A wedding planner can be a couple's greatest ally when it comes to their big day. Wedding planners know the ins and outs of the wedding industry better than most other people ever will--the pros and cons of the area's vendors, the latest trends and much more. The prices wedding planners charge, though, vary quite a bit, depending on a number of factors.
Like all consultant-based professions, a wedding planner's salary can vary greatly. As of 2010, though, the average wedding planner charges approximately £975 a wedding and plans an average of 30 weddings a year, giving her a salary of approximately £29,250. But this can be a hard-earned £29,250. Many wedding planners tend to go into business for themselves, which can incur many costs in the first five years of business. Most wedding planners also base their fees on a couple's wedding budget and needs. For the standard services, including dealing with the wedding vendors, keeping the wedding on budget, making the wedding's theme come to life and confirming all reservations and deposits, most planners will charge the couple between 10 and 15 per cent of their wedding's budget. There are also day-of-wedding planners who simply ensure that the day's events go smoothly. They usually charge 3 to 5 per cent of the wedding's budget.
Several features and skills go into determining how much a wedding planner should charge. Years of experience and a multitude of happy, satisfied clients are two of the most important factors, as they can earn a planner a solid reputation and clients via word of mouth. A wedding planner could also direct potential clients to contact some of his past customers to verify his professionalism and hard work ethic.
Just as wedding venues and flowers can vary by price based on their location, so can wedding planners. Those who reside in large metropolitan areas tend to be able to charge more due to a variety of factors, including cost of living and demographics. Wedding planners in Manhattan, New York City, Los Angeles and Miami tend to charge the most. A wedding planner's salary may also vary based on the time of year. Most weddings take place in the summer, fall and in December, meaning the jobs a wedding planner is able to obtain may ebb and flow with the time of the year.
From a relative to a professional planner with three books written on the subject, anyone can act as a wedding planner. The industry is not as well regulated as many other professions, and because of that, there are no hard and fast rules on who qualifies as a top-notch and top-paid planner and who doesn't. For people who are just starting out in the profession, there are a few steps that wedding planning professionals such as Leslie Weekes of Leslie-Manning Events suggest they take. Weekes thinks it's a good idea to get some party planning and events training under their belts before setting out to specifically become wedding planners. She also advises that those new to the profession take several wedding planning courses and join a few associations such as the Association for Wedding Professionals International, the Association for Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC), June Wedding, Inc., and the Association of Bridal Consultants.
Though wedding planners mostly undertake the same tasks, their pay scale and payment method may differ depending on who their employer is. If a wedding planner is self-employed, she can simply settle on a flat fee or calculate a fee based on the couple's needs. If she is a wedding planner who works for an agency, the agency's owner will likely evaluate her skills, her level of responsibility and her level of experience before determining a yearly salary for the planner. If she works or contracts for a specific venue, her fee will likely be a percentage of whatever the establishment is getting paid for the wedding. For instance, if one couple is paying the venue £13,000 to have their wedding there, the planner may receive anywhere from 3 to 10 per cent of that fee, depending on whatever rate the venue and planner have worked out. These types of planners are often referred to as freelance wedding planners, and they may also work on other types of events and parties.