipe for stress. Between your mother-in-law hounding you over the guest list, going over budget on one item and struggling to make up for it elsewhere, and having to re-do those DIY centerpieces because the glue failed you’re going to be (saying it politely) unpleasant to deal with from time to time.
Not only will you be compromising your mental and physical health – it’s much harder to stay fit and get into wedding gown shape when stress levels are up – you’ll be threatening the stability of your relationship with your future spouse. As much as he or she loves you, putting up with Bridezilla for 12 months is no easy task.
Wedding Planners Packages And Prices
Okay. So you know you need one and you know you can’t afford not to hire a wedding planner.
What do they do for you exactly?
To answer that question you’ll have to set your priorities.
- Do you want to save as much money as possible?
- Do you want a completely hands-off, no stress service?
- Or do you want to keep your hands on the steering wheel, but have the support and guidance you need for a perfect day?
Answer these questions and consider a these popular wedding planner packages and prices.
1. Day-Of: This option is designed for couples who love the challenge of the hands-on approach, but want to make sure that all of their hard work goes off without a hitch on the big day. Because the wedding planner’s duties everything to do with the big day – wedding day timeline, scheduling and managing vendors, theme and decor, guests lists – this is the most popular choice for soon-to-be brides.
2. Partial: A partial wedding planner service is a relationship that starts on day 1 of your planning journey. The average cost of wedding planner for this type of service varies depending on how “partial” you want the service to be and usually comes packaged with a minimum amount of hours. Above and beyond Day-Of services, you can choose help with specific aspects of the wedding.
- Package A – $1500 to $3000: Choose any 3 items from the list we just mentioned.
- Average Package B – $3000 to $3500: A minimum of 48 hours.
- Average Package C – $3500 to $4000: A minimum of 64 hours.
3. Full Service: This wedding planner price list includes everything you assume it to. As soon as your deposit is in, expect to sit down to discuss visions, dreams, tastes, themes and color schemes. From there you can plan on scheduled follow ups to discuss the progress your wedding planner has made and for your decisions on certain options. In short, they take care of everything and make sure you’re always in the loop.
$3000 – $8000 flat rate.
Wedding Planner Service Types
So we’ve come this far. By now you’re probably wondering how this all plays out in real life. We found a few examples from around the country so that you can get a real-world answers to the question ‘how much do wedding planners cost?’
- Shine Event Design: All day-of coordination and organization, plus 3 areas that you specify: $1,850-$2,850
- Event Details by Edelina: Partial planning plus a minimum of 48 hours of coordination activities: $3,260
- Event Details by Edelina: Partial planning plus a minimum of 63 hours of coordination activities: $4,160
- Shine Event Design: Standard services which could be subject to additional fees depending on the level of complexity: $3,200
- InStyle Event Company: Standard full-service wedding planning activities: $5,500
- Event Details by Edelina: 150 hours of planning and coordinating activities: $8,000
Typically you would specify activities ahead of time, and this type of service usually comes with a minimum of 2 hours or more. This style is most popular with couples who are already neck deep in planning activities and realize they need a helping hand.
- Event Details by Edelina: $60/hour
- Shine Event Design: $125 for the first hour and $85/hour thereafter.
These vendors represent the averages that we’ve researched as well as typical combinations and packages. After all, these packages are based on the most popular expectations of soon-to-be couples. If you’re just starting your research, narrow down the type of service that you think you’ll need and use these figures to plan your budget.
How Much Does A Wedding Coordinator Cost
A lot of couples have a lot of friends and family members ready, willing, and able to lend a helping hand. With a dedicated and passionate workforce like this, it simply wouldn’t make sense to hire a full service wedding planner.
A great alternative is hiring a wedding consultant, better known as a wedding coordinator. They are responsible for keeping your entire team’s wedding planning timeline in check and pointed in the right direction. You’ll also be opening up access to their curated list of contacts and vendors.
How much does a wedding coordinator cost? That all depends on how much you’re going to be relying on them. Instead of packaged services, they work around your needs and charge by the hour, $80-$100/hour in average.
What Events Included In Wedding Planning Fees?
Day-of wedding planners don’t stick with you from day 1, but what they do cover are the most important things, and could save you the most amount of stress and time.
- Rehearsal dinner
Your wedding planner will make sure that all of this is coordinated, on schedule, on budget, and make sure that all of the paperwork and fees are accounted for. Rehearsal dinners aren’t usually standard, you may have to pay extra for this.
To keep your average price of wedding planner from being subject to additional charges, you’ll have to keep an eye on your phone calls and emails. The downside to a Partial wedding planner service package is that they typically come with a fixed amount of those types of communication. Couples have a tendency to go overboard when they first hire a planner and use all of their calls in the first few months, and then have to choose between extra fees or no communication.
As long as you can pace yourself everything will be fantastic. Be mindful of how many hours are included in your package and choose from the following categories:
- Wait staff
- Guest transportation and lodging
- Venue and vendor selection
- Organization: Scheduling, paperwork, communication…
- Wedding prep
- Day-of coordination
- Post-wedding tasks
- Rehearsal dinner
While making your choices try to determine where you need the most help, or where the biggest chance for things to go wrong lays.
Most professional planning tips will recommend that you contact them as soon after you’re engaged as possible, and to pay attention to pricing models.
Your wedding is unique. It could be very simple and traditional or super modern and complicated. The wedding planner will do their best to estimate how many hours of their time will be needed to cater to your every need. The categories that you should discuss include:
- Certified Wedding Planner and up to 2 Assistants
- Budget management
- Timelines and setting dates
- Theme creation
- Vendor referral and assistance on visits
- Plans and advice on every part of your wedding day
- Creative ideas to help personalize your day
- Suggestions for centrepieces, wedding favors and bridal party gifts
- Attendance and guidance at wedding rehearsal
- Assist with creation of seating list and placement cards
- Greeting at ceremony & reception, accompanying guests to seats
- Personal touches and surprises
- Overseeing traditions
- Help with toasts, speeches, centrepiece games and kissing games
- Retention, delivery and set up of décor at church and reception,
- Supervision and full coordination at reception
- Emergency kits with many products to take care of any problem that should arise
As you can see, full service packages includes assistance in virtually all aspects of your wedding checklist. If there is another aspect of your wedding that you want your planner to help with, go ahead and ask. For example, wedding planners would be familiar with the pros and cons of certain wedding gown choices and could prove to be an invaluable resource while you’re choosing your dress.
Do You To Tip Wedding Planner?
There’s no need to tip your wedding planner, he or she isn’t expecting it. Just like a doctor or lawyer, they provide a professional service and charge according to their experience and expertise.
The best way to show your gratitude is to leave a review on Facebook, Google, directly on their website, or a 3rd party website that rates and reviews wedding planners. It’s actually an encouraged practice to ask which they would prefer, so don’t be shy.
Regardless of the package you choose and the level of involvement you require, make sure to get everything in writing. It’s mutually beneficial for both you and your wedding planner to completely understand what is and what is not included, what’s optional, and when additional fees apply.
As with everything in life, shop around, check reviews, and have a few conversations before you make any commitments. Your wedding planner will be an important individual in your life for up to 12 months, it’s important that there’s a sense of rapport in this relationship.