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Here's The Cost to Hire A Wedding Planner

Newlyweds on a Budget logo: MainLogo Newlyweds on a Budget 9/13/2022 Newlyweds on a Budget
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When it’s time to start preparing for your big day, the idea of hiring a wedding planner might be enticing. With a wedding planner by your side, you get expert support throughout the process, making it easier to ensure that every detail is handled. Plus, wedding planners will often work as coordinators throughout the event, which is beneficial. However, the cost of hiring a wedding planner can be high, which impacts your overall budget. Here’s a look at how wedding planners charge for their services and what hiring one may cost you.

How Much Wedding Planners Charge for Their Services

The cost of hiring a wedding planner varies based on several factors. For example, the overall scale of your event, how long the ceremony and reception will last, and the number of guests generally play a role. Your location is also a factor, along with the overall level of complexity. In most cases, the amount of time between when you hire the wedding planner and your wedding date may alter the cost.

You’ll also see price differences between full-time, partial, and day-of or month-of wedding planners. With a full-time wedding planner, they’ll provide support from beginning to end, handling essentially every detail. Partial wedding planners typically only take on select tasks, while the couple handles the rest. Day-of or month-of coordinators simply hammer out the last-minute details.

As a result, while the average cost for a wedding planner sits near $1,700 or $1,800, what each couple ultimately pays can vary greatly.

How Wedding Planners Charge for Their Services

Usually, wedding planners use one of two strategies when it comes to pricing their services. First, many use a flat fee approach. With that, couples pay a set amount for the tasks the wedding planner will handle.

Second, wedding planners may charge by the hour. This can cause some price fluctuations, which isn’t always ideal. While most wedding planners will also provide a time estimate in advance, unexpected issues could cause them to spend more time on the wedding than anticipated, leading to a higher price. However, if the event doesn’t take as much time to coordinate as they expected, the final bill could be lower.

Ultimately, which option is best may depend on the type of wedding planner you hire and the complexity of your ceremony and reception. If you choose a full-time wedding planner, going with one that offers a flat fee could benefit your budget, as you’ll know precisely what the service costs. If you’re sticking with a day-of coordinate, an hourly rate might be a viable alternative to a flat fee, as you know precisely how long the event is and how many hours during that day you’ll need support.

Do You Tip Your Wedding Planner?

Regardless of whether your wedding planner charges a flat rate or uses an hourly rate, you may have questions about tipping. Typically, a tip isn’t expected, or it may be factored into your overall pricing. However, that doesn’t mean that tipping is inappropriate.

Generally speaking, tipping is wise if your wedding planner exceeds your expectations. For example, if they provided additional support when a last-minute issue arose, that could be tip worthy. Similarly, if they were able to negotiate for far lower prices that you wouldn’t have been able to secure on your own, that could justify a tip.

Precisely how much you should tip can vary. Some recommend 10 to 20 percent of the total cost for their services. For a $1,700 wedding planner, that would work out to $170 to $340. However, that’s just a general guideline, so you can certainly adjust it based on how they went above and beyond.

It’s also important to note that if the wedding planner brought an assistant and the assistant exceeds your expectations in some way, offering the assistant a tip isn’t a bad idea. With them, something near $100 is usually a nice gesture, though you can adjust that depending on the type of help they provide.

Regardless of whether you decide to give a tip, giving your wedding planner a handwritten thank-you note is an excellent idea. It allows you to acknowledge all they did to make your big day possible. If you prefer, you can give them the note near the end of your reception. However, you can also mail it once you return from your honeymoon, giving you some extra time if you need it.

Difference Between a Wedding Planner and a Wedding Coordinator

As you explore options, you may notice that some professionals operate as wedding planners, while others are wedding coordinators. While the difference in the title may seem arbitrary, it actually reflects two types of services.

Wedding planners generally assist with all wedding choices in their purview. They may assist with vendor hiring, participate in contract negotiations, recommend items, and manage the budget.

With a wedding coordinator, the couple handles most of the planning, including vendor selection, contract negotiations, supplier contracts, and overseeing the budget. Then, as the event draws near, the wedding coordinator focuses on executing that plan, ensuring the couple can have a streamlined wedding day.

In many cases, wedding coordinators are less expensive than wedding planners. However, if you need assistance with securing a venue, choosing a venue, or similar details, you’ll need to go with a wedding planner to get that support.

How to Choose a Wedding Planner

If you want to hire a wedding planner, the first step you need to take is outlining your budget. That will help you determine whether any particular professional is affordable, which could allow you to make sounder decisions.

After that, it’s wise to find at least three wedding planners that could potentially meet your needs. That ensures you can compare pricing and offerings, as well as make sure that their approach, attitude, and vision properly align with yours.

When you meet with the wedding planner, it’s wise to discuss a handful of key points. Begin by asking them to outline their services, as well as talk about anything else they don’t handle. Next, find out how often they’d meet with you, along with an approximate timeline for the various preparations.

In many cases, it’s also smart to find out about their preferred communication channels. Some wedding planners may work primarily through email, while others will favor text messages or phone calls. Since that’s the case, it’s worth discussing, particularly if you have your own preferences.

Then, gauge their experience by asking them to estimate the total number of events they’ve handled recently. You can also see if they’ll tell you how many are currently on their plate, as that may impact their availability if they’re overloaded.

Finally, find out about their existing vendor and venue relationships. Along with potentially helping you save on certain wedding costs, their current connections could alter the wedding planner’s recommendations, as they may favor providers whom they are close with, even if you prefer something different.

Once you’ve asked your questions, make sure to get a comprehensive quote in writing. By ensuring they outline all of the services they’ll provide for the price listed, there’s no ambiguity about what they’re handling.

Are you surprised about how wedding planners charge for their services? Did you hire a wedding planner and want to tell others about the experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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