If you are considering hiring a wedding planner, one of the first things you most probably will want to know is how much does a wedding planner cost? In order to answer this seemingly straightforward question I need to take you through all of the different ways in which wedding planners charge for their services. Whilst there is no simple answer to the question “how much does a wedding planner cost”, I hope that the commentary that follows will provide you with a good understanding of how it works.
How does a wedding planner charge?
To understand how much do wedding planners cost, you need to ask a wedding planner how they charge for their services. There are a number of different ways that wedding planners charge and in very broad terms these can be summarised as:
- The most usual way in which a wedding planner will charge for planning services is based on a percentage of the wedding spend or budget; this can range between usually 10% and 15% and will depend on the planners experience and level of service
- Other planners charge a fixed fee for their services
- And others charge a minimal fee, and earn their income by taking commissions from suppliers
- Finally, there are some, albeit only a few, planners who will charge based on an hourly rate
How much do wedding planners cost – percentage of wedding spend
If you are planning a luxury wedding which is likely to involve high touch planning services, your wedding planner will most probably advise you that the fee you pay will be based on the sum that you spend, subject to a minimum.
Now this may worry some of you; you may be concerned that the wedding planner has no interest in keeping within your budget. After all, the more you spend, the more they earn. And when asking the question how much does a wedding planner cost, this is a common concern when the response is percentage based.
Please be reassured that any reputable wedding planner will always act with integrity and with your wedding budget at the heart of everything that they suggest and design for you. Indeed those like myself who are members of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners are required to abide by a strict code of ethics.
How much do wedding planners cost – why is percentage of wedding spend a fair way to charge?
Luxury wedding planners are most likely to charge a fee that is percentage based in order to enable them to ensure that the service they provide you with is not in any way impacted by the amount of work involved. Generally speaking, it is true to say that the bigger the wedding budget the more work is involved. Your budget might increase from the figure originally specified because:
- More wedding guests
- Higher spend on certain elements
- Additional elements added to the day
Essentially, each of these factors will impact on the amount of work and I am sure you will agree it is only fair that a wedding planner is recompensed based on the value of their work.
Additionally you need to bear in mind that as the spend increases, the expected level of detailed planning will also increase; once again this results in more hours.
How much do wedding planners cost – fixed fee services
If a wedding planner quotes you a fixed fee for their services, it is really important that you ask the planner to qualify their fee. You need to establish any limits to their service that this fee is based on.
If one planner costs less than another planner, this is not necessarily a good thing as it may mean there are limits to the:
- number of hours,
- number of meetings,
- scope of work,
- number of assistant coordinators present at your wedding
You may also wish to ask a planner quoting a fixed fee about the number of weddings they will typically plan in an average year.
Planning a wedding (even by a wedding planner professional) can amount to between 150 and 250 hours work. A luxury full service wedding planner will only book a small number of weddings each year, in order to be able to devote sufficient hours to each one.
So, if you are paying a fixed fee, do make sure you are clear about exactly what level of service you are going to receive and how many other couples you are vying with for attention.
How much do wedding planners cost – other fee types
Whilst less common, you do need to beware of planners who come in with a very low (or even zero) fee. These planners are likely to be earning commissions from your suppliers and you need to be clear about whether these commissions are being added to the charges you are paying to each supplier.
And whilst rarer still, do be wary of agreeing a fee based on an hourly rate. As already mentioned the number of hours spent planning a wedding can run into the hundreds. If you are working with someone who is charging you on this basis, do set boundaries, and make sure you have an agreement on how many hours work and the maximum payment.
So, to conclude, when you how much do wedding planners cost, I’m afraid there is no straightforward answer. But however the figure is arrived at, you can expect that your wedding planner should be earning somewhere between 10% and 15% of your wedding spend, subject to a minimum.
If you would like to find out more about how wedding planning services work, please head to the services page of my website here