Planning a wedding is no mean feat – there are outfits, catering, décor and music to think about and all of that organising on top of your daily life can start to feel overwhelming. If you're strapped for time and feeling in a fluster, you may want to turn to a wedding planner to help curate and organise your day. But what do wedding planners really do and how much do they really cost? We spoke to former wedding planner of 19 years, Bernadette Chapman, who also owns the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, to get the lowdown…
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Do I need a wedding planner?
Not everyone needs a wedding planner, but here are the common reasons why one is hired.
1) Lack of time
3) Logistics / knowledge
5) Planning a large/complicated wedding
How can having a wedding planner save me money?
Organising a wedding takes hours and trying to manage this with busy careers let alone a personal life is tough. *33% of couples are contacting 11-15 suppliers in each category before finally choosing whom to use. And that’s after the hours spent doing the initial research or the negotiating after! With an average **9.4 suppliers hired on each wedding (more if a dry hire wedding) that could be 3-4 hours just contacting each supplier type to ask for quotes!
With *85% of couples paying for their own wedding there is immense pressure on creating the wedding of their dreams whilst keeping to the budget they set. After all, no one wants to start married life in debt.
The process of saving couples money starts immediately. When I used to present on stage at the National Wedding Show regarding budgets, I was always astonished that 95% of the audience didn’t even have a budget let alone categorise one. And this is one of the first things a wedding planner will do. They will take the budget and break it down into relevant categories so you know exactly how much you 'should' spend in each area.
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If you source suppliers without knowing your budget, you are very likely to go over budget purely because you fell in love with their style. Wedding planners will instead recommend suppliers that suit your aesthetics AND budget. Furthermore, they will check contracts looking for any hidden clauses that could increase the supplier spend.
In many cases, planners have special connections with suppliers who offer discounts or value added to that planner's clients. But more importantly a planner will ensure you spend money in the right area and that you are paying a fair price for the suppliers hired. They know what suppliers offer the best value, but also when something is a waste, as sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the wedding fanfare. They are ninjas when it comes to creating and managing your budget whereas sometimes emotions could sway your decisions. A wedding planner will guide you if something is unnecessary and/or over budget.
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How much will a wedding planner cost?
The short answer is it depends on what service, their experience, geographics and their niche.
The slightly longer answer is most planners organising your wedding from start to finish (approx. 150 hours) will charge 10-15% of your ***budget with a minimum fee. Some will charge a fixed fee with a pre-agreed price at the start of the planning. Expect to pay between £3,000 - £7,5000 if your budget is under £50,000.
Wedding Day Coordination is whereby a planner will simply coordinate the wedding day itself, e.g. no pre-wedding planning or design. Again, the price varies dramatically but would vary between £500 - £2,000. Service varies from planner to planner so ensure you are comparing properly before making your decision.
And of course, you could have a planner provide partial planning so just organising what you need help with, the price will depend on what they are doing for you.
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* Think Splendid 2022
** Bridebook UK Wedding Report 2022
*** The reason that wedding planners charge a percentage of the budget is generally speaking the more that is being spent on a wedding the more work there is involved. Thus, the more work they are doing as a wedding planner means the more they should be compensated for that work.
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