Pricing your event and wedding planning services

Today we are honored to have guest columnist Jill from The Main Event in Steamboat Springs, CO, which specializes in destination weddings, booking national and regional entertainment and event planning services.

I love my career as a wedding and event planner, and for more than a decade I have had the privilege of planning weddings in one of the most beautiful places in the country; Steamboat Springs, Colorado. One of the more difficult aspects of running an event business is finding the right pricing for services. Our rates have waxed and waned a bit over the past decade what with the national economy still in limbo and the national trend to hire wedding planners being slightly down. Pricing for your wedding planning services may need to be flexible, as to accommodate a variety of factors including your geographical location, cost of living in the area, your planning experience and industry contacts.

Many planners charge a percentage of the overall budget. To date, I have never met a client that opts for this rate structure unless we put ceilings on the fees as well as charge a minimum in the case of the planner saving the client money (which we often do with contract negotiations and long standing vendor relationships which allows us to take advantage of preferred rates.) The average percentage to charge for weddings is between 10% – 15% of the overall budget. Of course as a planner it is your job to come up with an accurate working budget. (More on that topic in a future post!) Other clients like a flat fee and most choose that option; but the fees you can charge need to be in line with what the local market will bear .

Another factor for setting your fees needs to be your experience; a new planner with only a couple of years experience can charge somewhere in the range of $750 – $1250 for wedding day coordination while experienced planners can start day of packages at $1500 and run upwards of $3000. For full wedding planning packages fees could start around $3000 and can go up from there. Offering a set range of services to your clients will help them understand what is included in each package you create for each price range.

Finally, don’t price yourself out of the market: most clients will choose neither the least or most expensive planner, so be sure you are priced competitively and in line or just below your competitors.

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