How much should you charge for your wedding planner services?
That has to be THE most frequently-asked question when it comes to starting a wedding planner business. And, making the decision to simply charge what other wedding planners in your area charge is NOT the way to run a business.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE
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Think this Through
First, in order to get your wedding planning business off the ground, you need to create a plan. A road-map. Otherwise, you won’t know where the heck you’re going!
Second, figuring out how much to charge your potential clients to plan their wedding is an integral part of said plan.
Here’s, the thing. The way you determine how much to charge is directly related to:
- Your hands-on wedding planning experience
- The cost of weddings in your area (traditionally, wedding planner fees takes up approximately 10% of the wedding budget)
- Your brand and your reputation –
- Whether or not you’re a specialty wedding planner (i.e. you plan weddings for a particular niche)
- The cost to run your wedding planning business
- The value that potential customers see in what you can do for them
- What the local wedding market will bear
- Your income goal (i.e. how much do you need to make each month)
- and a few other factors…
This is What I Did…
As a new wedding planner, I struggled with ‘how much to charge’. But, once I decided what my hourly rate was (which I still believe isn’t enough) and assigned it to the amount of time it took for me to accomplish various wedding planning tasks, pricing got a little easier.
Have a listen to this episode (it’s less than 30 minutes long) to find out if my pricing method works for you. It may. It may not. Either way, I’m sure it will get you thinking. 🙂
How can I determine the cost of Weddings in my area? I am in the Philadelphia area and I’ve google and search the web to obtain this information to determine the rate I should charge.
Your area wedding caterers are a great source of information when it comes to wedding costs (catering for a wedding typically takes up 40% – 50% of the entire wedding budget). This is a good question to ask during your vendor interviews.
Also http://costofwedding.com provides an average of US wedding costs by zipcode.
Hope this helps.
Thank you Debbie that was so helpful! 🙂 🙂 I have another question my business is set up and all is moving in the right direction, but no booking as of yet. What is the best practices to seeking and book clients? I have leads but they never follow up.
I have the same questions as Michelle #’s 1 & 2. Thank you in advance!
thank you so much for this information i already knew i was under-pricing for my services and “jumped of the window” to finally “get a bite on my line” and this conformed it my bestfriend and i decieded to go into wedding planning some time back and now the vision is coming to pass and he stated everything that you mentioned in your radio show thanks for the insite i need to step up my “A” game
Hi Debbie! Thank you for the information on pricing weddings, this is something I struggle with all the time. I am constantly under-pricing for my services and need to make some changes. This was really some helpful information.
I am in business, but not just wedding planning. I did have a bridal shop which hasn’t been doing very well, so I have gone in on consignment at another shop. My problem seems to be finding customers. I did enjoy listening to pricing and found that I probably am not charging enough.
I have a question. I did a wedding for my girlfriend whose daughter was getting married. for 6 months or more I worked on this wedding. First I started with making all the wedding signs out of wood to place around the ceremony and reception ie happily ever starts here, I do we did, heck yes I do, lemonade, ice tea, ect… it was a shabby chic vintage country wedding in my girlfriends backyard. The guest sat on straw bayles for the ceremony and then for the reception we had a tent with round tables and chairs. We had a dj, and it was catered. I have 17yrs experience doing weddings, but this was the first one Ive ever did that I was hired directly, not the company I sometimes work for doing weddings. So since it was my girlfriend I didn’t think I needed a contract. Because she knew how hard I worked to make everything come together. Here is a short list of what I did. I met with some of the vendors with the bride and her mom, I did the wedding rehersal, I decorated the entire wedding, I took things off my walls, out of yard, out of my house, to decorate the ranch country theme she wanted, (this took hours) then I borrowed things from friends and family, I went and picked up the 60 bayles of straw we needed for the wedding in my truck and trailer, night after night I was over her house getting things organized and ready. yard work had to be done, things organized for the caters when they come. the day of the wedding I directed the wedding party on what to do and where to go, and I made sure everything was going just so. Then the day after the wedding I went and helped clean up. Now this whole entire time my gf never asked me how much I charge and I never said a price to her either. I assumed (AND TRUST ME IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN) that she would google how much a event coordinator makes and pay me somewhere in the ball park. Well this was not the case. She paid me a lousy $1300.00. I am so hurt and upset and disappointed that I cant see straight. The wedding was only 3 days ago, so Im going to say something to her. my question is how much about does a wedding planner get for everything I did?
Sorry you felt so hurt about this situation. But without a contract or even a discussion of price, you let your girlfriend decide how much your time and efforts were worth. She equated that to $1,300.00. Without you clarifying that this was, indeed, a business arrangement, beforehand, with an executed contract, your actions were a labor of love for which you were fortunate enough to be paid (something) for.
There isn’t a general rule for how much a wedding planner should get paid. It depends on what you determine your time to be worth, your level of experience, the cost of weddings in your area and what your clients are willing to pay.
I’m so sorry, but this was a tough lesson learned and a great topic for an upcoming article/episode. So, please stay tuned.
— Debbie 🙂
Thank God for weddingforaliving.com!
Happy to help. Thank you.
— Debbie 🙂
Hi Debbie, please let me know the best way to get clients, as i do planning, and custom baking, also I design wedding favors and wedding decor. The knot and wedding wire are so costly. if they will help me which agent do you prefer?thanks for your help
Thanks for writing. It’s difficult for me to answer a question like yours without having more in-depth knowledge about your company. If you’re interested in 1-on-1 consulting over the phone, please get in touch using the contact or question page on the website.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Hi Debbie – I have decided to start my own wedding planning business. I have planned a few family weddings (including both my girls weddings). I have been asked over and over if I have a business card, how long have I been in the business by vendors, photographers….. Truth is – I did it for fun and to help family. Now I am serious about starting my business. I am in the Grand Rapids, MI area and am not sure what to charge. I have been reading Wedding for a Living and it is so helpful!! Any advice would be appreciated!! Also – someone mentioned taking classes to be certified as a wedding planner – do you think this is necessary? Thanks!!
Thanks for writing. Pricing for your wedding planning services should be based on your money goals, your specialty (if you have one), your expenses (because you need to make a profit), the amount of time you put in for a wedding, and what your local wedding market (or niche) will bear. Don’t start any business without figuring out your fees. Also, take some time to conduct local research and make sure there’s a need for the service you plan to provide.
Wedding planning certification certainly isn’t necessary and certification doesn’t guarantee success; again, do your research and get feedback from former students if a particular program seems promising.
I hope this helps. Bet of luck.