This is a good question and one that, as an experienced and professional wedding planner I am often asked. It is universally thought that only those couples getting married who have an above average wedding budget* can afford and benefit from the services of a wedding planner. Not true!
Every experienced and professional wedding planner will charge slightly differently but on the whole most UK wedding planners will charge between 10 – 15% of your total budget spend to fully plan your wedding, with a minimum fee applicable.
A Full Wedding Planning service generally includes locating your perfect wedding venue, sourcing high quality, trusted wedding suppliers, organising and attending meetings with florists, photographers, caterers, cake designers, make-up and hair trials and acting as the main point of contact for all those involved in the wedding day.
Having an extensive network and knowledge of professional wedding suppliers, a wedding planner can ensure that they are not only totally confident with the suppliers they recommend to their clients but are also a suitable and a perfect fit for the bride & groom. A wedding planners’ role for a Full Wedding Planning service will also include all the administration, or “wedmin” as it is affectionally known in the industry. The wedmin can be a little mind blowing and time consuming when planning your wedding; juggling every supplier’s specific requests and linking them all altogether can become a logistical nightmare.
What you need to bear in mind is that on average it can take 250 hours to plan your wedding. With today’s busy work schedules and hectic social lives that is a huge amount of additional time to find. If you needed to build an extension on your home you would call an expert builder? If you needed to discuss and organise your finances and tax return, would you do this, knowing that it would take you much longer than someone with experience?
With such an important occasion you don’t want to look back and wish you’d done things differently.
The other service wedding planners offer is Partial Wedding Planning. Many couples often wish to plan their big day. But as the months start to tick away, the ever-growing list of tasks, the seemingly endless stream of emails, calls and paperwork from wedding suppliers that planning a wedding entails can suddenly become very overwhelming.
Most wedding planners will take up the reins around 3 months prior to the wedding, enabling the bride & groom to really enjoy the lead up to their special day.
This can be the most difficult wedding planning service to quote for as it will depend on the stage the happy couple are at with their planning and what tasks still need to be completed. Potentially, wedding suppliers may still need to be sourced, guest management compiled along with many other factors. The wedding planner will need to clearly set out not only what aspects of the planning they will undertake but just as importantly what they won’t undertake. They will therefore base their role on the hours they feel it will take to continue with the wedding planning.
Don’t forget that both Full Wedding Planning and Partial Wedding Planning include the wedding planner attending the wedding day itself, usually being the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Finally there is Wedding Day Management or On The Day Wedding Co-ordination as it is also known. The fee for this wedding planning service usually ranges between £800 – £1,500 and again will be dependent on the hours the wedding planner will be required. Wedding Day Management however doesn’t just include the experienced and professional wedding planner to assist on the wedding day itself. Many wedding planners will meet with the couple a prior to the big day to run through the details, contact all the wedding suppliers to make their introductions as well as put together a comprehensive time plan of the day.
As a member of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) Weddings By Mary doesn’t accept commission. Double check with your wedding planner whether they accept commission from the suppliers that they use as this can make a difference to your wedding budget.
Read the UKAWP’s blog on the subject of how much do wedding planners charge for further great advise.
(*The average UK wedding costs approximately £30,000)