Over the past few years I have come to the realization that, as a bride, one of the biggest obstacles you will encounter while planning your wedding is learning how to compare vendors. There are SO many different venues, photographers, florists and planners out there. Most of them appear to do wonderful work and nearly all of them have received 5 star reviews on places like Yelp, Wedding Wire and the Knot. As you begin to reach out to all of these stellar vendors, you will begin to notice that their pricing may vary drastically. One wedding planner may quote you $600 while another is charging $5,000. As a couple who is walking into this process for the first time, you don't want to drastically overpay for a service, but you also don't want to book the cheapest vendor you find, as you may not receive a wonderful experience. Today I want to educate you on what the price difference means, and what standard packages and pricing SHOULD look like.
DAY OF | MONTH OF COORDINATION
Average Pricing: $1,000 - $1,800
If you choose to hire a month of planner, you, as the bride, will be taking the lead and planning all aspects of your wedding. Your Day/Month of planner will then jump into the process about a month prior to the wedding to help you tie together loose ends.
What This Package Should ALWAYS Include:
Ceremony + reception walk through
Communication with your vendors AT LEAST one week prior to the wedding
Coordination of your wedding rehearsal
FULL wedding day coverage
This should begin hours prior to the wedding ceremony and should last through the very end of the event
Many planners you find may have a set number of hours they will be present and/or will leave after dinner service
Lead Wedding Planner + Wedding Day Assistant
You ALWAYS need two people present on a wedding day to handle any unexpected obstacles
Average Pricing: $2,200 - $3,000
Exactly what is included in the package will vary greatly by planner, but I have noticed two main trends:
Some planners will use partial coordination as a way to guide couples through the entire planning process. Think of this like your automated "to-do" list. Your planner will be telling you EXACTLY what you need to do, and you do it.
Other planners use partial coordination to apply to couples who come to them part way through the planning process. They have already booked their venue, photographer, and caterer and now realize they need a coordinator. From this point forward, you would be receiving full service coordination
What To Be Aware Of:
Be sure you are getting VERY specific guidelines as to what is included. Because everyone's package is so different, this package can easily become a package filled with "that's not included" surprises.
FULL SERVICE COORDINATION
Average Pricing: $3,800 - $5,000
A full-service wedding planner is going to be working with you through the ENTIRE planning process. They will be assisting you with budgeting, getting you in touch with the best suited vendors, assisting with creating the "look and feel" of your wedding and will be handling all the nitty gritty details and logistics
Things To Note:
Once again, get a very specific idea of what is included in the package. Some planners will essentially be guiding you through the process (similar to other's partial coordination), while others will become the main point of contact for all your vendors, making your life as a bride MUCH easier.
Many planners receive discounts from other vendors (especially rental companies!), and are able to pass these discounts on to their clients.
Book a full service planner early, so they are able to fully guide you through the entire process and get you in touch with the best vendors for your style and budget. It's some times difficult for us to help you if you already have most vendors booked
Does it include design? Some planners focus solely on planning, while others may also double as designers. Be sure to ask if this is included.
If they offer design, they may be slightly pricier.
Do your research!
Ask to look at galleries of their REAL WEDDINGS. Many planners are getting into the industry and filling their galleries with styled shoots. These are great to showcase what they CAN create, but it's important to also see their work from actual events
Really look at their reviews. Do ALL their review talk about how they are an amazing day-of wedding planner or do they have couples also talk about their planning experience?
What if I am finding vendors who's pricing is significantly lower than these averages?
I strongly urge you to be cautious of these wedding planners. While they may be extremely creative and caring people, chances are they are newer to the industry and lack the experience of professional planners. There is SO much expertise to being a planner that is learned with experience, such as how to create the best wedding day flow, knowing the best vendors to work with and understanding how to handle unexpected situations. While I personally don't feel your wedding day is the best day to price shop, if you are on a extremely tight budget, and must go with one of these planners, I encourage you to find out their background. Have they been in the event industry for a number of years and are now just branching out on their own? Or did they just finish planning their own wedding and now have taken on the role of a professional wedding planner? Having this insight into their background will allow you to make a more educational decision.
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