How Much Does a Wedding Planner Cost?

Usually between $1,500 to $3,000.

On average, wedding planners will charge between $50 to $200 per hour. So, with all the build-up and the actual day itself, you are going to be paying between $1,500 and $3,000. Wedding planners are a good route for couples who are not sure where to start with planning. Moreover, hiring a wedding planner can save money and stop any unnecessary stress. Wedding planners will often give a free estimate, or have price listings on their website, so be sure to ask!

Planning a wedding is supposed to be a very happy time for couples, but it can also produce a lot of stress and anxiety. Once the engagement hype has died down a bit, wedding planning becomes the main focus. There are a lot of little things that need to be decided on, and the thought of the cost of everything is always in the back of your mind. Therefore, hiring a wedding planner to take care of everything for you can be really helpful.

Hiring a wedding planner is a good choice for a couple who are not sure where they should start, or those who are too busy with work and other commitments. Although it may seem expensive, you will probably end up saving a lot of money and saving yourself from undue stress and anxiety too.

What Services Does a Wedding Planner’s Fee Include?

You may be thinking that your wedding budget does not allow for hiring a wedding planner, but you can hire a planner for a certain stage in the planning process and save a lot of money. Depending on when you hire your planner, costs will differ immensely, we are going to look at some of the options below:

  • Correspondence – The planner will meet the couple between 6 and 12 months before the actual wedding day, usually for an hour, to discuss any plans they may already have.

  • Venue and Vendor List – After the meeting, you will receive either an e-mail or a packet of all the information on a vendor referral list. It will also contain advice on how you can plan the day yourself. A referral list from a wedding planner can be a lifesaver, it is a list full of vendors that have been handpicked by the wedding planner, so you know that they are good.

  • Organization and Prep – The planner will assess the reception centre about 2 to 3 weeks before the big day, just to get an idea of what they are working with. They will then send a plan that details exactly what should happen on the wedding day, and the rehearsal. The planner will also make sure that all the vendors are booked and know what is happening.

  • Ceremony – The planner will ensure all the vendors have set up the ceremony decorations as planned and are in the right places for the actual ceremony. They will also ensure that the walk down the aisle goes smoothly and exactly as planned. Moreover, they will deal with any emergencies that should happen, and take care of any presents left at the ceremony venue, favour displays, and take care of the guest books.

  • Reception – Much like the ceremonial wedding planner, they will make sure everything is perfectly set up at the reception venue/room. Any outstanding debts will be paid to the vendors, and they will be tipped when appropriate. Transportation for when the happy couple leaves the venue will be organized by the planner, as well as all the confetti and champagne. Any items belonging to the couple will either be returned or left at a safe location.

How Much does a Day-Of Wedding Planner Cost?

If you just need someone to help on the actual day of the ceremony, it is going to cost you between $500 and $1,500 for around 3 hours. They will oversee everything that happens on the actual day of the ceremony and that is it.

How Much Does a Partial Wedding Planner Cost?

Adding on from the basic package, a partial wedding planner will cost you between $1,200 and $3,000. As well as doing everything included with the basic package, they will also help design the event/ceremony and oversee the wedding day plans.

How Much Does a Full Wedding Planner Cost?

If you are wanting to have a wedding planner help you with everything, it is going to cost you between $2,200 and $6,800. Roughly about 10-15% of your budget. A full wedding planner will oversee everything for you, including all the planning and all the communication with vendors. They will make sure that there is a photographer, a DJ for the reception, and that a website has been set up for the wedding day that has all the details for guests.

Moreover, they are in charge of all hotel bookings, transportation, the rehearsal dinner, guest gifts, marriage license, officiant, the suit and dress pickup and return. They will also be available for phone calls and e-mails any time of day if you have any questions for them.

The cost of a wedding can differ a lot depending on what people want. It is said that half of all couples will pay less than $15,000 on their wedding day, which means the planner would be around $2,220, as it is 15% of their budget. Couples who are willing to splash their cash on their wedding can spend around $26,000, meaning their wedding planner will cost around $6,760.

What is the Hourly Rate of a Wedding Planner?

We saw that À la carte wedding planners will cost between $50 and $200 per hour. If you can handle most of the planning process by yourself, but feel you need a professional to help with certain tasks, most planners will offer a flat fee for any one of these items:

  • Searching for venues for reception/ceremony

  • Co-ordinating a destination wedding

  • Choosing a hotel/honeymoon suite if available

  • Block booking a hotel for guests

  • Transportation for day of wedding

  • Rental clothing return service for groomsmen

  • Help searching for a rehearsal dinner location and design help

Does a Wedding Planner Save You Money?

It has been said that if you hire a wedding planner you are likely to save money due to the planner’s knowledge/connections. A planner will be able to help you choose the best options for your budget that still fit your vision. You should know what your budget will be before you meet with your wedding planner so they can get an idea of what to plan.

If you are worried about the cost, maybe consider telling your in-laws or your parents that their wedding gift could be covering the cost of a planner. This could be a much better gift than some expensive dinner or glass set and can help reduce stress and save time.

Do You Have to Tip Your Wedding Planner?

While not entirely necessary, tipping your wedding planner is encouraged if the planner has gone above and beyond with your ceremony. The tip is usually between 10% and 20%.

What Should I Look for When Hiring a Wedding Planner?

If possible, you should try and attend a bridal show with someone, whether it be family, friends, or even a wedding planner. These shows can help give you an idea of what it is you are looking for and what kind of options you have. We have all seen those movies where a friend plans the main character’s wedding, only for everything to get messed up at the actual ceremony. So, if that is anything to go by then you might just want to opt for a wedding planner anyway. It is a good idea to have a rough idea of what you are going to ask of your wedding planner before you meet them.

