Demystifying Wedding Planner Costs in Los Angeles
In this blog post, Demystifying Wedding Planner Costs in Los Angeles, we will shed light on the factors that influence the cost of hiring a wedding planner in Los Angeles and provide a general understanding of what to look for and expect. We share this information not to scare you, but rather to educate you on the average costs we are seeing for our clients in the Los Angeles market in 2023.
My name is Holly Gray, owner of Anything But Gray Events. After 12 years of planning and designing weddings, and 10 more as a stage manager for live theater, I know a thing or two about a thing or two. When I started my business in 2012, I tried to be the wedding planner for everyone. Stupid move! Why? Because no one can be anything for everyone. It just doesn’t work. So, I wised up and niched down to focus my energy and specific talents on being the wedding planner for my ideal clients.
My clients are quirky, creative, colorful, and non-traditional ‘Whackadoos’, as I lovingly call them. They are usually somehow involved in their entertainment industry, have pets, love museums and theater, and take the path less traveled in life. They desire to create a one-of-a-kind wedding experience for themselves and their guests that they CAN’T find already all over Pinterest!
They don’t want to follow the trends but rather lead the way. At Anything But Gray Events, we breaking the beige and bashful mold of traditional weddings and incorporating interactive, theatrical, and immersive elements that create a truly unique wedding celebration from start to finish.
Photo: Aurelia D’Amore Photography
*If you want a “basic bitch” wedding, I am not your wedding planner!
Planning a wedding in Los Angeles can be an exciting but also an overwhelming experience for many engaged couples. After the initial excitement wears off, you are left with a feeling of uncertainty and a lack of what to do next.
With so many big and small details to consider, hiring a wedding planner can alleviate stress, reduce confusion, and ensure a smooth and memorable event. However, one common concern for couples is the cost of hiring a wedding planner in Los Angeles.
Searching on wedding websites can be drastically inaccurate, especially when it comes to pricing. Anywhere from $1500 for a “Day of Coordinator” to 12-20k for partial and full planning, to 20k+ (or flat rate + percentage) for full planning and design. Destination or multi-event wedding prices can be totally different!
So the question is, is there really a difference between those services and the planners that offer them you ask?
You bet your butt there is! Like anything else, you really do get what you pay for.
Wedding planners with extensive experience and a strong reputation often come with a higher price tag. You are paying for their experience and the knowledge they have gained. Their expertise, knowledge of the local market, and established relationships with vendors can be invaluable in creating a flawless wedding.
Keep in mind that their fees reflect the value they bring to the table. And what might take you 6 months to scrape together on your own, they can curate in half the time because of this experience and expertise. They might make it look easy, but that is the case because of the years it took to learn it!
The range of services offered by wedding planners can vary significantly. Some couples may opt for full-service planning, where the planner handles every aspect of the wedding. Across the board, you will see offerings like, “Day-Of Coordination”, Wedding Management Partial Planning, Full Planning, Design, as well as, Full Planning and Design. It can really get confusing, can’t it? Simply put, the more comprehensive the services and the experience the wedding planner has, the higher the cost is likely to be.
At Anything But Gray Events, we keep it honest, transparent, inclusive, and all-encompassing by only offering Full Planning and Design services. Why? We believe it’s better to offer clients everything they will need. After years of stage management and producing events, I know that the term, “Day of Coordinator” is a misnomer. Like the Tooth Fairy, the concept is cute, but it doesn’t exist!
The truth is, you don’t know what you need until you need it. When hiring an expert in their field, trust that they understand and know the pitfalls you will fall into before you do. We want our clients to know, understand, and feel that from beginning to end, we are there to support them in their wedding planning journey. People don’t fit into packages!
While haggling is not an encouraged practice with wedding planners, do understand that the price you are being quoted directly correlates with their experiences and scope of services. If you want to pay less, you will get less. Don’t fall victim to this short-sided thinking that trying to wheel and deal will work out. Find a wedding planner you really trust and connect with, ask a lot of questions, hire them, and then allow them to guide you in a direction that’s beneficial to your needs.
The size and complexity of your wedding play a role in determining the cost of a wedding planner. Larger weddings with more guests, multiple venues, multi-day wedding events, and intricate venue logistics require additional time and resources to plan and execute properly. This can result in higher fees to account for the increased workload. Remember, everyone’s time is money!
