“How much does a wedding planning service cost?” is the most often asked question by newly engaged couples on their wedding planning journey.
There is no one size fits all cost approach to any wedding service, nor should there be.
Just as every couple is unique so too is the planning process.
It all depends on how many hours in service you will require of your wedding planner to engage on your behalf to plan across the build of your wedding and then to deliver the day – the level of service provision is up to you and your partner.
The answer is only arrived at through an in-depth assessment and it all depends on your vision for the wedding day, how many support services, suppliers, vendors and venues that will need to be in the planning/delivery processes and also how many guests will be hosted at the ceremony space and at the reception too.
In addition, both of your career streams, life and possibly study commitments will impact the hours of your real availability during the wedding planning process. This needs consideration to capture all potential stress points.
These components are the foundation elements that will inform the costing of your wedding planning service of choice.
It is a reality that most wedding planners cost their services and, respectively, their packages differently.
Just as with any professional service the ultimate cost depends on how much detail there is across the planning, styling and coordination and how many hours will be required in service by the wedding planner to prep and deliver your requirements.
When you contact a wedding planning service be cautious of a “one cost fits all” approach and always confirm exactly what every component is in your written agreement (contract of service provision). There is a huge difference in service options and a one cost approach will see you over serviced or more likely under serviced which will mean add-ons during the planning process and most importantly for the on the day coordination too.
Thorough discussion is required as to your day, it’s style, venues of choice, how many guests you will host and all the elements that you actually require for the day.
The key questions that must be answered before a valid and accurate quote can be activated for you are as follows:
- Do you need a full wedding planning service who will engage on your behalf through the recommendation of venues, suppliers and vendors or will you do this evaluation yourselves?
- Will you need a wedding planner to manage the venue, supplier and vendor quotes and subsequently the contract activations with negotiated and secured cost schedules?
- Will you require styling of your ceremony and reception spaces commencing with vision boards and processing the wedding style required elements across key suppliers e.g. florist and decor hire elements?
- Will you require your wedding planner to act on your behalf to secure all necessary permits from state and local authorities?
- Will you require a wedding website for guest communications and a social media plan?
- Will you require floor plans for the ceremony and reception spaces along with seating plans to scale?
- Will you require guest liaison and guest concierge services before and on the day?
- Will you require the wedding planner to activate and participate in all ceremony and reception site inspections pre the selection of your venues?
- Will you require your wedding planner to activate all final site inspections pre the wedding day?
- Will you require your wedding planner to provide a full day – on the day coordination service from supplier, vendor and venue master time line and run-sheets, seating and wet weather plans for both the ceremony and reception spaces, activate and manage the time line bump in, set up and pack-downs for prep sites, ceremony space, photography shoot sites and the reception?
- Will you require guest concierge services?
- Will the wedding planner be required to coordinate all transport activations, access and issue management before and on the whole of the day?
These questions will assist to identify the exact level of service you require and also your wedding day budget. Remember your wedding planning service is a separate and additional cost to the costs of all wedding permits plus supplier, vendor and venue costs.
When there is a clear picture of what you will need in service from your wedding planner then you can confirm what level of service will be cost quoted or possibly a few options. You can always up scale your service provision along the way if you so choose by an amendment to your service agreement which, when agreed by both parties and with the additional cost schedules, will activate the new planning process.
Monthly payment plans are available from our service but always confirm in writing from any service provider, supplier, vendor or venue what will be the payment schedule across the planning, styling, on the day coordination, plus any additional coordinators (if required) and if your package includes emails, telephone calls, travel, parking and other sundries that may be not be included. If it is not stipulated do not assume it’s included.
Once these critical questions are answered and all real aspects are identified and agreed you should be given a written quote listing all service activations and elements in a full service manifest agreement so you know exactly what you are paying for and it is agreed that this is the level of service that you and your partner require.
If you confirm that you do not require a full planning service then consider what package suits you best and what will be included – there is a vast difference in service costs between a full planning and styling service than that of a partial planning, with an on the day coordination.
Be aware that there are many varied on the day coordination services so make sure you have discussed all of your wedding service requirements and that your wedding planner is totally on board with what is required in the cost quote. Then and only then proceed to engage with your wedding planner of choice. The next steps are contractual with a deposit paid to secure your wedding planning service for your day – all of which provides you with surety of service as agreed and under NSW law.
