Wedding planners charge $50–$200 per hour for their services. In general, expect to pay a wedding planner $1,500–$3,000 for planning your big day and the run-up to it. This can be a wise choice for couples who don’t know where to start. Not only that, wedding planners can end up saving couples money and undue stress in the long run. Learn more, or get free estimates from wedding planners near you.
The process of planning a wedding can be an exciting time for newly engaged couples, but it can also bring about feelings of extreme anxiety. As soon as the idea of a union becomes official, the initial wedding planning process begins. There are so many factors to consider, not to mention what everything will end up costing, that taking the route of hiring a wedding and events planner can be a lifesaver.
This can be a wise choice for couples who don’t know where to start or who already have full plates and don’t necessarily have the time to plan everything wedding related. Not only that, wedding planners can end up saving couples money and undue stress in the long run. Wedding planners charge $50–$200 per hour for their services. In general, expect to pay a wedding planner $1,500–$3,000 for planning your big day, the run-up to it, and to ensure it will run smoothly.
Even if you think you can’t afford a wedding planner, many are very affordable if you just hire them to oversee the day-of. Costs include all back and forth leading up to the big day. Let's take a look at our options:
Three hours of basic planning without the planner overseeing anything on the day-of will cost between $500 to $1,500.
Basic + or partial wedding planning costs between $1,200–$3,000. It includes everything on the basic package plus event design help and the overseeing of the day-of plans, usually by two people.
For a luxury or full-service wedding planner, you can expect to pay around $2,200–$6,800 or 10–15% of your wedding budget. Includes everything on the basic + package but takes care of all the planning for you. Books and communicates with all vendors, including stationary designers and a website or web page with your wedding details, photographer, reception DJ, etc.
The planner oversees all transportation, guest gifts, hotel bookings, rehearsal dinner, officiant, marriage license, dress and groomsmen suits pickups and returns. Is available for unlimited phone calls and e-mails.
The overall price of a wedding varies widely. Half of all wedding couples spend less than $15,000 on their weddings, and 15% or that is $2,220. The other 50% spend about $26,000, so a luxury wedding planner cost would be $6,760.
À la carte wedding planning services cost $50–$200 per hour. If you can do most of the planning yourself but need an extra professional to take care of certain items on your list, this is offered by some planners that typically charge a flat fee.
Most couples spend $15,000–$26,000 on their weddings. Hiring an experienced wedding planner can actually save you some of that cost in the long run because of his/her extensive list of connections and knowledge and experience in how to maximize everything at the most palatable cost. Before you hire a planner, it’s important to know what your overall wedding budget might be and then estimate 15% of that budget will go to the planner.
A planner will help keep your plans realistic and budget friendly. If you think you can’t afford a wedding planner and your parents or in-laws are dying to give you the perfect gift, consider asking them to cover the costs of the wedding planner. This gift can save time, expense, and stress—better than any expensive glass set.
Don’t forget to include the tip when budgeting for your planner. Tipping your wedding planner is unnecessary, but some prefer to tip 10%–20% if the service has been incredible.
Weddings & Moore in San Antonio, TX, say, “Planning services start at $300 and go up to a % of your budget.... I've worked with clients with all different budgets.”
Majestyk Planners & Events in Oceanside, CA, says, “If the client decides they want an hourly rate for wedding coordinating and planning only starting at $500 and up:
Attend a bridal show with friends, family, or a wedding planner can help you to get ideas and see what options are out there if you are curious or feel stuck or unsure about what you want for all things wedding. The way the media portrays the potential for friends and family to mess up your wedding plans, it might be better just to bite the bullet and hire someone to take care of that special day. But first, have a rough plan in your head of what you need your wedding planner to do and how you want your interactions with him/her to go.
Fash can help for all your wedding planning needs: here are the average cost of wedding services.