  • Interest – Hire someone who is just as excited for your big day as you are. A wedding planner who shows actual interest in your wedding/life is more likely to be more attentive and open to requests, resulting in the perfect wedding.

  • Personality – It is important to find a wedding planner who you can easily get along with. Some wedding planners are more friendly and treat the job as if they are helping out a friend, which is much more preferable to someone who takes it too seriously and does not take an interest in you.

  • Capabilities – Finding a wedding planner with experience is key, especially one who has done weddings in the kind of style you are looking for. Are they experienced in wedding planning? Will they be running the event single-handedly, or will they need a team to help them out? Can your planner handle a large and expensive wedding? These are all questions you need to consider before you hire anyone.

Tips for Planning Your Wedding Ceremony

Hiring a wedding planner can greatly reduce the stress and anxiety that comes from planning a wedding. They can also help you reach a decision on whether you should have an informal or formal ceremony. The type of ceremony you have is all dependent on the location, theme, and sometimes the time of year the wedding is scheduled for. If you would like to have an outdoor wedding it may require some extra planning and having a backup venue just in case the weather is not on your side.

If you or your partner come from a religious background, this can also affect the difficulty when choosing what style you want your ceremony to be. Respecting different cultures and their traditions is extremely important, which is why it is helpful to have a wedding planner that can recommend different officiants.

Wedding Officiants

Wedding planners have lots of connections with a lot of people involved in wedding ceremonies, including officiants. Working alongside the officiant, your wedding planner can come up with the best plan so that both parties in the wedding can be accommodated. In doing this, they can ensure that the ceremony is exactly what you are looking for, a beautiful, unique ceremony that will leave both the couple, and the couple’s family happy.

How Does a Guest List Affect My Wedding Planning Cost?

It is a good idea to have your guest list sorted quite early in the planning process. The more guests you plan on inviting, the more the wedding is going to cost, as you must factor in catering, locations and style choices. To start, note down the guests that you have a strong relationship with ones you definitely want at your wedding. From there, you can add on more people depending on what your budget will allow.

It is a sad thought to imagine some people being left of the guest list, but this might have to happen if you do not have the budget. Sometimes it can cost up to $100 per person, and maybe even more with food and drinks. To save any hurt feelings, it can be easier to just keep the ceremony to family and friends only.

How Does the Wedding Location Affect My Wedding Planning Cost?

Location varies between couples, some prefer to have a destination wedding, while some would simply prefer to keep it close to home. Your wedding destination is going to affect your wedding budget quite drastically, as it factors in not just the location, but the date and time as well.

Choosing whether to have an indoor or an outdoor ceremony is all dependent on the time of year you plan to have your wedding. You also must take into account how your guests will get to your wedding should you choose to have a destination wedding. Be sure to talk to your wedding planner about any alternative ideas if you are worried about making your dream a reality.

But do not despair! If you cannot make your destination wedding dreams come true, you can always look at having your honeymoon in a foreign city such as Paris, or London!

If it is your budget that is worrying you, have a look at locations such as bed and breakfasts, resorts, or wineries, as they may offer their own wedding services. This gives you the feeling of being away from home, but not having to pay massive amounts of cash. This is a great way to save money, but still feel as though you are having a special wedding, it is a win win situation!

How Do I Choose Between Vendors My Wedding Planner Suggests?

Food and Beverage Costs

You should have an idea in mind of what kind of food and drink you want served at your wedding, that way your planner can put together a list of the best caterer’s they know. You should consider if you want to go for a buffet-style, or something more formal where all guests are served the same thing. And know if any of your guests have any dietary needs/restrictions that need to be catered for. Your wedding planner can help you save money on the little things, such as alcoholic drink purchases, or what kind of plates and cups are used.

Reception Equipment

Ideally, you want your reception to be fun and enjoyable for your guests, which means securing a DJ, a band, a reception announcer, or another form of entertainment. Your planner should have good connections within the entertainment industry and give you a list of options. Alternatively, you may know someone personally, a family member or friend, that can provide entertainment for a cheaper price.

Wedding Décor and Floral Services

The décor at your wedding ceremony will set the tone for the overall event, and the reception that follows. It can be surprising when you see the cost of certain décor and flowers, especially when you want flowers that are not in season and need to be brought in from other countries/areas. Once you have chosen a theme for your wedding, your planner can help with tying in all elements to fit the theme/color palette.

What Questions Should I Ask a Wedding Planner Before Hiring?

It is a good idea to get to know wedding planners before you ask them to help with your wedding. You want to make sure that you are getting someone who will be interested in you and your partner and be dedicated to giving you the best possible wedding.

Here are some good questions to ask a wedding planner before hiring:

  • Do you have much experience planning weddings? If so, how many years?

  • What kind of weddings do you plan, and how many a year?

  • Are there any online references/reviews I can see?

  • What kind of payment options do you offer, and will you require a down payment?

  • Would you be planning the wedding yourself, or do you work in a team with other professionals?

  • What is your typical process for presence on the day of the wedding ceremony, and for co-ordination?

  • Do you communicate often with your clients? If yes, how frequently?

  • Does your contract include a back-out-clause just in case I change my plans? Could I see a mock contract?

Wedding Planner Organizations

If you want a clear conscience that you are hiring the right person, ask them if they are a member/certified with one of these 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

A massive congratulations to all the happy couples out there, and good luck with finding your wedding planners!

Leave a Comment features only objectively quantified and qualified professionals hand-picked by our selection process.