Shopping around for a wedding planner is common however what can make it tricky is the lack of clarity in service provision by wedding planners and your knowledge of what you actually will need. I have had many clients assure me that they will do all the prep and planning and will only need an “on the day coordination” then find on commencement of the on the day coordination (approx 4 weeks out from the wedding date) that there are many pre-wedding day prep elements that are not confirmed or have been overlooked and/or misunderstood as the critical agreements did not contain full manifests of services, products, hire elements, time frames, authority permits etc and the list goes on. The final details had not been considered or factored.
When this happens it is important to remember that an experienced wedding planning service will be able to correct most of the oversights but it will require more hours in service than that of your on the day coordination service so a variation to agreement will need to be processed to ensure that the wedding planner can schedule the hours of service you really need into your day and not impact any other obligations that they have to other clients who will be at various stages of the planning journey for their day. Yes, all clients work schedules are programmed into the wedding planners week/s or should be.
No matter what wedding planning service you eventually engage with, the package costs will all be based on hours required for your day and will be costed accordingly.
Therefore unless you are comparing the same same service provision it almost impossible to assess one price with another as the inclusions are almost always different – your package should be tailored for your exact requirements.
When you are trying to figure out the cost of wedding planners and the services that are available most couples don’t really know what to ask – an experienced wedding planner who really engages with you will help you through the initial stages of identification of all that you actually require.
The other consideration (when in negotiations of cost) for a “same same” service and particularly for ‘an on the day coordination’ is the opportunity to price match – a competitive cost estimate for our consideration and reply would need to be sighted before we could price match but it is doable.
I also suggest you should ask all wedding planning services these additional questions before making a commitment for your day:
- What is your experience in planning, styling and delivering wedding events?
- Does your service have current public liability cover?
- How many weddings have you secured engagement for on our day i.e. is our wedding you’re priority on the day and will the team leader be in situ on the day across all elements from Bump-in to setup and pack-down?
- How do you propose to be across our setups and management on two plus sites on the day i.e. how many are in your ‘on the day delivery team’ across the site setups and how do you factor these into the coordination process on the day across all suppliers and vendors in play from the prep areas to ceremony site, photography site locations, the pre reception experience and then the transition through to the reception itself?
- Will you provide and what is/are the wet weather plans and communications platform/s for the day?
- Do you have knowledge of any wet weather alternate spaces and possible costs in the wet weather space that may apply?
- What level of engagement is assured across email, teleconferences and face to face meetings – what’s the reality in hours and access?
- How well and what working knowledge do you have of the ceremony space and reception venue plus suppliers and vendors party to our day?
- Does this service include guest liaison and concierge services for guest seating via the guest hosting table if needs be?
- Can we add guest seating development plans to the on the day coordination service?
- Can we add MC services at the on the day coordination stage?
At LUXE – Unforgettable Events a clients program of works in planning, styling and the on the day coordination across all elements is always considered and scheduled so as to avoid conflicting and competing client requirements.
We only book one wedding per day and for very large engagements only one wedding per weekend as we are a service based company that is committed to the client experience.
I know from experience that the hours of engagement before and on the day will be in excess of the hours in our estimated quote – that is a given and one we factor into any client engagement.
This is the reality in the logistics and issues management that arise across the pre-wedding day planning and coordination process and on the day.
Our role as your wedding planner is to assess and resolve all pre-day planning, delivery and engagement issues with suppliers, vendors and venues which is paramount to the successful delivery of the day.
We also know that the in situ vision of our clients can only be delivered by the attention to every detail by your on the day coordination partnering team across all suppliers and vendors in situ at venues on the day as bump-in and set up evolves – pre-day interaction with our clients by tele chat, emails and whatever other means of communication works best for our clients is critical to ensure successful on the day delivery.
As you can see it is a complex journey that you both are about to undertake – the right wedding planner and service that you actually require will be costed according to the commitment that you have agreed with the wedding planning service to build and deliver your day – your way. Just make sure you read all terms and conditions as it is true: the devil is often in the detail.
We also offer a complimentary one hour consultation to get the wedding planning journey started – the right way and at that stage we will discuss wedding insurance with you too… but that’s an important blog topic we have already discussed here.