Weddings can take a long time to plan and execute; wedding planners can help you tie the knot. Big weddings and elegant small affairs alike can require keeping track of many little details (and lots of big ones), including food, drink, entertainment, transportation, rehearsal dinners, photography, videography, equipment rentals, wedding and reception venue reservations, the wedding cake, the wedding party and more. You can hire a wedding planner or wedding coordinator to help with a few of these details or with all of them. A planner can oversee just the planning process; a day-of coordinator specializes in managing the run of show on the day of the event. Most wedding planners customize their pricing to fit the needs and wedding budget of each particular couple. Numerous factors affect the final cost that wedding planners charge including the type of wedding, the total budget, the event design, the size of the wedding party, and the timing and location of the event.
Type of support
Some couples would like to occasionally consult with a wedding coordinator or wedding consultant but handle most of the details themselves. Others want help with wedding vendors or just on the day of the wedding. Still others want a full-service planner to take care of every little detail. Each level of service will have a different price, and most wedding coordinators will customize pricing for each job.
Type of wedding
Many wedding coordinators specialize in a certain style, such as laid-back affairs, traditional religious weddings or blow-the-doors-off extravaganzas. Couples who want a small, understated affair should probably not work with a coordinator who likes to put on blockbuster weddings — nor pay those rates, which tend to be higher. Look for a wedding coordinator who is certified by the Association of Bridal Consultants.
Most wedding coordinators charge by the hour for consulting, which can be done in person, via email or over the phone. The wedding coordinator advises the couple on the various aspects of the wedding, but the couple actually does the work of negotiating with vendors, organizing the wedding rehearsal, handling the event design and more. Consulting is the least expensive option.
Day-of or full-service wedding coordinator
Day-of wedding coordinators help the bride and groom execute their plans on the wedding day, usually for a flat fee. The most expensive option is to hire a wedding planner to handle every last detail for the wedding. Many full-service wedding planners quote a flat rate based on a comprehensive consultation. Some flat rates are for a specific number of hours, with additional hours charged at a per-hour rate. Other planners charge a percentage of the overall budget for the wedding, or charge an hourly rate for the whole process.
Many wedding coordinators customize pricing to meet each couple’s unique needs. Denean’s Party by Design of Catonsville, Maryland, bases pricing on the number of times a couple wants to meet with the planner, the number of vendors the planner will help secure, the complexity of the decor for the wedding, the number of guests and the distance the planning team needs to travel.
Some wedding coordinators offer predetermined packages for a set price. For example, Magnolia Grove Weddings and Events of Wilson, North Carolina, offers the following packages, with additional time beyond the set package amount billed at $45 per hour:
50-hour Total Package: $2,750, including vendor coordination, wedding design assistance, budget and RSVP management, and day-of coordination, as well as one assistant on the day of the wedding
35-hour Partial Service Coordination: $1,600
25-hour Month of Coordination: $1,200
15-hour Day-of Coordination: $600
You can save money on individual vendors by going through a full-service wedding coordinator. These pros have well-established relationships with vendors and can secure preferential pricing as well as a better venue. Go with a consultant if you are on a tight budget; their help can be invaluable even if they aren’t with you every step of the way.
Wedding coordinators hate being dream killers, but they can help give you a reality check, says Ty Ellih of Ty Ellih Weddings & Events of Atlanta. The planner can't get you the best hotel in New York City at rock-bottom prices, but they may be able to find delightful venues you may not have known about.
Save time and heartbreak by setting your budget in advance.
Before meeting with a planner, couples should think through the following list of items: theme, color scheme, quantities needed for each item, budget, what's needed beyond what the venue provides.