As a wedding planner educator who specializes with working with newer wedding planners, the #1 question that gets asked the most is “how do I price my services”? Today, Mia of Pastiche Event Productions is breaking it down for you! In 5 simple steps, learn how to price your wedding planner packages.
Pricing Your Wedding Planner Packages
So you’re a new wedding planner and you’ve done your research on HOW to be a wedding planner. You know how to network with other vendors, have a website, have the checklists and may even have a styled shoot or two under your belt. Life is grand and you now have your first inquiry – Huzzah! (Insert screeching breaks here)… BUT how much do you charge? This blog post will help you price your wedding planner packages. Let’s break it all down so you can decide on the pricing that best fits your wedding planning business!
STEP 1: KNOW YOUR WORTH
First off, congratulations on starting your own business! You’ve taken a major step that not many people have the courage to take. And yet, the big question is, “How much are YOU worth?” To get started, be real with yourself. How long have you been in the wedding industry? What do you know? Are you brand new and without any experience? Have you perhaps been in the wedding industry for a while now and finally took the step to go out on your own?
Experience is THE preliminary factor to get you off on the right path to choosing your proper price tag. If you’re just starting out and learning all the ropes, start off on the lower end until you build up your experience and portfolio and you feel confident to work on your own. If you’ve been in the industry for years as an assistant, or perhaps working as an event coordinator at a hotel or event firm and have a few contacts, you can certainly start off on the higher end of the scale.
STEP 2: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
It’s not just for real estate! The next step to determining your pricing is your location. Where will you be doing business? What are other wedding planners charging in your area? The geographical location of your business will play an important role in what you CAN charge.
More rural places like Iowa or Kentucky will have lower price points at around $50/hr while bigger cities like New York and Los Angeles start at $100-$200/hr. Do some research and reach out to other local planners. You’ll be surprised at how many are willing to lend a helping hand! But remember, you want to take their expertise into consideration, so it might be best to reach out to planners who are also just starting out.
STEP 3: YOUR INVESTMENT
With owning a business comes a multitude of responsibility and with responsibility comes investments in your company before you book your first client! What expenses do you have on a monthly basis? Depending on how long you’ve been in business and how “formal” your business is, you’ve probably invested in a business license, contract, insurance, website design and hosting fees as a starting base.
If you are working from home, you are probably able to save some money on office space and equipment, but you still have to account for office supplies, utility bills and miscellaneous items that make your business work on a daily basis. Take into account any current or foreseen marketing investments such as, styled shoots, bridal shows, online subscriptions to places like Wedding Wire and The Knot. And of course, all the useful software subscriptions you’ll eventually give in to like HoneyBook and Aisle Planner – le sigh…
STEP 4: CALCULATE YOUR TIME INVESTMENT
How long will you be working on each project? As you become a seasoned planner, you’ll learn that not all weddings are created equally. Some are more “all-inclusive” and require minimal planning while other “DIY weddings” demand much more of your time and commitment as you piece it all together from scratch. What services is your couple looking for? Do they want you to plan the entire wedding or just the last 30 days?
Don’t forget to calculate the time you will be working on the wedding day/rehearsal as coordinator and any assistant time, if you offer that service. When you’ve decided what packages you’ll offer as a wedding planner, find an average time investment for each package and multiply that by your hourly rate. You now have your average package price for each service!
STEP 5: ADD ONS AND UNEXPECTED EXPENSES
As a wedding planner, it’s good practice to take that skill and apply it to your own business! Plan ahead on a few items. It’s a great idea to have a “starting price” on all packages so you have room to add on for extra expenses.
Some weddings will require more of your time, more assistants and more work. You want to be prepared for that so you don’t undercharge. Some factors to take into consideration when building a custom price are:
How many venues will you be required to work? Some couples choose to be married in one venue and have the reception at another. You’ll have to add on an additional team to be able to accommodate and set up/breakdown both spaces.
Day of Labor
Most weddings are a full 6-8 hours, plus 2 hours set-up and 1 hour breakdown. Choose what your “base” hours are and add on any necessary charges for additional time needed.
Will your team be required to set-up/breakdown tables, chairs, chair covers, linens, table settings? This is a lot of extra work that will require additional hands to be able to complete in the usual 2 hour timeframe most venues allow for set-up. In this case, you’ll want to also consider the size of the wedding.
Will you be planning and coordinating any showers, rehearsal dinners or post-wedding brunches?
Pro Tip: A word to the wise- Price your packages a year in advance in case you receive inquiries for the next year. A good rule of thumb is to add 5-10% to your packages every year. Be prepared so you don’t get underpaid!
Coming up with your own package prices is a delicate formula where you take all that you have learned above and you play with what is right for you and your business to make it work for you. But if there’s one thing you should take away from this post, it’s this: KNOW YOUR WORTH!!
Don’t settle for less and don’t be guilted into lowering your prices. Your internet company doesn’t lower their prices for you, do they? A great way around that is to add more value to your services. What can you offer that will make it seem like you are giving them the best deal without adding any extra time investment for you? Some like to add on planning tools while others offer their decor at no extra charge. See what works for you and stick to your pricing. When you know your worth, so does your client!
Mia Kartsonis is owner and co-founder of Pastiche Event Productions in Los Angeles, CA. Though she plans and produces all events, wedding planning is her forte and what brings her the most joy. Bringing her couples Dream Wedding to life and making sure it’s their happiest day is her top priority! Find her at @PasticheEventsLA