How Much Does A Wedding Planner Cost & Should You Hire One?

Tiana Soto
October 31st, 2019 | 5 minutes
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Your wedding should be the best day of your life – not the most stressful. Yet given the chaos of having a party with your family and friends, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with planning, organizing, and budgeting, even if you take advantage of all the helpful resources out there. This is the sole reason why wedding planners exist! They are your ticket to offloading wedding stress, giving you more time for marital bliss, but they sometimes come with a hefty price.

To give you an idea of what to expect when hiring a wedding planner, we’ll look at the types of wedding planners available to you and what they cost.

The different types of wedding planners

Wedding planners come in all sorts of varieties, usually categorized by how early they get involved in the process. For this article, we’ll focus on the 3 most common types of wedding planners.

Day-of wedding planner

Just need someone to answer guest questions, explain the seating chart to the caterer, or make sure the cake is delivered? Then a day-of wedding planner may be right for you. Specializing in things like putting up decorations and managing caterers/vendors, a day-of wedding planner generally just keeps the moving parts organized on the actual day of your wedding.

They are also lightly involved in the preparation leading up to the big day for organizational matters, specifically with things like:

  • Prepping the wedding-day timeline and all vendor distribution
  • Coordinating any selected wedding professionals
  • Managing the wedding rehearsal

Month-of wedding planners

These types of wedding planners are recommended for couples who need assistance as soon as it starts to hit “wedding crunch time” - a month out from your wedding day. They’ll perform all of the duties of a day-of wedding planner, but get involved sooner in the process to handle a little more of the load and allow for more time to iron any kinks out.

In addition to the day-of responsibilities we’ve listed, month-of wedding planners will take care of additional duties like:

  • Reviewing all the planning you’ve done so far and discuss any forgotten details
  • Recommending any services or items that may have slipped through the cracks
  • Visiting the venue with you to go over the floor plan

Full-service wedding planner

Finally, for those couples desiring max stress relief for their big day, the full service or all-inclusive wedding planner may be the best route to take! These types of planners join the team as soon as the wedding planning begins, helping you each step of the way.

They’ll guide you through major milestones such as hiring particular vendors, keeping your budget in line, and conceptualizing the look and feel of your big day. In addition to any day-of or month-of responsibilities, they’ll also help with:

  • Negotiating rates for any vendor services
  • Ensuring your guests have a memorable experience
  • Throwing bridal showers and rehearsal dinners
  • Mediating families when it comes to decor choices and menu picks

A full service wedding planner is undoubtedly the most expensive option; however, their invaluable skills are often worth it!

How much does a wedding planner costs & how are they paid?

The cost of your wedding planner is dictated by which planner type you go with. In general, the earlier in the process a planner become involved, the higher your planner’s cost will be. Moreover, planners are typically paid using one of three methods: hourly, flat fee, or as a percentage of your overall wedding budget.

Hourly costs

Some planners prefer to charge you for each hour of service. Short-term planners, like day-of and month-of planners, tend to utilize this method of payment. Typically, they will charge you a similar rate for in-person duties on the wedding day and consultation sessions beforehand, which can be done over the phone.

It is recommended that you agree beforehand on how many hours they will work, rather than totaling it up after the fact. This will help you remain in greater control of your budget throughout the process.

Expect your wedding planner’s services to cost at least $75 per hour and up to $275 if you go with super experienced or well-known planners.

Flat fee costs

Rather than charging hourly, some wedding planners may require a flat fee that can be paid in its entirety as soon as they are hired or split into multiple payments.

The flat fee to hire a day-of or other short-term wedding planner is usually in the range of $1,500 to $3,000. Hiring a full-service wedding planner, who will need to attend multiple events and meet with the couple several times, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.

Percentage costs

In some cases, full-service wedding planners may charge a percentage of your total wedding budget. So, a simple wedding with a smaller budget may not incur much of a cost, while an elaborate wedding, requiring your planner to manage many details, will be more expensive.

These all-inclusive wedding planners will typically charge between 10-20% of the wedding’s overall budget.

Save for your wedding with Zeta

Whether or not to hire a wedding planner is just one of the many financial decisions you and your future spouse will make together. While financial planning for newly married couples may not come easy, tools like Zeta can help!

Zeta is a personal finance app designed just for couples looking to effectively manage their finances as a team. From features like bill reminders and shared budgets to savings goals and split transactions, Zeta is an advocate for healthy financial communication between you and your partner.

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