Recently I read several articles discussing the cost of hiring an event planner in different areas of the country. As the head of a full service design and planning firm I found myself more and more shocked as I read through these opinions. I call them opinions because I do not feel like these prices have any basis in fact.  So today I would like to break down the cost of planning from start to finish.

Let’s start with a full design package. What this means is that you have already asked, or been asked the big question, the answer was yes and you have picked a date. You have no other planning done and want to hire a firm like Belladeux to design and execute your big day. On average the minimum amount of time a designer/planner will spend on your event is 200 hours. If you break that down to an hourly rate based on one articles listed price of $2,500 for full design and planning, you are paying your planner $12.50 an hour.  If you break it down by the $1,500 another article suggested you bring that rate down to $7.50 per hour.

Now take a planner that has priced their full design and management package at about the $8,000 range.  Breaking that down into 200 hours puts you at roughly $40 per hour for services. Keep in mind that a large wedding will have at the least 2 staff members working on your event (for up to 2 years) and on the day of your event will be on site for upwards of 15 hours.

Hiring an experienced designer/planner is the equivalent to hiring an interior decorator.  You would not expect an interior decorator to work for $7.50 an hour, would you?  When writers who do not work in the industry make blanket statements about what the cost of a planner should be, it hurts local planners trying to make happy clients by doing what they do best. Being misinformed is one thing, using flat out bad information is detrimental to the industry and in some cases it is extremely insulting.

Event Designers and Planners are professionals. (Have I mentioned that yet?)  They typically have college degrees, additional design experience and have worked for years to become experts in their field.  So when you book with a professional planner, chances are they know exactly what will go into your planning and have priced themselves accordingly.  When a client says you are too expensive, or my favorite, but so and so can do it for $500, I say go for it.  Just remember, in wedding planning and in life, you get what you pay for!

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