Ballpark estimate: Many charge 10 to 20 percent of the total wedding budget (or $3,000 to $6,000 for a $30,000 event)
Coordinating all of the details of a wedding can be a bit like a juggling act. With so many balls up in the air, some couples worry that they will never catch all of them. That’s why some bride and grooms find it invaluable to hire a wedding planner and let the expert make sure everything goes off as planned.
Relying on a Wedding Planner
You don’t have to have a huge budget or be planning an extravaganza to be able to justify the expense of a wedding planner. While many people think wedding planners are only for the rich, there’s likely to be a wedding planner that can fit many types of events and can work with even a modest budget. Therefore, what you desire, and what you can afford, will be the driving factor when shopping for a wedding planner to help you plan your big day.
If you want your wedding to go off without a glitch, a wedding planner can help you coordinate all of the details to create your event exactly as you dream of it. Better yet, sometimes a wedding planner can also be worth the expense by helping you invest your budget in the right places to help you get more bang for your buck.
What to Expect
When you hire a wedding planner, you can expect to meet with this expert to come over your ideas and your budget and determine what you want your wedding to look like, including the style, tone, look, and feel you anticipate for your big day. You should also talk to your wedding planner about your rehearsal dinner, accommodations, day-after-events, and anything else you would like help with planning.
In general, a wedding planner can help you schedule all of your activities and events, locate the best vendors for your needs, negotiate pricing for the items you want, set a budget and help you stick with it, arrange the details and sign contracts, coordinate deliveries, help select the perfect wedding dress and attendant dresses, help design floral arrangements, coordinate and oversee the seating chart, lighting, decorations, food, service, and work with vendors to ensure everyone stays on schedule. A wedding planner can also play the role of an intermediary if there are areas where you and your fiancé, family, or wedding party are not in agreement.
Different Levels of Wedding Planners
Of course you don’t have to be “wedded” to the idea of letting your planner do all of this, though, if you prefer to be more hands on yourself. In fact, most wedding planners can help you with as much—or as little—of your event planning as you desire, and as much as your budget can support, as well. For instance, you might consider hiring a wedding planner who can be responsive for one of the following scenarios:
- If you can swing the cost, you’ll get the most benefit by hiring a wedding planner to help you handle the whole event, starting with setting your vision for your big day. Such a full-scale wedding planner can also be in charge of finding and hiring the vendors and making some of the decisions on your behalf, as needed. This can take a lot of the stress off of you, and can also free up your time to focus on enjoying the special time leading up to your wedding.
- When you know what you want but just need some assistance with turning your vision into a reality, then you might consider hiring a wedding consultant who can assist you with your event but won’t take it all off your shoulders but rather, will provide some support in designing the event and finding vendors but you will still need to do a lot of the leg work.
- If your budget is tight or you feel right on top of the details and don’t need any help making your arrangements, another option to consider is hiring a wedding planner just to be in charge on the day of your wedding (sometimes referred to as a “day-of wedding planner”) to ensure it all comes together as intended. A day-of wedding planner typically coordinates with the vendors a few days before the event to be everyone is on track. This expert will make sure the set-up and clean-up goes as planned, that vendors are paid, deposits are returned, and that gifts are delivered to your home. This person can be a great resource to rely on so you can truly live in the moment on your big day.
How to Find
You can do a search online to find wedding planners to consider, or check online wedding directories and resources such as TheKnot.com, Thumbtack.com, and Brides.com. You can also find wedding planners at local wedding fairs and shows. In addition, you can ask family, friends, and colleagues for recommendations. If you have a wedding site selected, you can also ask the event coordinator on-site for names of outside wedding planners they have worked with on past events.
With anyone you are considering, always ask for references and find out exactly what you will get before you give any deposits. Also read the fine print in the contract to be sure the terms are agreeable.
Cost of a Wedding Planner
What you will spend on a wedding planner really depends on how extensive your event is, as well as how much—or how little—you expect from your planner when it comes to coordinating the details of your special day. A full-scale wedding planner who handles everything from start to finish will typically charge you up to 20 percent of your total event cost. This means that if you are spending $30,000 on your wedding, you can expect to pay your planner up to $6,000 for his or her services. (Some wedding planners may charge less, though, so shop around to find someone who can work within your budget, if needed.) Some full-scale wedding planners may charge a flat fee or hourly rate instead that should come out in the same general range.
For a wedding consultant who helps with coordinating the details but doesn’t handle all of the work for you, the price can be between 10 and 15 percent of the overall budget. This means that for a $30,000 wedding, you can expect to pay the consultant $3,000 to $4,500, depending on how involved they get.
On the other hand, day-of-wedding planners typically charge a set fee for their work. This can range from $500 to $2,000 or more, depending on how large your wedding is and how much the planner can expect to handle to make sure your event is a complete success.
When you love the idea of a wedding planner but just can’t justify the expense for this expert, you may be able to get some similar benefits when you select a wedding location with an onsite wedding coordinator who can help you manage some of the details to ensure the event goes off smoothly. This service is usually included in the fee for your event. While it won’t give you the same level of help you would get from a full-scale wedding planner, you could still find it very helpful and it could be enough to ensure you have a perfect event.