By: Tracey Manailescu. WPIC Co-founder & Vice President
The much anticipated and sold-out “Wedding Planner Pricing Wars,” event happened on Monday, February 25th at the Aga Khan Museum.
It was time to address the rising frustrations between the “Charge What Your Worth” camp and the Undercutting Dabblers. Is there a middle ground where we can peacefully co-exist? These are some of the topics that were discussed.
Attendees were treated to a colourful and delicious feast upon arrival, then escorted throughout this beautiful venue for a wedding site visit by Sonia Borkar, WPICC who is the Event Sales & Service Coordinator (as well as the Wedding Specialist). After the site visit concluded, attendees made their way back into the beautiful Bellerive room for our panel discussion.
Our delicious menu:
- Assorted pita and flat breads with house made hummus
- Baby kale and curried cauliflower salad with picked red onion, saffron almond, shaved radish with honey lime dressing
- Bandari spiced crusted chicken with caramelized fennel and onion relish
- Lemon harissa glazed Atlantic salmon with scallion tapenade
- Moroccan couscous salad with eggplant, raisins and cashews
- Steamed French beans with freekeh, mint, dill and olive oil
- Sliced seasonal fruit
The panel consisted of four wonderful wedding pros (who all happen to be WPIC alumni). WPIC Co-founders, Danielle and Tracey were the moderators of the evening.
Tracey and Danielle opened the panel discussion with some important points about not undercutting the industry and laid out the absolute minimums that Wedding Planners should be charging for Wedding Planning Services (charging anything lower than the suggested minimums is against the WPIC Code of Ethics and can result in suspension of membership, or even loss of Certification.)
What are the Minimum rates for Wedding Planning Services in the GTA?
Please note, these are starting rates, there is no cap or maximum as to what a Wedding Planner can charge.
- The starting rate for Wedding planning is $50/hour. For every hour that a Wedding Planner is with their clients, there is probably 2 hours of preparation that went in to that hour.
- The Minimum rate for Consulting is $150 for the first hour, $50 for every hour after.
- The Minimum rate for Month-of Coordination (also known as Day-of, Wedding Day Direction, Wedding Day Management) is $1000.
- The absolute Minimum rate for Full Coordination is $2500, and should based on 10-15% of the total wedding budget.
Question for all:
I have potential clients tell me the other planner keeps them within budget and I am over by a few hundred dollars. I tell them about my experience, my professional development etc, but I feel sometimes its just not enough? And of course it’s only after the wedding do they realize what they paid for. How do you let them know that you are worth what you charge?
Question for all:
What do you feel is the best way to put pricing on your website – starting price, price range, contact for pricing, and why?
Question for all:
If I’m just paying an assistant for the day, I pay at least $17/hr. But I’m curious what other people do if they have people leading events for them and how they compensate them. Is it % based, like a 70:30 split for example or is it still an hourly/per event rate? I’m getting multiple requests for the same dates and am considering bringing on a second lead planner. Just wondering how to pay them if they are doing the majority of the work for the event.
Here are more of the questions asked of our panel:
- What is your perspective on the difference between Flat Fee vs Charging by Percentage? Is their difference and how do you know which is right for certain clients?
- At what point did you feel comfortable increasing your prices? At what point did you know it was time to do so?
- How do you justify your pricing to a client?
- Should you negotiate if someone is looking for a price adjustment or a discount? How do you word this?
- How do you go about attracting your target couple? What do you do to brand yourself through your website or social media?
- How do you determine your pricing for larger weddings? Is there a formula?
- What is your ‘go to’ response when someone haggles you on price or asks you why you cost x amount when someone else charges x amount?
- There are so many wedding planners to choose from. How do you differentiate yourself from the other wedding planners in the GTA?
- What are some things we can do to attract our target market?
It was a very informative and inspiring evening. Our panel gave thoughtful and well explained answers.
The answers that were given, will be provided in a recap on our WPIC Alumni Association forum boards for our alumni who were unable to attend.