How to price your wedding services can seem daunting. There are so many factors that can go into creating a rate that actually compensates you for your work – many people, when creating packages and rates, find that they actually charge too little for their effort, which is never a good idea! By charging what you’re worth, you’re giving yourself the freedom to work with clients that are right for you. Not only that, but clients tend to respect your time MORE when you charge more. Ask any established planner, and they will tell you how true this really is!
Here is a process for how to price your wedding services, along with some resources to help you along the way.
Track Your Hours
This is probably the most tedious item on this list, but also the most necessary. I mean, how are you supposed to know WHAT to charge if you have no idea how much you actually spend working on a wedding? Ideally, you should be tracking every minute of your day, if anything to maximize your time effectively (it really is sad how much time we spend on Facebook), but obviously that will rarely happen.
Thankfully there are some apps out there that you can install straight to your browser window (I prefer Chrome) to aid with tracking your time. Some of these include Harvest and TrackingTime. You may also want to consider installing an extension that automatically tracks the hours you spend on websites (I’m looking at you Pinterest), like Limitless.
The goal is to count every single minute you spend on your clients, which is called Billable Hours (even if you don’t bill hourly, these are working hours that you actually make a profit from). That way, you can average how HOW much time you spend on a particular service, such as month of coordination or partial planning.
Determine Your Hourly Rate
It’s easy to just put a number on what we charge hourly, but there’s a lot more to it than that! Below is a chart to help you figure out what your hourly rate really is.
Adapted from Creative Live.
Create Your Packages
Once you’ve tracked your hours and determined your hourly rate you can create packages and services with appropriate pricing for your level of experience and skill. Some things to consider when creating your packages:
- How much communication and face-to-face contact do I want to have with my clients?
- How many vendor meetings do I want to include?
- How much time will I spend on email and other administrative tasks with this service?
- Will I have an assistant to take care of some of these tasks, or will I be doing them on my own?
An easy formula to create your packages is to just do the number of hours you spend on a particular service x your hourly rate, but you should definitely add a little padding in, just in case! Not only that, you’ll also want to add to your package rate:
- Assistant fees for the day of the wedding
- Travel fees to and from the wedding venue
- Gifts or other client incentives
- Credit card fees for individual payments
I would highly recommend coming up with at least three base packages that have a specified number of services included. For each service included in a package, be sure to give it a rate. That will make customizing services for your clients easier. For example, my Month Of Coordination and Design package looks like this:
- Month Of Coordination: $3,000 (services included in this package are nonnegotiable)*
- 6 Hours of In Person Consultation: $600
- Design Proposal (includes two hours of face-to-face meetings and a comprehensive proposal with three design options): $600
- Coordination of design related vendors (estimated 16 hours of work to coordinate florist, lighting, rentals, etc.): $2,000
- Detailed Production Plan (comprehensive plan of all production and design elements for the day of the wedding, estimated 4 hours of work to maintain): $600
- Tablescape Mockup: $200
- TOTAL: $7,000
*Factors that go into determining Month Of Coordination rates (starting at $3,000) include:
- Number of assistants, with two assistants included in the base rate
- 1 additional assistant needed if the reception and ceremony are located at two separate venues
- Off location venue vs. on location venue
- Base rate includes on location venue (venue that has infrastructure, rentals, and catering included)
- Additional $500 for semi-off location venue (partial infrastructure including electricity, bathrooms, lighting, some production or on-site supervision)
- Additional $1,000 for off location venue (no or bare infrastructure included, such as electricity, bathrooms, lighting, rentals, etc.)
As you can see, there are multiple factors that go into the rate for each service, not just your hourly rate and the average number of billable hours. You’ll want to list out every single item that goes into the package, and allocate fees that way.
Should I compare my rates to other planners in my area?
Yes and no. I firmly believe that every planner is going to be different in what they offer, so it should be based solely on your particular services. That being said, if there is a major discrepancy between what you charge and what other comparable planners charge for a similar service, it’s up to you to explain to your client WHY there is a difference, and what goes into your particular way of planning a wedding.
Figure Out the Magic Number
So, how many weddings do you have to work in a year? Once you compile ALL of the above information, it should be pretty easy to figure out exactly how many weddings you need to book in order to reach your Adjusted Annual Salary.
Take a good hard look at that magic number; is it actually doable? If not, you’re going to want to reconsider a few things. It may take going through this process a few times, but you’ll get there!
I know this is a TON of information, but I hope that it helps you at least start the process of pricing your wedding services effectively and efficiently. Is there anything I missed? Feel free to continue the discussion in the comments below!