Most wedding planners will ask for a venue name or venues you are interested in, an approximate or exact date, and a ballpark guest count when you reach out to them. Answer honestly as this will give them to most accurate concept of your wedding scope and needs. Planning and designing a wedding of 50 guests in your family’s backyard is much different than a wedding of 150 guests at an established wedding venue. You might be surprised to know which one is more complicated!
If you desire a highly personalized and unique wedding, expect to pay more for a wedding planner who can bring your vision to life. Like doctors, there is a difference between going to a general practitioner and a specialist! A wedding planner who specializes in a niche category will offer unique services, designs, vendor partnerships, and customization that others can’t provide in the same way.
Customization often involves additional time spent on design concepts, sourcing unique vendors, creating mockups, and managing intricate details, all of which contribute to the overall cost. I have said it before, but I will say it again. Time is money!
Anything But Gray Events prides itself on creating one-of-a-kind wedding experiences for our clients and their guests. This means, no two weddings are ever alike because no two couples are alike, period!
Los Angeles offers a wide range of wedding venues, each with its own set of considerations, constrictions, and challenges. Some venues may require more logistical planning or have specific vendor requirements. Wedding planners familiar with the local scene and venue intricacies will have intel you can’t find online. Leveraging their talents, experience, and insight is an invaluable service. Hiring a wedding planner with experience in your specific type of wedding venue (i.e. warehouse, barn, garden, historical property, personal estate, ranch, hotel, highrise, etc.) only serves to help you. Each type of venue will require different needs and wedding planner participation accordingly.
Wedding planning is a time-consuming process that requires attention to detail and meticulous organization. Plus, and this is something most engaged couples don’t like to consider, your wedding planner is not just YOUR wedding planner. They are servicing several clients at a time. Wedding planners invest countless hours in researching, coordinating, and managing various aspects of your wedding. On average, we will spend 450+ hours prepping for a client’s wedding.
For every step of the planning process, your wedding planner is communicating with the vendor team, and venue, and making the necessary changes to help you not only in the short run but the long run as well. We are troubleshooting, adjusting, and being flexible to necessary and sometimes last-minute changes. That means emails, phone calls, in-person meetings, Zooms, deliveries, pick-ups, and drop-offs on top of the actual wedding day celebration itself, plus any items that might need to be handled, like rental returns or load out, after the fact. Some of these timely tasks you will see firsthand, but MANY of which will happen behind the scenes, unknown to you but nonetheless taken care of on your behalf. Guests don’t always notice when everything goes right, but they certainly notice when this go wrong. This is where a wedding planner’s time and effort on your behalf is priceless.
And consider this, if it takes a seasoned and experienced wedding planner 450+ hours, how long would it take the average couple to complete themselves without professional help?
Wedding planner fees reflect the time and effort they dedicate to ensuring your wedding day is outstanding. And keep in mind, just because something seems “easy” to a wedding planner, doesn’t mean it’s actually easy. They might make it look easy, but that really just means they have spent years honoring their craft. What I knew in year 1 of my business is incredibly different than what I know now in year 12. What seems “easy” from a couple’s perspective only appears that way because of years of knowledge, practice, and consistency. Experience is invaluable!
Beyond the core planning services, some wedding planners offer additional services such as design and styling, invitation management, or wedding weekend event planning. These extra services can enhance your wedding experience but will come at an additional cost.
While the cost of hiring a wedding planner in Los Angeles can vary, it is important to remember that their expertise and guidance can be invaluable in creating the wedding of your dreams. While there is no hard and fast rule that hiring an experienced wedding planner will save you money, they will help you allocate your funds in the smartest possible way. There will and should be a vast price difference between someone who has been planning for 12 years, versus someone who has been planning for 12 months.
When considering the cost, focus on the value they bring, the stress they alleviate, the time they save you, the knowledge they carry in their brain, and the experience they carry in their hands!
There will be elevated costs for hiring a seasoned and experienced wedding planner, but the costs of hiring an inexperienced one can be much more costly in the long run. As the old saying goes, If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, just wait until you hire an amateur.”
It is recommended to research and interview multiple wedding planners to find one that aligns with your vision, personality, budget, and needs. Remember, investing in a skilled wedding planner can ultimately save you time, and unneeded stress to ensure a memorable wedding day that you can enjoy firsthand!