How Much Money Can a Wedding Planner Make?

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Many aspiring wedding planners reach out to us with questions about how they’ll be paid. If you’re considering investing in our online wedding planning course, it’s worth knowing what the return will be once you start working in the field. Below we share some general, standard payment structures used to compensate wedding planners in the current market. Need help planning your wedding? Check out our list of Wedding Event Planners here.

What Do Wedding Planners Do?

Wedding planners work with couples to set up and map out all aspects of a wedding celebration. The planner typically assists with all manner of details surrounding a wedding, from helping to find dressmakers to securing venues for the ceremony and reception, and also provides recommendations and referrals for subcontractors who offer flowers, filming, photography, music, and even food and beverages. While planners are unnecessary for most civil ceremonies and minor services, they’ve become more critical in large-scale weddings in recent years.

Most wedding planners offer tiered services depending on the needs of the couple. The planner can provide a scaled-back service that focuses on arranging music, food, and a venue for a reception. At the same time, full-service planning can include assisting and arranging everything for the wedding, from setting up dress-showings and cake-tasting to visiting venues and working with various caterers, bands, or wedding music providers. Wedding planners must be supremely organized and able to execute details with precision and efficiency to succeed in these duties.

Most wedding planners also work closely with service providers who can serve as subcontractors for weddings. The planner typically receives a referral fee for helping to hire these persons who may provide anything from decorating expertise to cooking to floral arrangements for the wedding party. Many venues also work with wedding planners to ensure that their open space is booked solidly, primarily through the typical summer wedding season.

Aspiring wedding planners should have extensive practical experience in hospitality and event planning, and many find it helpful to seek out community college or undergraduate education in hospitality-related disciplines. Most wedding planners work as self-employed contractors or as partners in larger planning-specific enterprises. They should expect to work long hours throughout the year to book and set up services, as well as irregular evening and weekend hours. 

What Factors Can Affect a Wedding Planner’s Salary?how much money can a wedding planner make

The amount of time a wedding planner spends honing their craft and building their reputation helps them earn a higher salary, but it makes all of the difference by no means. There are plenty of factors that need to be taken into account when looking at wedding planner salaries. The first is location. There is no way that a wedding planner living in a small town in rural areas will make anywhere near as much like a wedding planner working out of the metro.

Experience is another significant factor but falls under a different classification than the length of time in the industry for several reasons. You can build up a reputation and get a good client list by working consistently, but experience lends a different set of skills; with further knowledge comes the ability to understand the business aspect better and save money on accounting, budgeting and expenses. Other factors include the types of services offered; planners who provide full-service planning and design will make more than planners who only offer day-of services. The size of the business also makes a huge difference; if there are four couples all getting married at the same time and a planner only has enough staff to handle one of the weddings, then there are three more events slipping through the cracks, a more significant business could take all three accounts and bring in more money over the same period.

So How Much Money Can a Wedding Planner Make?

The wedding industry in Australia is vast, with over 110,000 weddings taking place across the country every year and over 3 billion dollars spent annually! With that much money being thrown around, it has to be going somewhere, and while most of it is spent on one-off purchases like dresses, décor and location, a big chunk of that is making many wedding planners very wealthy.

Working as a wedding planner takes drive and determination; you have to learn to be thick-skinned as you work with people who are expecting the most fantastic day of their life and, in some cases, cannot be pleased.

However, the work does pay off; however, top wedding planners can earn over $120,000 every year, as unknown to most people. The average hourly pay for a Wedding Planner is AU$20.23

The wedding industry is an enormous one, and because most people only hope to be married once they are willing to pay as much as it takes to have their dream wedding, and demand wedding planners have the luxury of naming their price. This is what happens when clients fight for the privilege of obtaining their services.

