Understanding wedding planner costs
Updated: Sep 7
Image via Jordanna Marston Photo
Finding the right suppliers for your wedding budget
We all want a good quality product for the best possible price and the only way to find that is to shop around. True.
When we shop for services, on the other hand, the value of a service is not always easy to determine. Not in simple 'physical' terms anyway. One would immediately start thinking, what would I pay for this service? How much is this worth to me? Some of us look for deals and discounts but most want quality.
I often have clients ask if I could lower my pricing or price-match a planner who is offering the same packages for a third of my prices.
Price disparities can happen for a number of reasons:
Location - will influence someone's overheads considerably
Experience - new planners charge less so they can build experience
Not understanding how business works - they haven't invested in training or analysed their profit prediction margins correctly and have no idea what to charge
Deliberately (substantially) undercutting competitors to build up client portfolio even if running at a loss (the most frowned-upon practice which lowers industry standards and hurts honestly run businesses)
How vendors work out their pricing
As in any business, we, the wedding vendors have to (and definitely should!) carefully calculate our prices according to our:
general business running costs (all the overheads and expenses)
TIME spent on each booking/client
If we don't do this correctly, we won't be running a business for long = charging peanuts for our services simply won't be sustainable in the long run.
As we don't have an industry regulator as such, we each have to determine our value and prove this value to our clients by explaining what is it they are gaining by hiring us.
The importance of protecting industry standards
What often happens is that some less experienced vendors skip investing in training or analytics, and simply copy other vendors' business setups, someone who they admire or want to be like, and offer the same packages for considerably less money, which is not only detrimental to their business in the long run (as it is not sustainable financially), but it is outright irresponsible. What is not realised here is that by considerably undercutting competitors they are confusing the potential clients and damaging their industry by lowering industry standards.
This behaviour is then not viewed as competitive but outright damaging.
What should you ask yourself before booking a wedding supplier?
As a client reading this, you should weigh out the pros and cons for each supplier you are looking to book:
Will you get all that you wanted for the price they have quoted?
How much experience do they really have?
How much talent do they have?
How confident are you that they will deliver what you have asked for?
Are you willing to compromise on the quality and go for the cheaper quote?
All new planners/vendors have to start somewhere to gain experience, for sure. It is totally acceptable to do a few weddings/events for a low cost when starting out to gain experience and understand the workings of an event/wedding. If you're cool with taking a risk on a newbie - listen, they could be more than capable, by all means - do. Find out how and with whom they have trained and for how long. Ask them for references. Ask them to explain how is it that they can help you achieve the level of service you will need from them. If you feel that they are good for it, book them.
But if a planner claims that they have a number of years of experience in the event industry and are still charging £500 or less for On the Day Coordination, there is something fundamentally wrong with their capability for running a good business.
Example - approximate time spent on a typical Wedding Day Coordination package:
1 hour – initial zoom-call consultation
1 hour – creating and sending your contract for services and processing payments including scheduling billing for future payments
2 hours – in-person meeting before the wedding to go through details and planning checklists with the couple (including travel time)
2 hours – phone and email communication with clients before the wedding
2 hours – create and finalise the wedding day timeline and vendor list
2 hours – communicating with and confirming all vendors
2 hours – attend a final walk-through meeting at the venue with the client to review details and logistics (including travel time)
12-14 hours – actual time on-site during the event/wedding day
2 hours - travel to and from the venue, on the day.
1 hour – follow up after the wedding with clients and return any rental items
= 29 hours of planners' time.
If a planner were to charge £500 for this service, they would only make £14.50 per hour BEFORE taxes and business expenses.
After taxes and business expenses which generally account for up to 50% (or more) of income, they will be only making about £7.25 per hour.
To put it into perspective, the minimum wage in the UK is £10.42 per hour.
These rates do not include the cost of paying an extra team member nor do they account for meetings that are more than 15 minutes from their registered address.
How many weddings would they have to do per year to be able to make a decent living at this rate? The math doesn't add up - red flag!
The time spent on your wedding planning should be reflected in your planner's quote
My prices are calculated fairly for both my clients and my business, and the TIME, dedication, expertise and talent that go into all my full wedding planning, design and styling, and coordination packages are of incredible value (in my and any of my previous client's opinions). Not to mention that I always over-deliver.
On average it could take a couple up to 200 - 300 hours of planning a wedding from start to finish. Having a planner on board will shave this considerably. They will not only save you time but money too. They have brilliant industry connections, will know which suppliers are the best for you and can negotiate better deals. Having a good planner on board is one of the smartest moves you can make when planning a wedding.
The average cost of UK wedding planners in 2023, for full planning, is generally around 10-15% of your overall wedding budget, with a minimum fee starting price as standard, or a fixed fee for high-budget weddings.
I hope you find this article useful.
Check out our packages and what you get for your money here.
Happy wedding planning!
Whole Lotta Love,