How Much Does a Wedding Planner Cost?

Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Planning a wedding is a challenge for those without experience. In this domain, you need organizational skills, business flair, and strong negotiation techniques. Here, the role of the wedding planner comes into play.

They provide a large scale of services, from planning your entire wedding to a more limited role, like supporting and coordinating your wedding day.

Some brides prefer to maintain maximum control over the arrangements and, in this case, the wedding planner is more than willing to take a place in the background, and just be there to provide advice and assistance when needed.

In other cases, brides begin setting everything up without a wedding planner and eventually, they get overwhelmed, as the time moves forward.

That is why most day-of coordinators agree to take on the project a few weeks or months before the wedding. Some even offer to just coordinate the wedding day itself.

How Much Does a Wedding Planner Cost?

The average cost of a wedding planner, when talking about the initial consulting fee alone, is somewhere between $100 and $120 per hour in the south or a rural area, but in metropolitan areas, like New York or Boston, the fee goes up to $200- $350 per hour, or even more if you choose an experienced wedding planner.

Another type of service is the Day of Coordination package which has a different fee, depending on the size of the wedding (the number of people), the number of locations, and the country area. If it is a southern or rural area, the fee will be somewhere between $800 and $1,200.

Usually, a wedding planner can manage a wedding with 100 guests in one location. A wedding with more than 200 guests with a reception and ceremony in different places will increase the fee.

If You Plan A Wedding in Las Vegas, This is What You’ll Spend

In metropolitan areas the fee goes up to $1,500- $2,200 and often includes an experienced planner helped by an assistant, charging for a bigger wedding with two locations.

The average cost of a full package reaches $3,000 – $4,000 in the south or a rural area or for the services of a less experienced planner.

In metropolitan areas, the Full-service wedding fee can reach up to $4,500 – $7,000, enabling you to easily access the services of a well-experienced wedding planner.

After a market survey, we can say that the average total fee of a wedding planner from the Northeast is $5,736 and in the South, it is closer to $3,635. If the clients get involved, the average price is $3,762 and if they do not get involved the price is somewhere between $6,000 and $12,000.

What Should Be Included in the Cost of Wedding Planning?

So after deciding to hire a wedding planner, what exactly should you look to get out of this collaboration? According to industry experts, you should be getting one or both of these two key components:

  1. Planning
  2. Day-of management

One of these elements represents all the planning work needed to be done prior to the day of, while the other one is managing the actual wedding day. This is what most wedding planners will offer: the basics, the design, and the expert touch.

You can expect the wedding planner to help you deal with issues like overall wedding budgeting, helping online while the wedding is happening, figuring out logistics, coming up with design ideas, and finding the perfect wedding venue and vendors. Each wedding planner will have their own business models, organizational methods, and fees.

How Are Wedding Coordinator Costs Calculated?

When talking to wedding planners during your initial consultation, you should first ask about the fee type. They will charge either an hourly rate, a percentage of the total wedding cost, or a flat fee. for the services they offer. Some even offer a combination of these methods, depending on what you need and what they can offer. For example, some might charge a flat fee to begin with, and then charge by the hour for what they consider additional work.

According to couples who have recently had their weddings, it’s not uncommon for people to spend 20% to 25% of their overall wedding investment on a professional wedding planner. Of course, the way in which you will get to that percentage with your wedding planner will differ based on their own individual business model.

What Factors Impact Wedding Planner Fees?

So although the average price of a wedding planner will fall somewhere between $2,000 and $4,000, there are quite a few factors that will influence the final bill you’re getting, creating a lot of variation between different wedding planner costs.

Among the most important factors to influence the price of the wedding planner is the location where you will have your wedding, including the need for transportation and lodging of the team and per-diems in the case of destination weddings, and the scope of work for your specific wedding.

And the bad news is that you might not know the price of most of these until you get into the details of the planning job. Of course, the experience and expertise of your wedding planner will be one of the biggest factors to influence the final cost.

When it comes to experience and expertise, you should know that there are planners that are licensed wedding planners. Most of the ones that are certified and licensed will charge more, but make sure the certification is real and helpful.

The wedding planner may do the following:

Help you plan your wedding, from A to Z

A wedding coordinator that knows what they are doing can help you get through all the planning aspects regardless of the type of wedding you’re going for; they can help you find creative solutions and effective choices that align with your set budget. Also, they will make sure not to exceed the budget.

The consultant will ensure that your wedding day vision comes true, from the perfect ceremony, the party locations, hiring and keeping promises to providers, to ensuring that everything and everyone is in the right place at the right time on the big day.

Wheel and deal with providers

After years of experience, wedding planners learned the wedding vendor and provider habits. They know providers that give you quality services and that can really help you. Wedding planners are skilled negotiators and because they know the wedding industry better than you, providers are less tempted to trick them with higher prices or sale tactics.

Obtain discounts or benefits

Over the years, wedding planners have established a close working relationship with their providers considered reliable by customers.

Because of the volume of work consultants generate, suppliers are often willing to offer various discounts and benefits. You can make substantial savings by using the providers recommended by your consultant.

Schedule meetings and review contracts

Wedding planners offer organizational and administrative assistance. They can schedule and keep a record of your providers’ appointments. They can attend with you all of your appointed meetings and can help you make your final decisions.

They can also review the contracts before you sign them, to ensure that obligations are clearly stated to suppliers protecting you from fraud or low-quality service.

Act as a mediator between providers and family members

Wedding plannersWedding planners can be great coordinators, conciliators, and label experts. They can communicate with different providers in your name and even in the family’s name or in the name of the most difficult guests. They can tread a middle course to conciliate everybody, to absolve your stress.

Coordinate your wedding day

The big day has arrived and you have to do your bridal hair and makeup, dress, get photos with family, take care of the wedding cake, and make sure that everything is set up for the ceremony and party.

Your wedding planner can handle all these details for you. Armed with a cell phone and an iPad, they can keep track of the multiple fronts and resolve all unforeseen delays or problems.

What about average working people? Should they hire a wedding planner?

If you believe you can handle wedding planning all by yourself, then go for it, but don`t forget: Hopefully, you will only get married once!

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