Why Wedding Planners Cost So Much
Frequently, brides and grooms pose this question in various Facebook chat groups or through email exchanges with other vendors: Why do planners cost so much? While we cannot comment on planners who work part-time as a side hustle, as their expenses and time allocation may differ significantly, we can shed light on why full-time wedding planners command higher fees. Continue reading to find out why wedding planners cost so much...
Even before we commence working together, we invest countless hours crafting the comprehensive documents you receive. Our onboarding package, sent upon booking, includes an array of checklists, tips, tricks, and spreadsheets meticulously tailored to facilitate your planning journey. These materials are regularly updated to ensure their relevance and incorporate additional information. It's worth noting that budget-friendly planners (charging less than 50% of the average coordinator cost in Canada) may appear more cost-effective initially, but an experienced planner ultimately saves you substantial amounts of hard-earned money.
Among the documents you'll find in our onboarding package is our preferred vendors list. This compilation comprises reputable, trusted vendors with whom we have collaborated. Many of them offer discounts ranging from 10% to 30% of the total cost, potentially translating into savings amounting to hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on your wedding's scale.
When considering planners, bear in mind that the average cost of a wedding coordinator in North America, as per a study by Wedding Wire in 2023, stands at $3,000 and can reach up to $12,000. Therefore, it's essential to keep this figure in mind during your search. Moreover, with the substantial savings facilitated by the preferred vendors list provided by your planner, you technically won't be paying the full amount.
Furthermore, in adherence to the code of ethics established by the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (WPIC), certified planners are prohibited from accepting kickbacks or commissions from the vendors you engage. Instead, we pass on our discounts and benefits directly to you, our valued client.
Not only do we maintain ongoing communication with you via email and zoom throughout your entire planning process, but we also serve as the primary point of contact for your vendors. On average, we exchange emails with our clients 2-3 times per month over an 18-month planning period, although this frequency may vary based on specific circumstances. Each email necessitates research or expertise to provide a thoughtful response. In addition to communicating with brides and grooms, we also handle communication with your vendors, serving as their go-to resource for any inquiries they may have.
While we strive for healthy boundaries and a work-life balance, the reality is that if you or any of your vendors reach out to us with an emergency after hours on the eve of the wedding, it is our duty to assist you. If a catastrophic situation arises during the rehearsal, we won't adhere strictly to the contractual one-hour mark; instead, we will work diligently to find a resolution. Essentially, we are always on call, and our work hours are flexible. The peace of mind that comes with having a composed, knowledgeable professional on the other end of your panicked phone call is truly invaluable.
We accompany you to vendor meetings, which is an essential aspect of our full planning service. Our full planning clients typically have a minimum of one meeting per month throughout the planning process, and we are there to support you during each of these meetings. The time and fuel required for our presence throughout our collaboration are factored into the fee you pay. By joining you at these vendor meetings, we ensure that your time is well spent by asking all the necessary questions. You won't need to schedule follow-up meetings because you may have forgotten to address certain concerns during the initial meeting.
During these meetings, we take comprehensive notes, store important documents on your behalf, and provide you with any necessary materials for the meeting. The preparation time for each meeting is also accounted for in the fee you pay, ensuring that you receive the utmost value from our services.
On your wedding day, you can expect to have your planner by your side for approximately 8 hours. However, this timeframe doesn't account for the 2-4 hours of behind-the-scenes setup they dedicate to ensuring everything runs smoothly. Additionally, travel time, especially for out-of-town weddings, is not included in this estimate. It's important to note that the rehearsal is also not factored into this time. Furthermore, your planner will likely have 2-3 staff members on-site throughout the day, and they are compensated financially for their valuable assistance.
Another crucial aspect to consider is that your planner arrives fully prepared with printed copies of your timeline, including an extra one in case the emcee forgets to bring theirs. Our email communications also prove handy in case any vendor has questions about any aspect of the event. We act as the cohesive force that keeps all the moving parts together, bridging any gaps between vendors. We constantly guide and support the vendor team, ensuring everyone is on the same page. Additionally, we bring a fully stocked emergency kit (which costs hundreds of dollars to maintain) that includes items like hot glue guns, zip ties, double-sided tape, and batteries. These items are available for your use, ensuring a seamless event.
Our job doesn't end when the wedding is over! Countless brides have reached out after the wedding with questions related to vendors we have intervened with and provided assistance. For example, they might ask about submitting their marriage license and the subsequent process, inquire about a delayed video delivery beyond the contractual timeline, seek guidance on changing their name, or require advice on addressing a situation that arose on the wedding day involving a vendor or family member. We assure you that no matter what arises after the wedding, you can always reach out to us for help. We are here to support you throughout your engagement and even after the wedding day.
In addition to the visible items that carry a direct cost, there are numerous behind-the-scenes expenses that must be considered. These include the online booking calendar you used to schedule meetings, the website you navigated to find us, the cloud-based systems we utilize to store your documents and vendor contracts, and the software programs we employ for floor plans, questionnaires, and invoicing. These are just a few examples of the expenses incurred to benefit you throughout the planning process, which are encompassed within the coordination and planning fees.
If you have reached this point in the post, we sincerely thank you for your attention. Our aim is to
provide you with education and inspiration. We hope that when you reach out to inquire with your future planner, you will understand that the price tag for "day-of coordination" (which, by the way, is a rarity) reflects more than just one day of service. These are just some of the reasons (among many others) why wedding planners may appear "expensive."
Photo: Anna Froese Photography