How to Package Your Wedding Planning Services to Make More Money
Amira Harris is the owner and destination wedding specialist of Aisle Travel™ based in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Aisle Travel™ provides Canadian couples with full group travel services, destination wedding planning, and customized wedding group experiences.
Every wedding planner has her own unique business model that dictates the kinds of services she wants to offer. When starting your wedding planning business, you’ll explore all the different types of planning services before you settle on your core offerings. As you spend time working with professional clients, you’ll tweak your service packages to find your perfect fit. If you’ve decided to package your services, start by offering just a few key services. Check out the most common wedding planning packages below!
Package #1: Full-service wedding planning:
It’s exactly like it sounds. You are providing full-service, complete wedding planning from beginning to end. Whether you take a percentage of the overall wedding budget or charge a flat-fee, you need to determine how many hours you’ll expect to work. After that, determine the rate you want to make per hour, and then the services included in the package. All these considerations will allow you to set your price for this wedding planning package.
Package #2: Partial wedding planning:
For this package, you may find it more difficult to determine the cost and included services. Do your wedding planning clients already have a venue booked? Do they have the rest of their vendors booked? A theme or budget already set?
I find it’s always best to see what they may require and why they feel they need to hire partial wedding planning services. Based on that information, you can then give them a custom quote for this service. They may only require a little help or may still require a lot. It’s important to be flexible with a partial wedding planning package due to the vague nature of partial planning. Even if they have their vendors booked, you’ll still need to get in-touch and manage those vendors on their behalf, which you should charge for.
Package #3: Month- or Day-of coordination:
In some instances, your clients may only require a combination of month/day-of coordination and custom consultations instead of partial planning. This unique combination can benefit both you and your clients. They’ll pay only for the services they need, and you’ll earn money for your consulting work. This service is perfect for the couple who has planned their wedding but needs a professional to pull together all the details and execute everything on the big day. Don’t be fooled by the name—this service starts well before the actual wedding date.
In many cases, expect to start 4-8 weeks before the wedding. When first starting your career as a wedding planner, you will do a lot of these. Make note of the hours you put in prior to the wedding, add the number of hours on wedding day, and then any additional hours you put in for the client afterward. After you’ve done month-of or day-of planning a few times, you’ll start to know if you’re charging too little for the service. If you are charging too little, increase the cost moving forward.
It may not sound like it, but day-of coordination is a lot of work. And if you are offering this service, you need to be upfront with your clients about the specific services you’ll be providing before, during and after the wedding.
Custom consults are a great way to earn extra money, especially if it’s not in the client’s budget to book complete, partial, or month/day-of wedding coordination services. With this service, you can offer vendor recommendations, put together a wedding timeline, or outsource event decor and design for your clients.
This is a great service to offer year-round. You’ll be doing the research for them, putting together the proposal based on your research, and providing this information for the wedding. Your portion is complete after that, and you’ll be compensated as soon as you’ve completed your work as opposed to later on, after the wedding. In most cases, custom consults may only be a few hours. It all depends on what they need from you. It’s always a great way to generate extra income and use your expertise in the process.
Pricing models for your wedding planning packages
Once you’ve decided to offer packaged services, you’ll need to carve out your pricing model. Whether you’re charging a flat rate, a percentage of their budget, or even a combination of both. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to how to structure your fees. As long as you’re charging the industry standard and not undercharging or under-cutting, feel free to pick the pricing model works for you.
If you’re unsure which model suits your wedding planning business best, try out different models and adjust. I’ve changed my pricing model over the years to ensure I was properly compensated for my work.
How I structure my own wedding planning fees
I currently offer three planning packages, and each one has a “starting at rate” instead of a fixed cost. This way, potential clients know what the minimum investment will be before meeting or speaking with me. There’s no time wasted on the client’s part to inquire, and no time or money wasted on my end explaining it.
We start off with a phone call to discuss details about the vision they have for their wedding. Based on that information, I put together a custom quote of my services to present at the client consultation. Every wedding is unique and costs will vary. A wedding with 50 guests at one location is much different than a wedding with 150 guests. As soon as the basic considerations change, logistics change accordingly, and so will the amount you charge.
Expanding your services
If you find many of your clients are choosing to hire you for both Day-of coordination and event decor, then bundle those up! Take cues from your clients to create attractive packages that’ll fly off the shelves! And, if you decide to earn additional specializations such as an event decor or luxury wedding planning certification, you can put together additional packages!
Whether you offer 3 or 10 packages starting out, charge accordingly. Always research what the standard rate for wedding planning services is in your area, and then determine what you will charge for those services. In the beginning, you may charge a bit less to gain experience. But always re-evaluate your fees after each wedding service you provide. Are you charging enough to cover costs and earn a decent salary? This will help you determine how much to charge going forward.
Remember, the more experience you gain, the more you can increase the amount you charge. In time, you will find the perfect equation to help you earn more money and run a profitable wedding planning business.
Do you have any tips for fellow planners? Leave us a comment!