$18K?! How much was your planner and was it worth it?

posted 6 months ago in Beehive
Post # 46
Member
1148 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

thetulle :  So my destination wedding venue required us to get a planner, and gave us a list of preferred vendors.  LA area; so, I think probably one of the highest in the country. I reached out to about 10 of them.  Day of ranged from $1000 to $2000.  Month of ranged from $2800 to $6000. Partial ranged from $3500 to $12k.  Full service ranged from $8000 to $20k.  I think $18k is definitely on the higher end.  I would shop around more.  I think besides budget, for a wedding planner, you have to make sure you click with them.  I called all of the wedding planners to make sure I got along with them.  The wedding planner I hired actually usually charges $6000 for her partial services, but we got along so well on the phone and I told her that I didn’t need some of the stuff included in her partial services that she customized the plan for me and lowered the price to $3600.  I was so glad that I hired her.  She gave me a lot of recommendations for vendors and because of  her connections, they all gave me a discount, checked in with me quite a bit, did the menu tasting with us, helped us with flowers and wedding decor.  She set up everything and make sure everything ran seamlessly on our wedding day.  It was great.  I have say that most expensive wedding planner that I got a quote from was very snooty.  She scoffed at my budget and said I couldn’t do what I wanted to get done for less than $100k, which was double of my budget.  Well, the wedding planner that I ended up with made sure we were on track with our budget and worked with it.  All in, including hotels (for parents and whatnot), flights, welcome dinner, and post wedding brunch and vendors, we only ended exceeding our budget by $3000.  A wedding planner that you can trust and fits within your budget is super important.  I would shop around more. 

Post # 47
Member
2410 posts
Buzzing bee

I wanted to come back to this thread to give a little more info on what services we are getting with the $12,000 partial planner.  

For context, we live in a very high cost of living area.  Her DOC services are around $4-5,000.  

Among the services:

  • Regular check-in meetings (increasing in frequency the closer we get to the wedding) to discuss whatever is needed.
  • attends vendor meetings with us, asks questions we wouldn’t always think to ask
  • negotiates our contracts and usually gets a better rate than we could have gotten
  • pre-screens vendors using criteria we’ve provided. (ie, we want a specific flavor cake, she’ll get us a list of every pastry chef within 30 miles who can do it.
  • DOC services including a staff of 4 to do decor, set up/take down, random tasks as needed by bridal party, keeping everything on schedule.
  • has long established working relationships with many of the better vendors in my area which we can leverage. I do think this has helped us secure vendors – ie, if a florist had 3 requests do to flowers on our date, our planner’s involvement is likely a point in our favor.
  • budget creation and monitoring. 
  • will design all day-of stationery including escort cards, programs, menus, etc.  and take care of getting them printed and to the venue.
  • owns a huge inventory of wedding related props and stuff for decor/centerpieces that we can utilize.  (vases, candle holders, votives, cake stands, stuff like that.) 

As an example, we worked with the planner to curate a pinterest board for our florals to use as inspiration.  She then had initial appointments with the 3 florists we had chosen (walked them through our theme, wants/hates, price point, vision, etc) and got proposals and price quotes from all 3 of them.  If we’d had to attend these meetings it would have involved taking time off work and I really don’t want to burn all my vacation time running around meeting with prospective vendors.  We then met with the planner later (after normal business hours) and she walked us through the 3 proposals/price quotes and gave her opinions (“Her design uses a lot of flowers that are out of season which drives up the price and there’s risk of last minute substitutions”), but we made the decision.  And at this point, we get looped into the meetings with the florist as needed.  It saved me a lot of time and frustration.

Post # 48
Member
546 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Just looked at your post with all the choices and their work. While I do think the $12-18k planner is probably the best out of the three, I still think you can find someone who has relationships with great vendors for MUCH less than that who will do an even better job. Here are some pictures of mine with a $5k full service planner just to give you an example.  thetulle :  

Post # 49
Member
13 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2016

2016 Miami bride here, sooo curious what planner is charging 18K!   We used a full service planner, about 5K. I was pleased with them.  As an out of town bride, I don’t think I even used half of the normal amount of meetings, but the planner did do a few things with my mom in my stead, and set up long weekends of planning meetings when I would visit. The fee was not a percentage of my budget, and we saved in that regard. However, I think once you passed 250 guests, the fee structure changed.

Post # 50
Member
6936 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

This prices are not unheard of, but they are certainly not the norm. Also, the “percentage of your wedding budget” is a bit of an old school way of doing things. Most of the planners I work with (I’m a wedding photographer) don’t work this way. They have a fee for full service planning and then one for day of coordination. 

Even if you don’t need full planning, a DOC is the best gift you can give yourself. I would never rely on the “venue coordinator”. They are there look out for the venue first, you second. Your planner/DOC should be an advocate for YOU and no one else. 

Post # 51
Member
2717 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Those figures are absurd bee. We had a more modestly budgeted wedding (23k Canadian), only used a day of coordinator that came with the venue, and everything was beautiful. I loved planning my own wedding.

In comparison, I have a friend who is currently planning her (expensive) wedding with a full service planner. She said she has been a nightmare to work with and has done absolutely nothing she couldn’t have done herself. To be honest I don’t even really understand what wedding planners do in the age of the internet.. it is not hard to find your own venue and vendors. 

Post # 52
Member
128 posts
Blushing bee

thetulle :  I am in love with the 1.8k wedding!!! So elegant and crisp, j’adore! Saving that screenshot bc it is everything that I want. Touches of pink, transparent dinnerware, “military order” with the chairs lol. Since you need design help, get that partial planner and then get her to contact that bride so you can offer a couple hundreds bucks to get her pinterest board (unless she’ll be so happy she inspired you and gives you the goods for free!). You’ll be picking her brain and she’ll be making money out of a board she doesn’t need! Win-win hehehe then you can share the board with MOI when my time comes, to pay it forward and help a sister out! 

Post # 56
Member
13 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2016

I would definitely recommend my planner, if you’re still undecided about this.  Best of luck.

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