How Much Does a Wedding Planner Cost? (In the USA)

By July 13, 2018Advice
beautiful floral wedding arrangement

In theory, your wedding should be a simple celebration of you and your partner’s love and commitment to each other. But as soon as you get engaged and the wedding bells start ringing, you’ll discover that getting everything ready for your big day is anything but simple.

From finding the perfect venue, scheduling the date, and making travel arrangements for your guests to hiring the caterers, the photographer, and the DJ – planning your wedding can be very stressful.

Thankfully, as many experienced brides will surely tell you, hiring a wedding planner can help take the stress out of the equation. That way, you can have your dream wedding without turning into a bridezilla in the build-up to your big day.

But what exactly does a wedding planner do? More importantly, how much will it cost you to hire one?

What Types of Wedding Planners Are There?

Wedding planners can help you prepare everything for your big day with minimum stress, but not all of them provide the same range of services. Some offer a full-scale service that includes planning, logistics, design, and production of the event. Others focus on one specific aspect of the event like budgeting, scheduling, or venue decoration.

As a rule, a wedding planner falls into one of the following four categories:

  1. Full-service wedding planners
  2. Day-of wedding planners
  3. A la carte wedding planners
  4. Event designers

It is important to know that different types of planners charge different rates. To help you decide which of these professionals best fits your particular needs, we will provide a quick overview of the services that they offer. We will also reveal how much each of them might charge you for those services.

What Does a Full-Service Wedding Planner Do?

As their name suggests, full-service wedding planners take care of every single aspect of the wedding planning process. They see your wedding from the early planning stages through to realization.

It all starts with your first meeting where they will carefully listen to your ideas and help you come up with an overall theme for your wedding. They will then help you create a list of all the required items and services and map out your budget so that there are enough funds to cover everything. Furthermore, they will help you pick the venue, as well as all your vendors.

From there on out, your wedding planner will spend the majority of their time as a middleman of sorts. They will maintain constant communication with you on the one end and your vendors on the other to ensure that all preparations are going according to plan.

A full-service wedding planner will also take care of all the paperwork ahead of your wedding. On the day of the wedding, they will make sure that everything runs smoothly and that all your vendors have received their fees and tips.

How Much Does a Full-Service Wedding Planner Cost?

Depending on their complexity, some weddings may take a few months, while some others can take a whole year to fully plan and organize. Because of this, full-service wedding planners don’t charge a flat fee. They will instead charge you between 10% and 20% of your total wedding budget.

The exact percentage will depend on the scale of the event, as well as their professional experience. Most full-service planners in the United States charge about $3,000. If you opt for a high-end planner, you could pay anywhere between $4,000 and $12,000.

wedding dresses in the shop window

What Does a Day-Of Wedding Planner Do?

Like full-service wedding planners, day-of planners also help make sure that your wedding ceremony goes according to plan. To do that, they take care of timelines, vendor management, and coordination. But they usually take over after all the planning has been done, which is about a month before the wedding. This is why people often refer to them as day-of coordinators rather than planners.

As a rule, day-of coordinators come in early on the day of the wedding to set everything up. They overlook all aspects of the event and stay up late to clean up and take care of all post-wedding duties. This makes them a perfect choice for couples who want to be involved in the planning process, but want someone else to take charge as the event approaches.

How Much Does a Day-Of Wedding Planner Cost?

Because they have a clearly defined role, day-of wedding planners usually charge a flat fee. Based on their experience and the complexity of the event, the cost can vary between $500 and $2,000. If you choose to hire an in-demand day-of planner, you may have to pay up to $3,000 for their services.

What Does an A La Carte Wedding Planner Do?

A la carte wedding planners offer part-time services that help couples plan specific aspects of their wedding. For example, they can help you map out your budget, recommend venues and vendors, or give you some decorating tips. They don’t overlook the actual wedding, nor do they contact or manage vendors.

If you don’t want to hire a full-service planner but still need someone to help you get started, an a la carte planner might be the best choice. They can help you create an action plan of sorts which you will then execute yourself.

How Much Does an A La Carte Wedding Planner Cost?

A la carte wedding planners usually act as consultants, so it shouldn’t surprise you that they charge an hourly rate. With most a la carte planners in the US, this rate is usually around $75. If you go with a more experienced planner, you may have to pay between $100 and $300 for an hour-long consultation session.

gift bags

What Does an Event Designer Do?

If you have a specific overall look planned for your wedding day, an event designer can help bring your vision to life. They usually work with florists, stationers, and bakers to make sure that all the elements of your wedding décor come together.

Like a la carte planners, they don’t do budgeting, organization, or vendor correspondence. Event designers are thus best for couples who can take care of all the planning themselves but need help with the creative aspect of the ceremony.

How Much Does an Event Designer Cost?

The cost of an event designer will vary based on the size of the venue and the scope of the event. A full design package that includes décor rental, setup, and teardown costs between $450 and $950. If you want to hire a more in-demand designer, you could pay up to $2,000 for their services.

The Final Word

Depending on your needs, a wedding planner can help organize your entire wedding or just take care of some aspects of it. To do this, most of them will charge you between $75 for an hour-long consultation and $3,000 for a full-scale service. Unsurprisingly, high-end planners will charge more depending on their experience and demand.

But even though their services aren’t cheap, they can actually help you save money. With their contacts and connections, they can help you find great vendors at lower prices. They will also help you avoid mistakes that could cost you a lot of money.

Finally, hiring a wedding planner is the only surefire way to eliminate stress as your wedding day approaches. And when the day finally comes, you will be able to fully enjoy the occasion with your family and friends and create memories that will last forever.