Why Do Wedding Planners Charge What They Do?

Most couples planning a wedding recognise that they need some help to take on that never-ending wedding planning to-do list so they can enjoy the lead up to one of the best days of their life. And they almost certainly realise that they’ll need help on the actual day itself.

But determining what help you need and how much you should to pay for it is tricky when you have no experience in planning a wedding. And this can leave you asking yourself the question why do wedding planners charge what they do?

How Do You Know What You Need and How Much it Should Cost?

I’ve previously written a blog post asking the question do you need a wedding planner? In that article I contrasted the experience of working with a professional wedding planner versus having a friend or someone who does weddings for a hobby help you with your wedding planning. If you’re asking yourself the same question you might like to read that post next.

Here I’m going to help you understand why professional wedding planners charge what they do. And before we get started, I know we don’t make it easy for you to understand this, because we all charge differently!

Why Do Prices Vary Between Wedding Planners?

That’s a good question to start with! 

Think of it this way. When you’re spending any significant amount of money, you will usually seek out several quotes and it’s common for them to differ. Whether you’re hiring a builder or buying a washing machine, price variations are pretty normal. My price varies from other Melbourne wedding planners because what I personally have to offer you is as unique as the wedding you’re planning. Just like no two weddings are the same, no two planners or designers are the same either. Which means when you’re comparing wedding planners you need to look beyond their price and consider their value. 

What is the value being offered to you by the person you’re considering

Keep in mind that what you value will also differ from what someone else values. And part of that value is the connection you feel with a professional. There are many hours of wedding planning ahead of you and you want to make sure you’re sharing the experience with someone you like and trust. Along with someone who can take the long hours of work off your plate.

So Why Do Wedding Planners Charge What They Do?

To help you with this question of value I thought it might be fun to share with you a breakdown of what I do and how long it takes. I’m going to start by saying that even though there’s a fair amount of detail here, it’s still an overview. But I’m hoping that it will demystify the process for you somewhat and help you to understand why I charge the prices I charge.

They say it takes an average of 250 hours to plan a wedding. Which is a lot of time.

But does it really take that amount of time?

Below is an overview of the inclusions in our Full Wedding Planning service:

  • Complete wedding day management from start to finish
  • Venue selection including up to three potential venue walk throughs plus two venue meetings
  • Hand-selecting and booking all vendors
  • Venue and vendor management including communications, meetings, reviewing quotes and booking
  • Regular planning sessions in person or via Zoom
  • Detailed wedding budget with tracking of payment due dates
  • Administration including venue and vendor paperwork, comprehensive timeline, vendor contact list and floorplan
  • RSVP management if required
  • Rehearsal coordination at your venue

But what this doesn’t show you is how many hours it takes to deliver on each of these line items and all of the tasks that surround them. It doesn’t show you why wedding planners charge what they do.

To help you understand just how many hours go into planning and executing a wedding day, I recently broke down how many hours myself and my team spent working with a couple as their Full Wedding Planning and Wedding Design & Styling Team. This breakdown started from our initial meeting right through to me being the last to leave on the evening of their reception (at their request).

The total blew that 250 hour figure out of the water!

How Many Hours Does it Really Take to Plan & Design a Wedding?

Our ‘case study’ wedding was a reasonably average wedding. Correction. The wedding itself wasn’t average, or standard (it was fabulous) but what we did for this couple followed a pretty normal workflow for Evenio. Yes, every wedding has its own unique tasks and this one was no different – so there are some additional tasks in here that we don’t offer as standard with our full Wedding Planning & Wedding Planning & Design services (eg, pack down and delivery of personal décor).

Additionally this wedding was a marquee wedding and the groom’s mother wanted to be involved in the planning and communication and the couple wanted this too. Even so, as most weddings have something a little different, it still offers a good guide to how many hours it takes to plan a wedding.

The breakdown:

  • Meetings: 130 hours. Includes selecting the venue and vendors, meetings with the chosen venue and vendors, plus meetings with the couple and the groom’s mother. We also attended tastings and helped the groom and his best man select their wedding day attire. Also includes travel to and from meetings.
  • Phone/Zoom Calls, Emails and Texts: 86 hours. Across a 12-month period.  
  • Administration: 32 hours. Includes creating a detailed checklist of tasks for the couple, drawing up/editing and distributing the timeline, styling plan, seating plan and floorplan.
  • Budget: 22 hours. Includes drawing up the budget, a budget meeting, managing the budget and setting up a payment schedule for the couple (for all venue and vendor payments).
  • Guest Communication: 11 hours. Includes managing RSVPs and a transport/accommodation plan for out of town guests, phone calls to guests who have not RSVP’d and emails to guests with special requests.
  • Design: 30 hours. Includes designing the look and feel of the wedding day, compiling/editing a look-book in collaboration with the couple and design vendors. Also includes meetings on-site with the marquee company and working on a furniture and lighting plan.
  • Vendor Coordination: 20 hours. Includes working on requirements, timings, inventory and logistics for the day with vendors. Plus liaising closely with the caterer who had to set up their own kitchen on site.
  • Wedding Rehearsal: 4 hours. Including planning and travel.
  • On the Day: 17 hours. Includes an additional team member, styling and setting up for eight hours plus travel for both of us. *5 hours of additional time from me to stay until the end of the event and assist with pack-down which was charged separately as per below.
  • Pack-down: 8 hours. Including coordinating the bump out of all vendors, packing down the couple’s personal décor and travel time to return personal décor to the couple’s home.

Total Hours: 365

And of course, on top of this we have our costs of running a business. 

  • Office overheads
  • The cost of software/online programs we use with our couples (planning + design software)
  • Travel
  • Specific materials/tools purchased for our weddings
  • Uniforms
  • Taxes
  • Insurances
  • Accounting fees
  • And more! 

Factor these costs into the hours spent on a wedding and I’m guessing you’re glad I don’t charge by the hour!

Value Over Price

Whilst the above breakdown might be a bit overwhelming, it’s not meant to be. All of these tasks and the time they take is what I love to do. And I’m experienced at doing them – which means I will carry them out efficiently and in far less time than you or your friend probably will.

And the bigger question is, do you have 365 spare hours over the next 12 months to devote to planning your wedding? That’s more than 7 hours a week (4 if you take the average planning time of 250 hours)!

What would spending this amount of time each week on your wedding cost you?

If you’re like so many of our couples you struggle to find even two hours of extra time each week for the things you need to do outside of work, your relationship and sporting/social commitments. I hope that I’ve helped to understand why I and other wedding planners charge what they do and encouraged you to factor value into your price considerations. 

How many hours will it take to plan your wedding? Remember I said that every wedding is unique. It’s true. So whilst the above is a handy guide to why wedding planners charge what they do, it’s not focused on your wedding.

Let’s chat about your wedding so I can give you an insight into how long it will take to plan and what it will cost you, so you can make a well-considered decision about investing in a wedding planner for your big day.

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