‘How much does a wedding planner cost’ is probably one of the most asked questions by couples considering hiring a professional to plan their wedding.
And I understand why.
Regardless of what your budget is, very few of us have an unlimited amount of money to spend, so how much a wedding planner costs is a question you must ask.
But really, how much does a wedding planner cost?
A national survey in Australia found that the average cost for a wedding planner was around $2,002 for a $20,000 wedding, which is about 10% of the total wedding cost.
Many planners charge a percentage of the total wedding expenses and some charge by the hour, with the average cost of wedding planner services around $70 to $150/hour (Source: OneFlare)
I’m upfront about my costs and share them in my brochure, which is easily accessible from my website. If you’re curious about how much a wedding planner in Melbourne costs, you can review my pricing here.
If you’ve started researching the cost of wedding planners in Melbourne, you may have found even greater variations than revealed in this survey.
And there are primarily two reasons for that.
No two wedding planners are the same
When you first start looking for a wedding planner and enquiring about pricing you’ll soon realise that packages and pricing can vary considerably. Two wedding planners servicing the same clients in Melbourne or the surrounding region, may have very different pricing.
And whilst that can be frustrating, it is understandable.
Wedding planners enter the profession from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. Some will have undertaken a short course or wedding planning masterclasses to learn their craft, others will learn alongside established wedding planners, and then there are those with corporate event training and experience. The industry also attracts people with project management, hospitality, floristry and interior design skills and experience. I’ve talked about my journey to becoming a wedding planner here.
What a wedding planner includes in their package and the value they place on their services is based on their years of experience both in and out of the wedding industry. Pricing is also influenced by individual service standards and an understanding of what it takes to uphold those standards whilst planning a wedding and seamlessly executing it on the day.
Whilst the variances in pricing can make it more difficult for you to choose your wedding planner, I like to look at it this way – there really is a wedding planner for everyone.
No two weddings are the same
This second reason that there’s so much variation in the cost of wedding planners relates specifically to your wedding. A wedding consists of countless details, decisions and logistics. And after years of planning weddings in and around Melbourne, I can hand on my heart say that no one wedding is ever the same as the next. Two weddings at the same venue with the same vendors will still be different from each other. And of course, the two of you and your ‘story’, and style impact the type of wedding you’ll have.
Which is why you need to go beyond price to consider value when shopping for a wedding planner in Melbourne.
Value versus price
Considering value starts with you identifying what’s important to you when it comes to your wedding. Wedding planners often refer to this as your vision and priorities for the day.
An example of your vision and priorities in action is choosing to have a smaller guestlist for your wedding because you value spending more time with guests on the day, and being able to stretch your budget further to include fine wines, food and service.
Another example is hiring someone like me to help you plan your wedding. For many couples, engaging the services of a wedding planner is an investment in being able to enjoy the process of planning their wedding rather than feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work involved. And of course it’s a huge investment in the day itself, because a wedding planner or wedding coordinator will ensure your plans are brought to life, so you can focus on experiencing and enjoying the day alongside your family and guests.
With what you value most at the forefront of your mind, rather than simply asking the question ‘what does a wedding planner cost?’ your next step is to research and interview a range of wedding planners. Your aim should be to find a planner who you connect with on a personal/professional level and whose service offerings make the realisation of your wedding day vision possible.
Your wedding budget
When considering who to hire as your wedding planner, you should also factor in your overall budget.
But don’t stop there.
I recommend researching costs prior to making firm bookings with your venue and any of your vendors. This enables you to determine the best way to distribute your budget across all the areas of your wedding. When you approach planning your wedding this way, it’s much easier to ensure you have the funds to pay for the things that matter most to you.
If you need help identifying your wedding day vision and priorities and with creating a budget that helps you achieve the wedding of your dreams, let’s talk.
Questions to ask a wedding planner before you hire them
Here’s a guide to the questions you can ask a wedding planner to help you determine if their pricing will provide you with the value you’re looking for. Keep in mind that this is a guide only. Not all of the questions will relate to your wedding and you may have some additional ones of your own to ask.
When considering a Wedding Planner’s price it’s important to understand what it does and does not include. I provide detailed information about pricing and package inclusions in my brochure and proposal.
Ask these questions to understand what a wedding planner’s pricing includes/excludes.
- How is your fee calculated? A flat fee, a percentage of my total budget, an hourly amount, or another way?
- Do you charge extra for travel, mileage, parking or anything else?
- Do you take a commission from any of the vendors you refer us to?
- What amount do you require for a deposit?
- When is the final payment due?
- What is your cancellation/change of date policy?
- Are there additional fees I should know about?
These questions will help you to ‘dig deeper’ into a wedding planner’s service offerings to help you assess the value of their packages.
- How do I communicate with you during the planning process and are there any limitations around communication?
- Do you have preferred suppliers you can recommend?
- Will you attend vendor meetings and dress fittings with me?
- Do you attend the wedding rehearsal?
- Will you create a contingency plan for wet/bad weather if our event is outside?
- Do you create our floor plans, styling plans and a timeline?
- Do you have assistants working with you on-site? What is their level of experience?
- Are there aspects of the planning process that you don’t help with?
- Is there anything you will not do for us on the day of our wedding?
- Do you manage guest communication?
- How many hours are you available for on the day of our wedding?
It’s important to have a good connection with your wedding planner from the outset. You will potentially work with them for months or more whilst planning your wedding and of course they’ll be there on the day too. Ideally your relationship will develop and strengthen over that time.
A good wedding planner doesn’t just carry out the duties you’ve hired them to do – they become an advocate for you and the vision you have for your day.
- Can we meet with you personally before booking your services?
- How many times do you typically meet with clients during the planning process?
- Do you prefer to communicate in person, by phone, or email?
- How many years of experience do you have?
- Have you worked at our venues before?
- Will you be our main point of contact and the person managing our wedding on the day or will it be someone else?
- Can you provide a list of references that we can contact?
- Are you insured?
In this article I’ve given you a guide to what a wedding planner in Melbourne costs and shared my own pricing too. But I have also strived to help you understand how to assess not only the cost of a potential wedding planner, but also the value they can bring to your wedding.
You might also like to read this article with tips for helping your guests to feel comfortable on your wedding day. Each of the tips are things that a Wedding Planner can help you to plan for so your wedding guests enjoy every moment of your wedding day.
Image via: TodaysBride.com