Working with a wedding planner can also help alleviate some of the stress of trying to figure out whether or not to have a more formal or informal type of ceremony. The choice also depends on the theme, location, and time of year requested. Some outdoor ceremonies may require extra planning, as well as a backup plan in case of rain or other inclement weather.
Choosing the ceremony style can be a unique challenge, because some couples come from different religious backgrounds or may have different cultures and traditions. This is why it helps to have your wedding planner recommend a great officiant.
Most planners know wedding officiants who would gladly perform the wedding ceremony, since wedding planners are usually well-connected to the planning community, or they can recommend officiants they have worked with in the past. It’s important for the wedding planner to work with the officiant to understand all of these details so that she or he can decide how to include both sides of the family of the couple. They will make sure that the ceremony is unique and honors the couple’s wishes and the experience they want to give their guests.
Unless budget isn’t a concern, couples will need to decide to work on a guest list fairly early on in the planning process. It may not be realistic to invite 200 or more guests, and the more invited, the bigger the expense and how it may affect location and plans. Choose those relationships you value most to begin your guest list with. These are the people you will want to share your special day with. Then let your budget dictate how many you include from your outer circle of friends.
Unfortunately, some people may have to be backups or left off the list entirely, simply because it can easily cost $100+ per person, depending on food and beverage options. When in doubt, sometimes it’s easier just to let friends and family know that you plan to keep the occasion smaller and more intimate. This will help to avoid confusion and hurt feelings if someone must be left out.
Some couples will decide to go out on a limb and choose destination weddings while others will decide to stay closer to home. Figuring out your wedding destination (along with the date and time) will be affected by your budget, as any wedding planner will tell you.
The time of year you decide to have the wedding will also determine whether or not you will have an indoor or outdoor ceremony, as well as affect your guests’ travel plans. A wedding planner may have some ideas for alternatives if you are unable to make that coveted destination wedding a reality. And if the wedding plans themselves aren’t conducive to that type of destination, Paris (or any other city) can always be reserved for a honeymoon escape rather than the actual wedding location.
If you happen to be on a budget, places like resorts, wineries, or bed and breakfast spots may also provide wedding services or have a readymade chapel for couples who want the feeling of getting away but don’t have the cash to throw at a larger destination wedding. This option may give couples the best of both worlds, as they will be able to experience the “getaway” vibe at a fraction of the cost of a huge, elaborate destination wedding.
Buffet-style meal for guests or plated dinners for everyone? Guests with dietary needs? Open bar or drink tickets? Wedding planners likely already have some catering contacts in the industry they can recommend, depending on your needs. A wedding planner may also have some tips on how to save money on these costs, even down to the plates and cups. Some reception venues will only allow alcoholic drinks to be purchased through them with added costs for a bartender, etc.
A wedding planner is a good resource for helping to find a wedding reception announcer, DJ, band, or any other form of entertainment. They will likely have contacts in the industry or be able to make a recommendation. As another option, you may know a friend or family member who can provide the entertainment, or at least run the music on your laptop, for a small fee. If you are lucky enough to know an emerging musical artist, that band may be a good bet too.
Your wedding decor sets the tone for the reception and, perhaps, the ceremony as well. Flowers and decorations can be expensive, especially when requesting flowers that are out of season or must be shipped in. Most couples will choose their wedding theme and colors, and a wedding planner can give great advice on how to tie in all aspects of the wedding with these.
Wedding planners can be a huge help when it comes to planning your wedding, and they take out much of the guesswork and frustration, leaving you to focus on the excitement of your engagement and future together. Before you make your shortlist, be sure to check reviews of the planners you’re interested in interviewing.
Some good things to look for and ask the planners you are researching are:
For that added legitimacy to the person you hire, ask if they are a certified with, or a member of, one or more of the following organizations:
ABC – Association of Bridal Consultants, AFWPI – Association for Wedding Professionals International, ACPWC – Association Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, NAWP – National Association of Wedding Professionals, AACWP - American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, JWI - June Wedding, Inc
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