When it comes to planning your wedding, it’s tempting to procrastinate and put off thinking about the detail until you “find the time.” Setting the date is the first step; once you have it marked on the calendar, the reality of your wedding day will start to set in. If you’ve already settled on a date but have yet to start planning, start by researching the wedding planning resources available to you in your area.
It’s worth writing down the costs of your dream venue, favorite caterer and other necessities to figure out how much savings you’ll have left over to hire a professional planner. Whether you take on the responsibility yourself or hand it over to an expert, you’ll want to establish a budget to make sure you celebrate in style without breaking the bank.
Chances are you’re asking yourself not only how much hiring a wedding planner costs, but whether it’s really a necessary step towards organizing the perfect wedding. Booking a venue, decorating, organizing food and drink, and sending out invites aren’t difficult tasks on their own, but they do begin to stack up, especially if you’re working full time in the months leading up to your wedding.
Most venues, suppliers and vendors have to be booked well in advance and there’s a timeline to inviting guests and arranging logistics ahead of the big day. Communication, availability and the ability to troubleshoot become extra important; when you’re dealing with so many moving parts, you’ll have to work out the kinks along the way.
Experienced wedding planners will already have a structured timeline they can tailor specifically to your needs. Your initial consultation with a planner gives you the opportunity to set a clear budget, scale and vision for your wedding.
Hiring a professional can often save you money in the long run; they are the one with the network and connections to venues and vendors that fit within your budget. They may even be able to score you deals and packages that you wouldn’t have known to look for otherwise.
When figuring out how much of your savings to set aside towards a wedding planner, you’ll have to decide what kind of help you’re looking for. Full- service planners handle even the most daunting tasks related to the event, the months leading up to it, and even loose ends that need to be tied up afterwards.
A full service planner can be hired long in advance; starting planning eight months to a year before the date is customary. If hired for an extended period of time, many professionals will charge a flat fee depending on the size and scale of your wedding. If you want to go all-out with a huge guest list, a large venue and plenty of special touches, expect to pay your planner a higher fee. The cost of full services can hover anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 (£2,250 to £7,500) and above. It’s best to compare and contrast a few different individuals and base your decision on the planner’s expertise, portfolio, and understanding of your vision. Keep in mind that the longer you wait before getting started, the more you may have to pay your hire; planners have busy schedules too!
If you live in a large urban area like London or New York, you may also want to consider having your wedding outside of the city to save money. Demand is usually lower in smaller towns, so you might be able to find a star planner working locally for a lesser rate.
If you’re looking for help with a handful of specific tasks as opposed to every element of the wedding, a partial planner might be your best bet. Partial or part-time planners are more likely to charge per task or by the hour, making things easier on your wallet. If you need a hand researching and booking a venue, for example, a partial planner can focus on finding your perfect destination while you search for the perfect suit or dress. Expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 (£1,525 to £4,570) on a part- time planner, depending on individual rates and the magnitude of the tasks at hand.
What if you’ve already got everything set in stone, but are worried about the big day itself going smoothly? Since you’ll be preoccupied with, well, getting married, having someone else supervise might be a good idea. That’s where wedding coordinators come in; working on a slightly different level than planners, coordinators often focus on the day of. That means making sure the venue is set up, arranging transportation, seating guests, keeping the ceremony seamless and overseeing clean up. In the days leading up to the wedding, the coordinator may facilitate all of the communication needed to make sure everyone’s on the same page, including caterers, servers, entertainers, venue staff and others. A coordinator will most often charge by the hour, and rates can land anywhere from $80 to $150 (£60 to £115) an hour.
Before you settle on a hire, interview a few candidates to get a taste of different planning styles and services. Make sure your expectations and budget are clear so that the planner or coordinator’s efforts can be fully concentrated on everything you want your wedding day to be.
Though the average cost of any wedding will obviously vary depending on how large or intimate a ceremony you’re looking for, expect to have to set aside a sizable chunk of your savings to cover every detail. According to Business Insider and Harper’s Bazaar, an average wedding costs about $22,000, or nearly £17,000.
Wedding venue rental will be a large part of your budget, along with decor, floral centerpieces, catering, drinks, invitations and transportation for you and/or your guests. Marriage license and officiant fees, guest favors, outfits and your wedding bands all contribute to your overall cost as well. You can’t forget the people who make it all happen, either; servers, musicians, photographers, videographers and planners all need to get paid. Keep all of the above in mind when outlining your wedding day budget, and save some extra cash for unexpected twists; a back up plan in case of cancellations or other mishaps is always a good idea.