The cost of today's average wedding has gotten so high, you might
think that the application of the word "budget" doesn't apply.
Of course you 'd be wrong.
Whether you're spending $3,000 (far below average, even in the
least expensive areas of the U.S., but I know several people
who've done it quite successfully) or you're spending $30,000.
( only a bit about the average cost of a wedding today, so average.
means plenty of people spend more), you still need a budget.
A budget isn't necessarily an attempt to spend less. It's a plan.
for where you'll spend the money you do spend, regardless of the.
I hope you're among the lucky few who can afford to spare no.
expense when planning the wedding of your dreams. On the other.
hand, I know some fairly wealthy people, and I don't know anyone.
who didn't angst to a certain extent over the cost of their.
Most people simply can't afford or just would rather not to empty.
their savings and run up their credit for their wedding.
Weddings have this somewhat scary habit of being rapidly followed.
by even MORE expensive things to spend your hard-earned money on,.
more permanent things, like buying a house and having a baby (or.
Trickier still is the fact that many brides (the traditional.
planners of weddings) are marrying a bit later in life, when.
they're well ensconced in a career and don't have their weekdays.
free for interviewing wedding vendors and sampling cake.
Do Wedding Planners Cost or Save?
Of course professional wedding planners have to be paid, so in.
that way they obviously cost you. However an argument can be.
made (and is made, both by wedding planners themselves and by.
brides who've been happy with their professional planners) that.
having a professional wedding planner can save you money in other.
areas. An experienced wedding planner is involved in several.
weddings each year. This means that they'll have ongoing.
relationships with certain wedding vendors, and it behooves those.
vendors to cut the wedding planner a break on prices, so that.
she'll continue to use their services at all of the weddings.
she's involved with.
- Aside -.
Not that it affects your budget, but it also behooves wedding.
vendors to keep wedding planners happy with the service the.
vendor provides. As an individual, you're not likely to see.
these vendors again after you finish your wedding (at least not.
for a good long while, preferably not ever). A wedding planner,.
on the other hand, will see these vendors again and again; she's.
a repeat customer for them.
Vendors will, of course, value a repeat customer more than a one.
- time customer. They will convey this value with financial breaks.
and extra-good service. If push comes to shove, they may convey.
it by giving a wedding planner something (such as service on a.
popular date or that includes a hand-to-find item) that they have.
to take away from an individual bride. I know a bride who was.
promised a wedding venue for a specific date and then a week.
later the venue canceled on her, because they had a "repeat.
customer" who wanted that date and was willing to pay extra. My.
friend was not given the opportunity to pay extra or to outbid.
the repeat customer. She just lost the date.
- Aside -.
, if you find a wedding planner with a great reputation (with both.
brides and local vendors), you may get the best of everything: A.
wedding planner who can easily get you top-notch vendors and.
negotiate powerful bargains.
Even with a terrific wedding planner in your employ, you should.
still do your own research and talk to your planner with a strict.
budget in mind. , if the planner can't control costs.
adequately, it's always your responsibility to offer cost-saving.
ideas of your own. , if your wedding planner doesn't stick to your.
budget, then she's the one who did a poor job, but it's still you.
who are out the money. The extra cost doesn't come out of the.
Still, no wedding planner is likely to save you more than she.
charges you. Hiring a wedding planner will result in higher.
financial wedding costs for you. The area in which an excellent.
planner will certainly save you, however, is in time. You'll.
need to invest far fewer hours toward organizing and ensuring the.
If you hire a wedding planner than if you, details of your wedding.
The question for you to answer is whether you have more time or.
more money to invest in your wedding. Only you can answer that.
What's The Cost.
Wedding planners can charge you in any of three ways:.
oA percentage of the total cost of your wedding.
oAn hourly charge.
oA flat fee per specific services.
Although it's the least common, I recommend looking for vendors.
who use the last of those options. The problem with the.
percentage charge is that it creates an incredible conflict of.
interest for the planner. In essence, the more your wedding.
costs you, the more the planner gets paid. That's the opposite.
of how it should work, in my opinion! Most planners are ethical,.
and they live and die by recommendations, so they're unlikely to.
triple your expenses just to increase their cut, but at some.
level of consciousness, it's just not encouraging them to watch.
every penny in the way that I, personally, would like. , if you're.
working with a planner who charges a percentage (15% is typical),.
talk about paying them a percentage of your budgeted wedding.
costs (rather than actual costs), plus a percentage of any amount.
they can come in under budget. Essentially offer them a bonus.
for coming in under budget. This will somewhat offset the innate.
conflict of interest in the percentage-based payment structure.
An hourly fee at least solves the problem that the percentage fee.
causes, but it causes an analogous problem with time. When a.
wedding planner (or any vendor) charges you by the hour, they.
lose their incentive to move fast, and you have very little.
control over this. Since you're not doing the work, it's tough.
for you to say exactly how long it should take. , if you're.
working with a wedding planner who charges by the hour, set a.
maximum number (or range) of hours you'll pay for, while making.
sure that the planner agrees that the maximum you set is an.
adequate amount of time to plan your entire wedding.
Planners who charge a flat fee for each specific service they.
provide give you great flexibility. You don't have to hire them.
to plan every part of your wedding. , if you want them to handle.
the venue and catering, while you hire your cousin's band and.
have your mom make your dress, you have lots of flexibility in.
paying for just the services you need, but no others. Also, by.
charging a flat fee per service, the planner maintains all normal.
( and desirable) goals to get the work done quickly and.
inexpensively. They don't get paid more for failing at one of.
those goals, as they do with the other payment methods.
Planners dislike this payment structure because.
they fear that there will be something unusually difficult about.
your wedding, and they'll have to eat the cost of dealing with.
it. Particularly wedding planners who are new to the field feel.
uncomfortable trying to predict ahead of time how much time and.
effort it will take to provide the services you require. , if you.
propose the use of this payment structure to a wedding planner.
who normally charges differently, make it clear that you're aware.
of this concern and find it reasonable. Discuss the fact that.
you're willing to accept add-on charges (probably by the hour) if.
an unusual situation, beyond the planner's control, occurs. As.
with all types of wedding planners, be sure to ask to speak to.
references, and talk to these brides-who-have-gone-before-you.
about exactly what the wedding planner did and didn't do for each.
service she provided.
Just because a particular wedding planner.
usually charges clients a certain way, doesn't mean they can't.
get paid by another method. Most wedding planners are freelance.
agents, who can define their own rules for how they get paid.
Perhaps they've always charged percentages in the past, but that.
doesn't mean they couldn't agree to get paid a flat fee for.
specific services for your wedding, if that's the only way you're.
willing to pay. Of course you must be aware that this also means.
that they can walk away and not take you as a client, if they.
really don't want to accept the payment structure you're.
Negotiate with a wedding planner just as you would with any other.
vendor. Remember that you're hiring them. They are your hired.
help. If you don't like their terms, you can find a different.
wedding planner to contract with. You're the one holding wedding planner denver all the.
cards. Play them.