Many people hesitate to hire an event planner to assist them with their wedding because they are concerned about the cost. While it is an extra expense upfront, if you ask my clients from the last 25 years, they'll tell that it is "money well spent."
Whether they are a planner, coordinator, or consultant, everyone charges different fees with different fee structures. This is usually determined based on the market and their level of experience and expertise.
They are usually three basic ways of charging:
Flat fee- planner will charge a flat fee for their service from start to finish. This is to your advantage because you know exactly what the fee will be.
Hourly - planner will charge an hourly rate, usually billed in 15-minute increments. The advantage to you is that you can control your costs. But if you have a question, you need to understand you will be charged for answering that specific question. I would suggest making a list and calling them when you have more than one question or issue to discuss, so you are not stuck with an automatic 15-minute charge for a five-minute phone call. The disadvantage to you is that this could add up to be much more than a flat fee rate especially once you add on rehearsal and Day of wedding management services.
Percentage- This fee is based on a percentage of the full budget. Planners will charge a percentage of your total wedding budget as their fee. You may have some idea of what this will be, but you really don’t know since so many things can be changed and added on that may increase your cost.
An experienced Wedding Planner spends about 100 hours planning, coordinating, and exectuting a Wedding.
A helpful hint: If you are considering someone who charges an hourly rate, ask them what that rate is. In my experience, a wedding takes about 100 hours of time to plan and coordinate. You can use this number to calculate to see how inline your planner is with their hourly versus flat rate. Many times, you’ll find the flat rate is much more advantageous to you. This way, you’ll know you’re getting value for that flat rate, and you'll have the added benefit of not being afraid to pick up the phone to ask questions because you know you're not being charged an additional fee for that time!
In case you’re wondering, I charge a flat fee. My flat fees start in the mid four-figure range and go up to the lower five-figure range. I also offer hourly consulting for those who want to plan their own wedding and just would like to tap into my knowledge and expertise. I offer a three-hour consulting package for these clients. This way they have three hours prepaid of my time to use as they want at their discretion. I’m kind of like the lifeline then on the who wants to be a millionaire show!