It could be that a wedding planner might reduce the cost of your wedding

Could a Wedding Planner Save Money?

by Debra L. Karplus

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"We're engaged," your daughter and her boyfriend excitedly chime in harmony into the phone. "We want a traditional wedding. We calculate approximately 150 family members and friends at an outdoor lake-view venue, and we want to do the planning ourselves." You're good with that; after all, they're now in their thirties and have already been on their own for a few years. You impulsively get on the phone and share the long awaited news with umpteen relatives and acquaintances, eager to share your joy.

But your daughter lives there, and you live here. She doesn't want to have the wedding in the town where she grew up; she wants her special day to take place in the community where she has begun her adulthood and has a career. It's the first wedding in the family since your own, a whole generation ago, and things are truly different today. How will she and her fiance pull this gala event together without you being there, holding her hand, making all the important decisions with her?

As of 2016, the average cost for a wedding is about $26,645. Prices vary depending on where you choose to have the wedding, according to data on This website has much practical information; you can enter your zip code and get an idea of what a lovely wedding with 150 to 200 guests might cost. Take a medium-sized Midwestern college town such as Champaign, Illinois 61820, for example, and you'll discover that a decent wedding costs eighteen to thirty thousand dollars. A comparable wedding in Beverly Hills 90210 might cost twenty rights to forty eight thousand. Those are huge price differentials, but you still get the idea. Ouch! So much for being a dollar stretcher.

These days, many brides-to-be are choosing to hire a wedding planner or wedding coordinator. Having a professional can reduce some of the stresses that come with organizing a flawless once-in-a-lifetime event and, amazingly, can pay for itself in a number of ways. Dismissing the advantages of working with a wedding planner may be a classic case of penny wise and pound foolish.

A wedding planner can provide guidance, ideas, and moral support when emotions trump logic.

Advice about flowers, invitations, music, photographer, wedding attire, venues, officiants, food, cake, accommodations for out-of-town guests, and gift registries are just a few of the many services a competent wedding planner can provide. One bride-to-be learned from her wedding planning professional a clever way to save money on the cake; select a beautiful, but short, wedding cake. Put an inedible "fake bottom" under it. Use an inexpensive, but high quality, sheet cake from the supermarket as the cake you actually serve from the wedding venue kitchen. An experienced wedding planner will have many more "tricks" up her or his sleeve!

Wedding planners have a variety of ways that they charge for their expertise.

Some planners charge a percentage of the cost of the wedding; others base their prices on a flat rate or an hourly fee. Many create a custom tiered package to meet your needs depending on whether you only need an initial consultation or require actual hands-on involvement during the planning period, week of the wedding, or even the wedding day. Factors in pricing typically include number of face-to-face meetings with the planner, phone calls, and emails. For example, one popular wedding planner in the Los Angeles area charges fifteen hundred dollars for her basic package.

Most engaged couples and their parents find that a capable wedding planner is worth every penny spent. Seasoned wedding planners typically have "connections" with vendors that they often use such as florists and photographers, thus making the expense of a planner to be a cost-effective "investment." A wedding planner with a good reputation around town can get you a deal on the wedding site and food that may not be directly available to you, the consumer.

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Choose the best wedding planner by talking to other new brides or engaged couples.

You can easily locate names of local wedding planners or coordinators online. There are many wedding planning websites. One that is especially useful is Interview at least three wedding planners, as you would with any other large purchase. Obtain personal references and speak with them. Word-of-mouth is the best method for finding the right planner for you. Some of the wedding websites provide specific suggestions of interviewing questions for your potential wedding planner. These sites have useful checklists and information. Some of this information is general and other information is specific to your area.

One of the most joyous times in your life may be when you are planning a wedding. Consider the peace of mind that comes with the support from hiring a savvy wedding planner. It may pay for itself in many ways.

Updated August 18, 2016

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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