We all know that weddings tend to be the most expensive events people put on, and so every penny counts! With that in mind, you may wonder… can I afford a wedding planner?
I must start by saying that every wedding planner is different, and pricing structures vary depending on what services you’re after. However, generally there are two main ways that planners will charge you for their service: they will either give you an hourly rate or charge a flat fee.
Usually, hourly rates will apply to “pick-and-mix” type packages where you choose the services you’d like included in your wedding planning package. Flat fees are the most common charges, and these apply to set packages designed by your wedding planner.
Regardless of the service you choose to pay for, you must make sure you have a clear list of duties that your wedding planner will provide for you, so you are 100% clear on what you’re getting for you money!
The amount you will be charged hugely depends on the skill level, years of expertise, location, and niche of your wedding planner. If you’re going for a “luxury” planner, or someone who is based in London, they will likely charge more than a "creative" planner, or someone based outside of a city.
The fee will also depend, on which services/packages you’re after. Most wedding planners offer the following packages: full wedding planning, partial wedding planning, and wedding day management (on-the-day coordination). Full planning is usually the most expensive package, and day management is the cheapest.
Very simply, here is what the basic wedding packages include:
Full wedding planning - the wedding planner is with you from the start of your engagement. They can help you with anything and everything from helping create your wedding theme and finding/meeting suppliers, to handling the piles of wedmin and managing events on your big day.
Partial wedding planning - the wedding planner will come on-board later in your planning journey when you decide you now need some additional help. Typically, they help you tie up any loose ends, source any remaining suppliers, and (again) manage your wedding day for you.
Wedding day management / on-the-day coordination – you’ve completed your wedding planning but you want someone to take control of the day itself so you’re free to enjoy yourself. The wedding planner joins you a few months before your wedding day to gather supplier information and discuss your wedding day timeline. Then on the big day itself, your planner manages everything for you – from overseeing deliveries, to ensuring your photographer turns up on time.
To find out more about what these packages can include, see my services list here.
Full wedding planning packages can range from 10% - 15% of your wedding budget with a minimum fee applicable. This minimum fee varies hugely, but can be from £1,500 up to £10,000. Ask any planners you contact what their minimum fees are and get a list of services to ensure you compare like-for-like when getting quotes!
Partial wedding planning packages can range from 5% - 10% of your budget with a minimum fee applicable - anything upwards of around £1,000. Not every planner offers this service, and there is a lot of variation in this package as the planner’s workload is incredibly variable depending on how far you are with your wedding planning process already. Again, make sure you get a list of services and compare quotes like-for-like here to get the best planner for you.
On-the-day coordination ranges from around 2% - 5% of your budget, from around £500-£1,500 is common.
The reason for the % charges here is that weddings with higher budgets generally require more planning time and effort. By charging a % of your budget, planners can ensure that they are being paid the correct amount for the work they will be doing for you. You should ask your planner what items in your budget they do not include in their fee calculation - many planners don’t include the cost of wedding rings or the wedding dress in their calculations.
These fees instantly look like a huge amount of money, but the key thing to bear in mind here is that it takes on average between 200-300 hours to plan a wedding – so you get a lot for your money. You should also note that most wedding planners are self-employed and have business overheads to cover, so your fee is not 100% profit going into your planner’s pocket!
This is a very important point - you should always ask your wedding planner whether they accept commission; some planners charge you a fee and also accept commission from your other suppliers. This can make a big difference to your final wedding budget spend as the commission fee is added to your costs: read more about this on the UKAWP site here. It is important that you make the right decision for you.
NB: I do not accept commission; any discounts offered to me are passed straight on to you, the couple.
Can a wedding planner save you money?
Wedding planners save you time, save your sanity, handle difficult suppliers (or family members and guests!) for you, and provide location and supplier expertise. We know how to keep you on budget, suggest money-saving techniques, give you alternative supplier options, and could get you discounts (as mentioned above). Plus, we can review your supplier contracts and look for red flags that may tie you into obligations that unfairly cost you money should something happen.
Are wedding planners worth the money?
It’s up to you whether you feel your budget allows for hiring a wedding planner, but if you’re here and you’ve read this article, and if a wedding planner is the right fit for you… we are definitely worth it.
I offer free no-obligation consultation to all couples who are interested in hiring me as their wedding planner! This will be a quick phone call or video chat where we go through what help you need and which of my services best suits you and your budget. You get the opportunity to ask me any questions you have, and see if we’re going to get along! To get started, just click here to fill in a simple enquiry form and I’ll be in touch soon!