The salary of a wedding planner can range significantly, from a standard wage for newly minted wedding planners to mid-six figures for the highly experienced and business savvy ones. From analyzing all of the examples, the main issue seems to be dedication; only 20% of wedding planners have more than ten years of experience, while 59% have less than four years of experience. From these numbers, it’s easy to deduce that most people who start working as a wedding planner do not have the tenacity to continue working as a wedding planner for the past few years.

The bottom line is that if you can get past the first several years of wedding planning, your salary stands to improve dramatically.

Most clients will not be using the services of a wedding planner more than once (or at least they hope not to), so to get repeat business, there needs to be a recommendation factor. The longer one stays in the industry, the better their reputation will become and the more in demand they will be; this allows wedding planners to start making significantly more money as they continue working.

Wedding Coordinator Salary At A Wedding Venue

The typical salary of a full-time wedding coordinator at a larger wedding venue is around $60,000 per year. This all depends on the size of the wedding venue and the number of weddings they have each year. The more responsibility you have as a wedding coordinator, and the more weddings you are looking after, the higher the salary. If you are at a smaller venue or work in a country town, your compensation may be calculated hourly. Hourly rates as an employee can be from $25 – $35 per hour, depending on experience.

 

Larger wedding venues where multiple weddings per week require a whole team to run the events may require a Weddings and Events Team Manager. This would attract a higher salary of around $80,000 +.

Yearly salary can also depend on the state that you live in, and city vs smaller town. 

  • Average Salary Metro City: $60,000 (For example Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth)
  • Average Salary Smaller City: $45,000- $55,000 (Gold Coast, Adelaide, Hobart, Mackay, Townsville, New Castle, Darwin.)
  • Average Wedding / Events Manager Salary: $80,000

Independent Wedding Planner Salary 

If you are self-employed in the wedding industry working as a wedding planner, your salary would be based on the number of clients you have and your average invoice per client.  Looking for the Top Wedding Planner in Melbourne? Look no further and check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners here. 

How Much Do Wedding Planners Make Per Wedding?

Many aspiring wedding planners reach out to us with questions about how they’ll be paid. If you’re considering investing in our online wedding planning course, it’s worth knowing what the return will be once you start working in the field. Below we share some general; standard payment structures used to compensate wedding planners in the current market:

Wedding Consultation Price:

If you’re working as a consultant for a couple, you will typically bill your clients by the hour. This type of work consists of you and the clients having some meetings together in which you, as the local industry expert, answer any questions they may have about their big day. From coordinating the perfect colour scheme to picking the best local caterer to fit their budget needs, you are spending time with them as an expert there to point them in the right direction as they essentially plan their event with your guidance.

If a couple ever schedules a consultation with you, this is an excellent opportunity to showcase your industry knowledge, your strong experience and reliable relationships with vendors in the area. By demonstrating your understanding and dependability throughout this meeting, you’re highly increasing the chances that said the couple would feel more secure simply booking you for some additional services rather than going it alone. However, keep in mind that the clients are paying you by the hour for your consultation and advice, not for you to pitch your services- so save that conversation for the end of the meeting. Otherwise, you might annoy the couple.

Generally, wedding planners charge anywhere from $40-$70 per hour for their consulting services. This number also depends on where in the world your firm is located. If you work in a more metropolitan area, the market rate will be more like $100-$200 per hour. Before naming your price:

Look up some local wedding planners who already have established businesses.

  • Check how much they charge.
  • Try to offer something similar.

Day-Of Wedding Coordination Price:

If a couple decides to hire you for Day Of Coordination, this means that again, the couple will likely be planning the majority of the event without your help, but they would like you there on the big day to offer support in any way you can. You’ll help with things like creating the day’s schedule, coordinating with vendors to ensure timeliness and seamless delivery and setup, etc. Most wedding planners charge anywhere from $600-$900 for this service. However, if you’re working in a metropolitan area, this price would likely be more like $1,200 – $2,000. When naming your price, it’s also worth fluctuating slightly depending on the event itself. If the wedding will be relatively small and held all in one location, you might consider charging less than if it’s a massive number of guests who will be moving from place to place between the ceremony and reception.

