DC Wedding Planner Cost Breakdown
When was the last time you freely gave away $15,000 to a person you just met? When you purchased your car did you tell your salesperson to just pick any car because you trust them? I bet you scrolled through your Facebook account and picked a random person to do your taxes, didn’t you?
Your answer is probably never because your parents taught you better. If you have, consider me giving you one mean side-eye because you should know better LOL.
If you’re planning a wedding you will come to find yourself in this very situation, however. You’re meeting random people and giving them your hard earned money so that you can have your ideal wedding. Before you do that, I want to explain a few things to consider.
I’ll be upfront with you on a few things. This wedding blog post is not going to give you the average costs of a wedding. You can find those details on The Knot or Wedding Wire. This post is not going to persuade you into booking me as your Wedding Planner in DC. It will not give you a cost breakdown of vendors.
So Andrew what is this post all about?
I’m going to delve into why your Wedding Planner cost what he or she costs.
I believe it’s important that you understand what is behind the price of someone’s service verses looking at blog posts that simply tell you the average costs of a wedding. Sounds good? If so, keep reading.
BONUS: There’s a free wedding budget template that you’ll find below.
Let’s cover the basics.
Step 1: Identify The Type of Wedding Planning Service You Want
For the most part there are 3 different types of wedding planning services. It’s up to you to determine who’s the best wedding planner in town and who fits your needs. This will further help you understand why you are spending a certain amount of money on them.
Day of Wedding Planning Services
A Day of Wedding Coordinator is the person that comes in after you have planned your wedding. Typically, 2-3 months before your wedding day this person meets with you and goes over all of the hard work you put in for your wedding. There is no planning with this type of wedding service as you are responsible for:
2. Deciding your theme and décor and figure out who will get the items for you
3. Managing guests via RSVPs, room blocks, seating chart and menu selections
This type of service is best for couples who are on a budget and have the time to plan their wedding.
Partial Wedding Planning Services
When you book a partial wedding planning package, your wedding planner works as your partner. You identify what items they will complete and what items you will complete. Most times this comes with a specific amount of hours being worked. You must understand that this is not a full wedding planning service. This is not a free-for-all where after you book them you can easily add more things onto their plate.
For couples who don’t mind taking on certain wedding responsibilities while you get expertise in areas you are not as strong in, this is perfect.
Full Wedding Planner Services
Any engaged couple that does not want to take on the responsibility of planning their wedding should book this service. Your wedding planner will handle all of the details based on what you ask of them.
One thing to remember with this service is that you are not removed from wedding planning. You have to make plenty of decisions and there are tasks that you have to do that a planner cannot do even if you book them for full service.
Step 2: The Different Types of Wedding Planner Fees
After you have picked a wedding planner near you, they will offer you a proposal that outlines their services and rates. There are 3 different ways a planner comes up with their fee.
Flat Fee for Wedding Planning
Based on the level of service you select; a wedding planner can give you a flat fee. A flat fee can be created in a few ways and may include:
1. A cost inclusive of all fees. This lists out all the services being offered to you and what is not included.
2. Many stipulations and caveats
3. A breakdown of each expense item that is included in the service (Below I’ll explain what is not included)
Fee Based on Percentage of Expenses
Typically, planners will charge between 15-20% of the total cost of your wedding as their fee. This depends on the complexity of the wedding and the amount of time it takes to plan and execute it.
For example, assume you are unsure of your total budget or how many guests will be at your wedding. You estimate that you will have 100 people attending. Let’s estimate that it takes a total of 100 hours to plan a wedding for 100 people. The average cost per person is $150. If a planner charges you 15% of your budget, you will pay them $2,250.
Fee Based on Hourly Rate
There are some clients that prefer the wedding planner to quote an hourly rate for service and estimate to total amount of hours it will take them. Now this might seem similar to what the flat rate is, but this offers more flexibility should changes come up. Clients tend to have a better handle on unexpected expenses.
As promised here are the things that the above services do not cover:
1. The cost of décor (flowers, lighting, linen, etc)
2. The cost of food and beverage
3. The cost of other vendors
4. Design and Styling fees. Many people do not realize that not all wedding planners are wedding designers. This means some are great with logistics while others are great with the look and feel of your wedding. There are some who are great at both.
Step 3: The Other Things Included in the Wedding Planner Fee
A big part of wedding planning is what you rarely consider. These are the typical actions that planners take depending on your individual needs.
A huge chunk of time is spent on communicating with you, your vendors, your family and anyone else to make sure everything will run smoothly. If your planner serves as your point of contact for everyone, you’ll want him/her to stay on top of everything. This means your planner will send all important documents and instructions to all parties involved.
Correspondence comes with a lot of time making sure everything makes sense. Emails and phone calls can take up to 35% of the wedding planner’s cost.
Your wedding requires a slew of meetings which are billable hours. When was the last time you left your office to go to a meeting across town and didn’t expect to be paid for it? NEVER!
These meetings include:
1. Going to see potential venues with you
2. Meeting with vendors to discuss services and contracts
3. Cake and menu tastings
4. Holding consultations with you or any in-person meeting you request
Wedding Planners have expenses that must be covered in order to give you superior services. Proper insurance, phones, internet bills, office rent, marketing, staffing, and much more.
Planners attend educational conferences, workshops, have degrees, and work towards certifications to better help them do their job. These expenses are a part of the fee you pay your planner as without them your planner is unable to execute the wedding you deserve.
While the wedding may be over, there is still work to be done. A planner will likely have to return rental equipment, follow up with vendors to close out their accounts, and more.
There are times where a couple wants to have a brunch the day after, or need help with planning their honeymoon. These are not often included in the wedding planning fee and come at an additional cost.
That sums things up and I really hope you learned a few things. Before I let you go I want to give you a BONUS tip. Click HERE to download your wedding budget template to help you identify what are the common costs for weddings.