“My fiance and I are super busy and don’t have a lot of time to plan our wedding in the Bahamas. He works weekdays and I am a part time nurse on the weekends leaving us very little time. I was thinking of hiring a destination wedding planner but have no idea what one would cost. How much should I expect to pay?”
This is the kind of email we receive all the time so we thought it would be beneficial for everyone if we put the information in one detailed article. This way you can make an informed decision when hiring a planner for your destination wedding.
You can hire a destination wedding planner to do as much or as little as you need them to. Some brides need help with just the ceremony while others want someone to help them from start to finish. Charges for a destination wedding planner range from hourly, a flat fee or a percentage of the entire wedding.
Listed below are four common methods in which a wedding planner is hired.
You can hire a wedding planner as a consultant for a day or even for a few hours to help with something very specific. For example, if you are having difficulty selecting a hotel, you can hire a wedding planner to get group rates for hotels that are reputable in your wedding location.
Cost: Most planners will charge you anywhere from $100-$200 per hour or $400-$800 for the day.
Day Of Coordinator – Flat fee
This type of arrangement includes a meeting (2 weeks) prior to the wedding to go over details, attend final vendor meetings to oversee details, oversee final payments to vendors, and create a wedding timeline so everything goes as planned. Finally, it also includes them making sure all the magic happens as planned on the day of the wedding.
Drawback: The number of hours you can use the wedding planner are limited. If you go over the contracted amount, an hourly rate will apply.
Cost: While there is no standard price for this kind of service, you can expect most planners to charge less than $1000-$2000 for it. The price difference is based on the planners experience and the area that you are getting married in (A wedding planner in NYC is way more expensive than one in Lake George, NY)
Consultation Arrangement – Flat fee
This will include more detailed involvement on the part of the planner. They will recommend vendors, help create checklists, and wedding budget. But they won’t do any of the legwork. In effect, you are using the planner for their knowledge and expertise.
This is a nice go between choice for smaller weddings that don’t need a full service package.
Cost: About $3000-$5000. Most will charge a flat fee. Some may charge a percentage (5-7% of wedding cost)
Full Service Planner (percentage)
If you need help planning the entire wedding, then you can expect to spend anywhere from 10-20% of the cost of the wedding. Doing so will get you a planner that will take a part in anything you want to be involved in. Here is a list of some of the things you can expect from a full service wedding planner:
- They can help with the theme of the destination wedding and the color,
- Find ceremony and reception venues,
- Help find and contract vendors (florist, makeup artist, photographer, baker etc.),
- Block hotel rooms for a destination wedding,
- Arrange for transportation,
- Go to food tastings,
- Attend meeting with or for you,
- Make decisions on your behalf, if you allow them (For ex. how many floral arrangements will you need in the reception hall?)
- Design and send invitations,
- Rehearsal coordination
- Wedding day coordination
- Create timeline
- Assist in decorating the ceremony & reception sites
- Oversee final payments to vendors on wedding day
- Troubleshoot problems
- Finalize the timeline
- Arrange wedding welcome bags,
- Plan group activities
- Coordinate the day of wedding
- Make travel arrangements for you and your wedding guests
- Plan your honeymoon
One of the biggest benefits that you will get out of hiring a planner for the entire wedding is that you will have access to their vendor relationships. Good vendors are hard to find and a wedding planner will be able to guide you to the best of the best without any research or stress. In addition, you may also enjoy preferred pricing as a client of the wedding planner, lowering the overall cost.
You should consider this option if the wedding is over $25,000 in overall cost. At that price point, it is worth it to hire someone because there are no limits on the number of hours the wedding planner spends on you. If anything, the planner will want to get more involved because they will get paid more.
Cost: Usually 10-20% with a minimum fee of $3,000-$5,000
The above four choices are the most common ways to hire a wedding planner. Here is an example of pricing for a wedding planner.
The fifth option
There is a fifth choice but you should stay away from it. Some wedding planners claim to help plan your wedding for “free”. What they won’t tell you is that they are getting compensated on the back end by the vendors that they recommend.
The more this “planner” gets you to spend, the higher their commissions. So, in effect, the destination wedding planners goal is get you to spend a maximum amount of money whereas your goal may be the exact opposite. Just remember the old saying that you get what you pay for.
One of the largest deterrents in hiring a wedding planner is usually the cost because most brides assume that a wedding planner is out of their budget. With the choices mentioned in this article, you can see that anyone can hire a wedding planner, and that most couples would benefit greatly by doing so. Even if it for a day.
What should you do next?
Find a wedding planner that specializes in your wedding location.