Full-Service Wedding Planning Cost:

If the couple wants to hire you for full-service wedding planning, this is where you’ll make the most money. These clients essentially give you complete creative control of the big day- from developing the aesthetic concept to executing it day-of. Full-service planners recommend all the vendors, the venue options, the décor, sometimes even the attire. If you’re hired to plan a wedding full-service, you should charge $2,000-$3,000 if you’re in a more rural area, but upwards of $10,000 depending on your location’s market and the wedding size. If you’re a student and you’re not sure how much to charge potential clients for your services, call your mentor, explain the details of the event, and we’ll help you develop the perfect pricing model.

Here are three main ways wedding planners charge:

  • As a percentage of the wedding budget
  • Commissions and referral fees from other wedding suppliers
  • Set package prices with fixed rates and responsibilities.

If the wedding planner is working for a percentage of the wedding budget, the most common rate is 10%. So if the overall wedding budget were $35,000, the wedding planner fee would be $3,500.  

Wedding planners can add to their potential income by referral commissions. Some wedding suppliers may agree to lower their prices for some wedding planners, giving the bride a better price and also allowing the wedding planner to earn a referral fee. Wedding suppliers will do this to get regular work with the wedding planner. It also saves the supplier time in client meetings, as the wedding planner will be liaising most of the details.

Another popular way wedding planners charge is through their own packaged pricing system. Wedding planners will create their own ‘packaged service’ with a list of services they will provide and responsibilities for a set price. This makes it clear to the bride what they will get from the wedding planning service within a set budget. 

The starting prices of most wedding packages can be from around $990 for on the day wedding coordination service to $3,500 upwards, depending on the amount of time the wedding planner will spend planning and her responsibility.

How Do Top Planners Make As Much As They Do?

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Planners who make the most tend to supplement their income by providing decorations and keeping a large inventory of wedding merchandise to renting to their clients. This gives the busy bride one less thing to worry about and brings in extra income for the business. As mentioned earlier, small planners tend to offer only day-of or month-of services, which are precisely what they sound like, as opposed to the top planners who offer more expensive all-inclusive planning services, which are full-service options that include all the planning and design and take much more of the planner’s time. These services cost the couple more, so it attracts the wealthy, the people who can afford to pay whatever they want for their wedding.

The main reason the top wedding planners make as much as they do is by working as hard as they can; they stay up to date on every possible marketing opportunity, which means spending time on social networking sites and creating profiles on every new one that pops up. If it sounds exhausting, that’s because it is; for those people who can barely stay up to date on their own Facebook account, the task may seem impossible, but that’s what separates those who are at the top from those who are at the bottom.

How To Become A Top Paid Wedding Planner

The amount of time a wedding planner spends honing their skills and building their reputation helps them earn a higher salary, but it makes all of the difference by no means. There are plenty of factors that need to be taken into account when looking at wedding planner salaries. The first is location. There is no way that a wedding planner living in a small rural town will make anywhere near as much like a wedding planner working out of a capital city, which is the area responsible for the highest salary.

Experience is another significant factor but falls under a different classification than the length of time in the industry for several reasons. You can build up a reputation and get a good client list by working consistently, but experience lends a different set of skills; with further knowledge comes the ability to understand the business aspect better and save money on accounting, budgeting and expenses. Other factors include the types of services offered; planners who provide full-service planning and design will make more than planners who only offer day-of services. The size of the business also makes a huge difference. If four couples are all getting married simultaneously and a planner only has enough staff to handle one of the weddings, then there are three more events slipping through the cracks. A more significant business could take all three accounts and bring in more money over the same period. Check out our Top Wedding Planners here to help make your special day as smooth as possible.

Conclusion

Wedding planning isn’t for everybody, but for those who decide that this is what they want to do with their lives, the best advice is not to give up, the ones making over 120k a year sure didn’t, and I bet they don’t regret a thing.

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