Advice for Planners: How To Charge

Recently one of the directors received a phone call from a corporate wedding company who are now offering wedding planning. So far, so good.

We have hundreds of brides on our books and we intend to have wedding planners across the country that can help them

Ok, in theory a great idea, whats the catch?

We plan to offer our services on a fixed fee basis charging £1.5k for full planning, £750 for the final few weeks” It was at this point I exclaimed that was crazy as the planner would end up earning less than minimum wage.

What Is Your Worth?

It is estimated that full planning takes anywhere between 150 – 250 hours to organise, thus the hourly rate would be between £6-10 per hour. Generally speaking the larger the budget the more complex the wedding, the more hours are spent organising it. So what if this company has a bride spending £50k on their wedding, the planner earns the same compared with organising a smaller wedding with half the guests? That doesn’t seem fair to the planner or the bride.

The Commission

The salesman then proceeded to tell me they would take commission from all suppliers hired. We had a rather lively debate with him stating of course they should take commission, its normal practice around the world. YES in the corporate world, not when you’re working for an individual.

As a planner you will need to decide what your policy will be on accepting commission from suppliers or venues. The UKAWP does not believe in this practice and any planner operating in this way will not be accepted for membership. Suppliers should be recommended for their suitability not because you can earn an extra “buck”. We prefer that planners ask for a discount to be given to your clients instead.

That said we know many planners that do take commission (not any of our members) , and that’s fine, it’s just not something the UKAWP will ever agree to.

You need to remember this is a business

Easier said than done – especially when you’re new, but remember you started as a wedding planner to make money. It is your career, this isn’t a hobby and you certainly don’t want to do it for free. Don’t forget you need to cover your costs, namely:

–   Telephone calls/ line rental

–   Stationery

–   Marketing / website / networking events / advertising

–   Insurance

–   Travel costs

–   Book keeper and/or accountancy fees

–   Broadband / computer licenses

–   Freelance staff on the larger weddings

–   SEO / website costs

–   And, of course, your TIME

We’d love to hear your views on any of the items covered in this article.  Also Isabel Smith wrote an interesting blog post recently on valuing your work as a planner which is well worth another read.


Leave a Comment