Ask the Expert: Understanding Wedding Planner Pricing

Expert: Corinne Sullivan, Social Graces Weddings & Events

If you have started looking for a wedding planner, you may have noticed quite a few differences when it comes to how planners price their services. It can be overwhelming trying to understand them all and decide what may be best for you, so we have broken down a few common pricing structures below along with the perks and advice for each.

It is important to note that there is no wrong way for a planner to price their services. While some planners may stick to one type of pricing, others may mix and match. It is about finding what works best for you and your vision for your big day.

Flat Fee

This is one of the more common ways planners price their packages. Flat Fee pricing provides you with a cost of services up front despite budget or time spent.

Perks – Flat fee pricing is straightforward, you know what your costs will be for a specific package with little or no variation expected.

Advice – Be sure to have a clear understanding of what is included and what is not to avoid surprises. In some cases, flat fee pricing can mean the planner takes on more weddings a year in order to be profitable, therefore unable to provide you with the level of attention you may be looking for. This is not always the case though, so be sure to ask how many events they manage at a time.

Hourly Pricing

Hourly pricing is often combined with other pricing methods such as a flat fee, or as an add on service outside of an initial scope of work.

Perks – Hourly pricing can be a good fit for those looking for a consultant to guide them along the way or to add on to an existing planning package with specific a la carte services.

Advice – Make sure you discuss estimated hours with your planner and ask for regular communication.

Percentage Pricing

Percentage pricing means the planner will charge a percentage of your overall budget or mix of vendors (for example, creative vendors). This is a common practice for planners who specialize in full service planning and design. While it can be intimidating, this is the best way for a planner to be accurately compensated for their time spent on a specific wedding. For example, a wedding with a large-scale design or high guest count will mean more vendors to manage

throughout planning and team members needed day-of, as well as extensive creative design skills provided by the planner.

Perks – Percentage pricing allows planners to be more hands on with their weddings and provides a more tailored approach. When charged a percentage, you can expect a level of service that is detailed, creative and unique to you, with piece of mind you are not paying for unused hours.

Advice – Ask questions! Make sure you know what you will be charged a percentage of. You can also ask for an estimation of what you could expect to spend (knowing it could change based on your overall spend). Don’t be afraid to ask for options. Percentage pricing should not mean you will be shown only the highest priced quotes, but instead should be based on the overall level of service your big day requires.

When looking for a planner, it is most important to go with someone you trust who can provide you with the services and experience you are looking for to bring your vision for your big day to life.

About the Expert: Corinne Sullivan, owner of Social Graces and a Certified Wedding Planner with the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners is a lover of laughter, perfectly themed soirees, fancy dinner dates, and well-organized timelines. She built her company on a genuine passion for wedding planning and focuses on creating an experience filled with joy, ease, and confidence from your first meeting to your grand exit. Corinne’s passion is evident as she walks you through picking out all the pretty things and navigating the not so pretty things. Couples and parents alike value her calm demeanor and find her to be “the perfect combination of personal and professional”. When the big day comes, it is her mission to ensure you have the day you’ve always dreamt of.

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