Wedding planner cost guide

While wedding day is one of the most intimate and marvelous days in every couple’s life, it can be a torture considering the number of activities that should be dealt with. For this reason, a number of US couples turn to the professional services of wedding planners. These experts can help relieve your stress at the most important moment and control the whole plot of your biggest day. Statistics say that about 28% of all newly-weds used the service and remained satisfied with every detail of such cooperation.

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Wedding planners are professionals who supervise the whole planning process for a wedding as well as the implementation of all plans on the special date. The experts can help you get the best prices for the services required, book impossible-to-get wedding venues, and among other benefits, it’s them who will deal with all vendors and budget holes. Having a wedding planner on board is like having a magic wand that can make all problems go away. Such a wand usually costs about $950- $2,500 while most newly-weds have spent $1,900 for a wedding planner.

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Types of wedding planners

Full-service wedding planner

Full-service wedding planners take you by the hand right after the engagement and get you through every aspect of wedding planning. They help with choosing the right design for napkins as well as dealing with all the hiring of a wedding photographer, videographer, and other vendors for the special day. If you are ready to pay for not being involved in details, then a full-service wedding planner should be your choice.

How much does a full-service wedding planner cost?

Full-service wedding planners must be booked far in advance, at least 10 months prior to the wedding date. This gives time and space to plan a wedding from start to finish. The average minimal rate for a full-service wedding planner is about $2,950 while the top-tier planners cost ranges between $4,500 and $11,200.

Day-of-wedding coordinator

This type of wedding planners helps to coordinate the whole celebration on a wedding day but they don't participate in the pre-planning process. If you already know what you want and where to get it, then day-of-wedding planner is the right pick for you.

How much does a day-of wedding coordinator cost?

Even though day-of wedding planners take care only of the final day of the wedding preparation, they still need time to familiarize themselves with your schedule and carefully remove any drawbacks from the plan. So this expert needs to be hired no later than a couple of months prior to the wedding. The starting cost for day-of wedding coordinators is $800; the higher-end costs vary between $1,200 and $3,000.

A la carte (partial) wedding planner

This is a kind of wedding planners who do only the job you ask them to. You might know how you want everything to look but have no idea where to get it or have problems with booking a particular venue. In such cases, when almost everything is done, a little help from the outside is what partial wedding planners offer.

How much does a partial wedding planner cost?

As a rule, a la carte wedding planners come on board about a month before the day X to assist with the last-minute tasks. The average flat rate for this service equals $1,050; however, more experienced or last-minute calls can cost $2,000-$6,000.

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Cost-related questions

What wedding events does a planner's fee cover?

When you’re hiring a partial wedding planner, you choose the services that should be included. They will take care of only your wedding day coordination such as dealing with vendors, coordinating the seating map, and decorating the venue. For full-service planners, the offers may vary, but the basic ones are the same:

  • Coordination of all events (not only the wedding day but the rehearsal dinner, ceremony rehearsals, bridesmaid teas, day after brunches, etc.)
  • Budget control
  • Understanding and further implementation or your vision about a wedding and its further application to the color scheme, cake appeal, music or DJ choice, etc.
  • Organization of the timeline, then monitoring of the progress and updating it for you and your spouse-to-be.
  • Creation and reviewing all vendor contracts.
  • Coordination of the wedding day (vendors' arrival, shipping timing, decoration, catering setting, etc.)
  • Personal reminder about important appointments.
  • Professional help with picking wedding items: from silverware to the bride’s dress.
  • Solving last-minute emergencies without bothering you on a special day.

This is only a short list of services that wedding planners provide. They will do all the preparation work to get you to the moment of “I do” statements.

What is the hourly rate of a wedding planner?

Wedding planners can work on an hourly basis as consultants or assistants for a fixed time period. Be ready that not all planners provide such a service. But those who do charge about $75/hour; higher-end offers vary between $100/hour and $275/hour.

How much does a single consultation cost?

There is no such thing as a flat rate for wedding planning consultations. All such meeting are charged based on the hourly rate set by a particular planner. See the average prices above.

How to choose a wedding planner

Decide on the goals

Before you start calling to particular planners ensure that you understand what you’re looking for. You already know the type of wedding planners available in the market, so decide on the particular type you need. Apart from that, think of what you want to/can do yourself and what part of the wedding planning you will leave to the professionals.

Set the budget

Once you know how much you can spend you will be able to calculate the payable amount for the wedding planning services. And don’t go over the numbers you get. This will only lead to disappointment or deep debt.

Make a choice

Once you have all information from your side, call several wedding planners to determine their cost, services offered, and their availability for your wedding. Eliminate everyone you don’t agree with and after the final interviews decide on the expert.

Check the background

Before inking the contract, make sure to check planner’s complaint reports, references, portfolio, experience, connections, and working style. Only if everything you read satisfies your needs, proceed to signing the papers.

Sign a contract

Whatever service you choose (full-service or a consultation only), always ask for a contract and receipts for the services provided. This will provide mutual guarantees and peace of mind.

Other frequently asked questions

Do I need an emergency fund?

With a wedding planner, emergency funds are generally not required because the experts ensure that no force-majeure situations take place. However, as no one is fully protected, wedding planners do advise having about 10% of your wedding’s cost for emergency cases.

Do I need to tip my wedding planner?

Generally, wedding planners don’t expect any tips from you contrary to delivery people and catering staff. However, if you want to show your gratitude for the exceptional service, you can tip about 10%-20% of the total price you paid for the service.

Bottom line

Wedding planners can help organize your wedding and ensure that the special day goes smoothly without a hitch. Such services generally cost between $950 and $2,500 while most couples spend about $1,900. The price is always negotiable and depends on the chosen services and the wedding planner package you decide to sign for.

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