Wedding Wisdom™

How Do Wedding Planners Charge For Their Services?

12/3/2015 by Deborah McCoy

Wedding Planners Have Three Pricing Options: One: Consulting

You may decide to become a wedding planner. So how will you charge for your services? There are basically three options. The first is a fee paid to the wedding planner/consultant for a consultation, or you may develop a “consulting package” that features basic information to share with your clients:
  • A wedding planner/consultant will charge an hourly fee, or a “package” fee to a client for advice including referrals for wedding vendors/venues, contract advice, seating advice, time-line, etc. It’s basically involves a meeting, paid hourly, or as many as the client desires, to answer their wedding questions and to get professional wedding advice.

  • So how will you charge? There are two factors: The experience of the consultant and their “name”. And the second is demographics. In other words, do you live in New York City or Camden, Alabama? You’ll charge more for your services in NYC than Camden (due to a higher cost of living)

  • For a consultation, therefore, you may charge anywhere from $20 per hour, to upwards of $100 per hour depending upon where you live and your experience and name. Or you may offer a “consulting package” to your clients that may cost from a few hundred dollars to about $1,500 on average.

Wedding-Planner Pricing: Option Two: Day-Of Wedding Planning

Many brides hire “day-of” wedding planners to assist them with their day. In my opinion, they are a must! No bride should be without one.

A day-of planner will ensure that the vendors arrive on time and that things run smoothly. They will make sure the “time-line” is followed (as close as can be) and support the bride throughout the day. They will orchestrate the processional/recessional and the “introduction” of the bridal party—and act as mediator between the bride, groom and their families and the vendors/venue—so that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

You will charge a few hundreds dollars for day-of wedding planning/consulting, up to $1500 or more. Once again, it depends on where you live and the experience you have. It also depends on the size of the wedding and whether the wedding planner/consultant would require an assistant, which means your price would be higher.

In Summary: A day-of planner frees the bride and her mother of responsibility for the day and permits them to thoroughly enjoy the wedding and reception. It also gives you, the wedding planner/consultant the opportunity to learn the business from the ground up. I advise all my future wedding planners/consultants to start their careers, after taking the time to get certified), with day-of wedding planning/consulting services, only.

Wedding-Planner Pricing: Option Three: Full-Service Planning/Consulting

This service is for the bride-to-be who wants complete direction and help when planning her wedding with advice from the planner/consultant on every aspect of her wedding.

The wedding planner/consultant will refer vendors and venues, help with color coordination, menus, seating, etiquette, and proper invitation wording. They will also give contract advice (but will not negotiate contracts), and meet with the referred vendors/venues with the client for color selection, for example, and tastings.

Day-of wedding planning may also be included with this package, although some charge additionally. Once again, what you charge for this type of wedding planning/consulting depends on where you live and your experience and ”name”.

For example, on average, you will charge about $3,700 for a wedding planning/consulting services if you live in heavily populated areas (major cities) in the U.S. and about $2,600 in more rural areas. Either way, you can make money!

Why Do Brides-To-Be Need YOU a Wedding Planner/Consultant?

Let’s start with this premise: The average cost of a wedding is about $30,000 (according to “the Knot”).  

Now if you were to invest $30,000 in the stock market, without any knowledge of the market or any expertise, would you do so without an investment banker or professional? I don’t think so. That wouldn’t be a smart move.

Why is a wedding any different? Unless a bride-to-be has planned weddings before, how do they know what they involve? Which vendors/venues are honorable? How to order liquor so they don’t get ripped off? Or how to negotiate the “guarantee” to their best advantage etc.?

Just like the stock market, if a bride-to-be doesn’t know what she’s doing when she tries to plan her wedding, she can lose a lot of money. But a wedding doesn’t give her latitude. If there are mistakes made, she can’t host another wedding the following weekend.

Moral of the Story: Brides must hire a wedding planner whether for the advice you can give them; or to make their wedding day run smoothly; or to take them through the wedding-planning process step-by-step, elegantly and effortlessly.

It’s up to you to make sure that you get the right training necessary, and the experience, to become tops in the wedding-planning/consulting industry! And the AAWP and I are here to work with you to ensure that happens!

Happy Weddings!

Deborah McCoy
American Academy of Wedding Professionals

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