A wedding planner is a professional service provider whose job it is to organize and execute all the details of a couple’s wedding. A wedding planner can be contracted at any stage in the wedding planning process to help to any degree the couple is willing to pay for. Wedding planning is similar to event planning in that a planning team handles the coordination of multiple wedding elements including catering, venue, guests, entertainment, decor, transportation and more. Anyone who has ever been involved in a wedding can confirm that wedding planning is hard work. Experience brings wisdom when it comes to avoiding or resolving day-of challenges. There is no legal regulatory body that oversees or certifies wedding planning as an industry. Anyone who chooses can call themselves a wedding planner. When looking for a wedding planner, be sure to read reviews, and make smart hiring decisions by asking about licenses and insurance.
On average, wedding planners charge $80 for their services. However, rates can range from roughly $50 per hour to $100 per hour, or even more than $300 per hour.
To find out how much it will cost to hire a wedding planner, request cost estimates from a few in your area. Also, keep in mind that some wedding planners may have flat fees instead of hourly rates.
Wedding planning is a full-time job — unless you hire a professional to handle the hard work for you. The cost for a wedding planner will depend on the level of service you desire. The least expensive wedding planner option is day-of coordination, then partial service, then full-service.
The national average cost for wedding planning is between $990 and $1,300. Costs are greatly affected by region, with rural or smaller-town wedding planners often far more affordable than planners in higher-cost cities. Here are some examples of the various levels of wedding planning and their potential average costs:
- Day-of-wedding coordination: $800-$1,700. Day-of services can include the planner finalizing all details, creating a timeline, confirming vendors and overseeing all setup, day-of activities, and cleanup. The couple does all the front-end planning and contracts all the vendors. Time commitment could be about 15-25 hours, depending on pricing.
- Partial service: $1,500-$3,800. Here the planner works with the couple from the beginning, helping contract vendors, creating a timeline, and overseeing all details of day-of execution. Time commitment could be about 30-60 hours, depending on package and pricing.
- Full service: $3,500-$8,000 or more. Here the professional handles all wedding and planning details including working on design, securing rentals, getting the venue and vendors, and handling complete execution of the event. Time commitment could be 50-150 hours or more, depending on package and pricing.
- Consulting: $50-$150 per hour for design, vendor, reception and other wedding planning consultation.
A wedding coordinator is involved in the wedding planning process, but some coordinators focus on the day-of activities and schedule. These professionals are sometimes referred to as “day-of wedding coordinators.” They make sure your wedding starts on time, the vendors are there and everything runs smoothly. Essentially, they are your point person. And they can help minimize the stress (and jitters) brides and grooms may experience when throwing a wedding.
Hiring a wedding planner can be worth the cost if you want to minimize your stress and save yourself time. Let’s be real — planning a wedding is a lot of work. You have to figure out a budget, shop around for vendors (DJs, bands, florists, caterers, chefs, photographers, videographers, etc.), negotiate contracts, book appointments and so much more.
If you’re not interested in planning a wedding all on your own, consider hiring a wedding planner — especially if you have the budget.
Wedding planners do exactly what their job titles indicate — they plan your entire wedding and handle the logistics. For example, they will:
- Identify the best DJs, caterers, florists, photographers and other vendors for your wedding.
- Help negotiate and set up contracts with your vendors.
- Keep track of your budget and spending.
- Make sure that everything runs smoothly on your wedding day.