Bride talking with wedding planner © oliveromg/Shutterstock.com

Weddings don’t come cheap — and neither do wedding planners.

The latest “Real Weddings Study” from wedding information website The Knot — which surveyed almost 18,000 U.S. brides who married in 2015 — revealed the cost for a wedding planner averaged $1,996, and $32,641 on a wedding overall (excluding the honeymoon).

The average couple spends $1,996 on a wedding planner.

The cost of a wedding planner varies wildly, based on if you want a full-service planner or a day-of-wedding planner and, of course, the overall budget of the wedding. Wedding planners might charge either a flat fee, an hourly rate or a percentage of your overall wedding bill.

Another major contributor to the cost is location. The survey found that the priciest place (on average) to hire a planner is Palm Springs, California, at $3,995 followed by Boston at $2,982. The lease expensive places for couples to hire an event planner is in Lansing, Michigan, at $857, followed by West Virginia at $911.

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Types of wedding planners

You’ve chosen the perfect life partner, now it’s time to narrow down the perfect wedding planner. Just like with dating, you have options. Here are the general types of planners you can enlist.

1. Full-service planner

If you want to be guided through every aspect of the wedding — from designing the initial vision of the event to making sure everything goes as planned the day of — a full-service planner is the right idea for you. Your Pinterest board will come to life, but, of course, it’s pricey. According to Weddings for a Living, which calls itself an online talk show about wedding planning, full-service planners cost at least $3,000.

2. Day-of-wedding coordinator

A day-of-wedding coordinator will be there to make sure everything goes smoothly for the day of the big event but isn’t too involved in the planning beforehand. Control freaks, this might be a good option for you. Day-of coordinators generally begin involvement in the wedding a month before, and they are responsible for coordinating the wedding day schedule, working with the wedding suppliers and vendors and handling setup. Weddings for a Living reports day-of coordinators charge a fee of $900 and up.

3. A la carte wedding planner

Many wedding planning companies also offer a la carte services, which allows the happy couple to pick and choose what aspects of the wedding they need help planning. If you have a clear vision of the cake, flowers and catering — but are clueless as to where to start with décor — this is a great option. Simply contact the planner when you’re stuck in the planning process. This type of planner typically charges either an hourly rate or flat fee, according to The Knot.


How to find the perfect planner

Even if you are getting a wedding planner on the cheap, it’s still a good chunk of change.

When considering different wedding planners and their services, there are several things to consider.

After, of course, checking to make sure your wedding planner is available on the big day, see if he or she has planned weddings in your price range. You need to determine what they are able (or aren’t able) to handle, says Ivy Jacobsen, the Planning editor at The Knot.

You need to determine what a wedding planner is able (or isn’t able) to handle.

“They should also be available for every service you need, whether it’s just day-of, full service, event design, or more—meetings included,” says Jacobsen. “For example, will they go with you to every tasting and fitting, and stand in for you at vendor meetings you can’t be present?”

Jacobsen also recommends asking the planner about his or her strengths, vision and style, so you can make sure it’s in line with your own ideal day.

Other important questions to ask a potential planner include:

  • How many weddings have you worked?
  • How many other clients will you be working with while you’re working with me?
  • How familiar are you with planning weddings at my chosen venue?
  • Do you only work with specific vendors?

Above all, enjoy your engagement, and let someone else stress over flower arrangements and cake flavors.

After all, you have a honeymoon to plan!

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