How Much Does A Wedding Planner Cost?


Planning a wedding is a challenge for the uninitiated. It takes top notch organizational skills, business flair, and strong negotiation techniques. That’s where wedding consultants come in. They offer a range of services, from full wedding planning, to a more limited, supportive role, to wedding-day coordination. They recognize that some brides like to keep maximum control over the preparations, in which case they’re more than willing to take the backseat and offer advice or assistance as needed. In other cases, brides start out without a wedding planner only to find themselves overwhelmed as time goes on. That’s why many wedding consultants are willing to step in a few weeks or months before the big day. Some also offer to serve as coordinators only on the wedding day itself.

Wedding consultants can do some or all of the following:

-Help you plan your wedding from A to Z. They can handle all planning aspects, help find creative solutions to your problems and come up with cost-effective alternatives to your most expensive tastes. They can help you get the best value for your money and make sure you don’t exceed your budget. And they’re there to ensure that your vision of your wedding day becomes reality, from securing the perfect ceremony and reception locations, to booking vendors who deliver on their promises, to making sure everything and everyone is at the right place at the right time on the big day.

-Negotiate with wedding vendors. Through years of experience, wedding consultants get to know hosts of vendors. They’re familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. They know vendors who consistently deliver quality services. And they can help match your needs with the vendors who can meet them. Wedding consultants are also skilled negotiators. Because they know the wedding industry well, vendors are less likely to dupe them into higher prices or sales gimmicks.

-Get discounts or perks. Over the years, wedding consultants establish close working relationships with vendors their clients have found most reliable. Due to the volume of business consultants help generate, vendors are often willing to offer them special discounts or perks. You can get more bang for your buck by hiring vendors referred by
a wedding consultant.

-Schedule meetings and review contracts. Wedding consultants can provide basic organizational and administrative support. They can schedule and keep track of your appointments with vendors. They can accompany you to all your meetings and help you make final decisions before booking vendors. And they can review written contracts before you sign them to make sure they clearly spell out the vendors’ obligations and protect you from poor service or fraud.

-Act as a go-between with vendors and family members. Wedding consultants can be masterful coordinators, peacemakers, and etiquette experts. They can communicate with various vendors on your behalf, and even
difficult guests or family members. They can work out compromises to keep everyone happy, all the while sparing you the stress of dealing with conflicts or misunderstandings.

-Coordinate your wedding day. The big day is here and you have to get your hair and makeup done, get into your wedding gown, take photos with your family, and make sure everything is on schedule for the ceremony and reception. The pressure can fray the calmest of nerves. Your wedding consultant can take care of all the details for you. Armed with a cellular phone and pager, the consultant can keep track of events on multiple fronts and handle unforeseen delays or problems with flair and composure.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of hiring a wedding consultant depends on the services you want. Expect to spend about 10 to 15 percent of your total budget for full wedding planning. However, you can also request hourly consultations if you only want advice and referrals for a specific aspect of your wedding. Or you can hire a consultant only to coordinate the actual wedding day.

Stay away from consultants who claim their services are “free.” They usually get kickbacks or commissions from vendors, which means they’ll pressure you into hiring those vendors they stand to benefit from the most. Also beware of consultants who charge a percentage of your total budget for their services. The more you’re willing to spend on your wedding, the more money they make. Your best bet is to go with a consultant who offers fixed-rate packages or a flat fee based on the services you want.

By G.T. Khouri