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Wedding Planners Income: A Comprehensive Guide

According to sites like Comparably, ZipRecruiter, and Salary.com, wedding planners’ salaries range from $14 per hour to $420,000 per year, which fails to satisfy the needs of people who wish to work in the industry: exactly how much do wedding planners make?

There’s a lot that goes into the salary discussion for jobs like wedding planning, and the answer isn’t as simple as a dollar amount. How much money can a wedding planner make each year is determined by how many hours you work, how much you charge for your services, and what additional streams of revenue you add to your company?

So, what kind of money do wedding planners make?

A wedding planner’s compensation is determined by a variety of factors. While couples are advised to set aside 15% of their entire wedding budget, this may vary considerably. To assist you in narrowing down your search, answer the following questions to get a better idea of how much a wedding planner makes.

 

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1. Where will the wedding parties you organize be held?

Your profit ceiling will also be determined by your location. For example, the average cost of a wedding in Mississippi in 2019 was $15,475, while the average cost of a wedding in Hawaii was $29,605. This also affects certain regions in states. It’s easy to see how this will influence percent-based planners, but it can also affect hourly or flat-fee payers.

2. Will you charge per hour, by percentage, or on a per-wedding basis?

It all comes down to your comfort level and the industry norm for that service, depending on what you provide. If you’re unfamiliar with the industry-standard because you’re just getting started, look around and see how other firms in your area handle things.

Let’s look at each payment method one by one:

How much money do wedding planners make per hour?

According to the Wedding Wire survey, the average hourly cost of a wedding planner is $75. On-site visits, consultations with clients, and other billable activities are included.

According to The Balance Small Business, freelancers must “remember to set clear parameters around expectations so that both parties are on the same page when it comes to what services will be offered. “As an event planner, you should include a statement regarding all reasonable business expenses that may be incurred as part of your bill. This indicates that your agreement should stipulate what clients will and will not be charged for. Then, keep track of your time and receipts so that if you need to produce a statement, it’s simple to find information.

Even if your base fee is not hourly, you may quote an hourly rate for any work that extends beyond the agreed-upon package. A good rule of thumb for any small company is to provide clients as much notice as possible if they will be charged any additional costs. You should always offer them the option just in case it affects their decision.

How much does a wedding planner charge for a percentage of the cost?

In a conversation with Brides, wedding planner Kimiko Hosaki of K.H & CO explained that charging a percentage fee is “standard practice in the business” and is “typically 20 percent (of the overall budget).”

A pro-percentage argument: Some beginning wedding planners may not know how long it will take to complete their tasks. This expertise is frequently acquired through hands-on experience, so a percentage fee over an hourly rate makes sense in this case.

Additionally, when first getting started, wedding planners are advised to keep track of exactly how much time they spend on each task and how long it takes them every day with as much accuracy as feasible. A basic spreadsheet and timer can suffice; however, sophisticated tools like Clockify may be useful for freelancers to keep track.

What are the average pay rates for wedding planners?

According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding planner in the United States in 2020 was $1,500. However, as The Knot stresses, both “national” and “average” should be emphasized. Because, like with the total pay of a wedding planner, there are several variables to consider when it comes to pre-wedding fees, including but not limited to the package and services provided (more on that later).

3. Who are you trying to reach?

 

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The type of couples you target directly affects how much money you may make as a wedding planner, just like the location where you offer your planning services. If your aim audience is, for example, young couples who have recently graduated from college, you are unlikely to earn more money as a wedding planner than a specialist in luxurious events for celebrities and CEOs. While the former accounts for the majority of wedding business, and beginning wedding planners are rarely assigned with planning a film star’s wedding, it’s still worth thinking about when starting out.

4. Have you ever done any work in this field before?

A wedding planner’s income is liable to rise as time goes on and expertise is gained, much like the pay of other professions. The prospects will improve, as will the number of reviews and contact opportunities you’ll have access to. Consider this: A wedding planner who has been in the business for only six months is unlikely to be able to charge as much as a veteran organizer.

5. How many weddings are you able to organize in a year?

Not everything you do as a wedding planner is chargeable. Beginning wedding planners devote a significant amount of time to networking, marketing, and establishing their business fundamentals. When you consider that it takes “anywhere from a few days to a few weeks” to develop a website, you can see how these operations consume up a significant amount of your focused effort.

Because beginning wedding planners are frequently freelancers, they must also deal with their own sick days, vacations, holiday time off, and other major life changes such as relocating or caring for the family.

Simply put, the number of weddings you can schedule in a year is determined by a variety of criteria, including the amount of assistance you have (is it just you or do you collaborate with others?) and the sort of planning being done (full-service, partial, day-of).For example, Bliss Events, a San Diego wedding and event planning company with four employees, has this to say on its website:

“Each Coordinator plans on 10-to-20 weddings each year by choice – a mix of Full Service, Month-of, and Custom Coordination clients. We try to plan no more than three weddings each month, with none on weekends. We maintain strict control over our workloads in order to provide our consumers the attention they deserve!

6. Will you sell services as pre-constructed packages, à la carte, or a combination of both?

 

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One of the most important elements in determining how much a wedding planner makes is the types of services provided. Standardized packages with tiered pricing and customization possibilities allow you to fine-tune your planning system. It also helps organizational administration for each client, making it easier to expand your team later on.

A la carte services may be added as upsells to your packages or can be chosen by clients without the need to commit to a larger package. You may find that clients are more inclined to hire you if they don’t feel obligated to a package that doesn’t quite match their requirements. When you’re just getting started, figure out what works best for you and your team. Then, as your services adapt to the most profitable offerings over time, rely on trial and error to fine-tune them.

7. What kind of planner will you be??  

A comprehensive wedding planner typically handles broad-picture to-do lists like negotiating contracts and coordinating vendors. A full-service planner is likely to cost the most since it’s the most comprehensive and hands-on of the various types of planners. However, this isn’t always the case.

Wedding planners, on the other hand, take over two months before the wedding date to ensure that all vendors and service providers are in sync. Coordinators may also provide day-of services, which include keeping the wedding on track and assisting the couple with running the event.

There are wedding designers who work on coming up with (and executing) mood boards, themes, layouts, and color palettes that make the event as aesthetically beautiful as the couple desires. Although this is also a highly competent job, it frequently has a lower price tag than full-service wedding planning.

If you’re a beginner wedding planner who wants to earn more money, offering all three at once is a smart move. Over time, one service may become far more popular than the other. Then you can focus on improving your expertise in that area and marketing it effectively.

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