This blog will tell you what wedding coordinators charge on average, what we charge (as New Orleans wedding coordinators), and a breakdown of why coordinators charge what they do. I’ll tell you just how much of the money you spend on a coordinator actually ends-up in her pocket, and what she probably does with the rest of it.
Average Cost of Wedding
The average cost of a wedding is around $35,000 in the U.S. According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding planner last year was about $1,500 with most couples choosing a wedding coordinator for day-of or month-of services. Last year the Wedding Wire reported that the average price for coordination in the U.S. was “$800 with starting rates for higher-end planners averaging $1,250 to $3,395.”
What Does a Wedding Coordinator Cost
Our price for wedding coordination is $1567. This is for wedding coordination only, rather than design or planning services. There is quite a range even among New Orleans coordinators. That is in part based on the level of service you actually need.
Wedding Coordination, Day-of Wedding Planner, Month of Coordination
Sometimes people like to designate a time frame when they talk about wedding coordination. Whether wedding coordination requires a day, month, week, 6 weeks or a year doesn’t really matter. At Uncommon Camellia, we offer “Wedding Coordination”, and we find that the bulk of our work begins 6 weeks before the wedding. So call it what you like, but in this blog when I say wedding coordination I’m including any professional that takes over the duty of coordinating the wedding day, regardless of how long it takes her to prepare for that task.
But Why Does it Cost that Much?
By now, you’ve heard that a wedding coordinator or planner can be a great investment, that she can save you money, help you maximize your overall budget, and give you the presence of mind to actually enjoy the day. But you probably haven’t seen an itemized list of what you are paying for when you hire for a wedding coordinator. Until now.
For the sake of simplicity, we will look at a a price point of $1500 for wedding coordination. From there, I’ll break down the coordinator’s expense to perform this service.
As in most service-based businesses, the cost of labor is the biggest expense for a wedding coordination company, coming in somewhere between 50 – 60%. So let’s break down that piece first.
The coordinator you hire should work around 30-40 hours for your wedding, depending on her level of experience. Half of those hours are direct hours – committed to in-person meetings, site visits, the rehearsal, and the wedding. The other half is indirect hours – including behind the scenes administrative work such as gathering wedding details, reviewing contracts, timeline development, communication with the wedding professional team, and preparation for the wedding day.
An assistant coordinator may also be present on the wedding day, working anywhere from 6-12 direct hours.
Using the price point of $1500, if the labor expense accounts for 55%, that is $825 to pay the lead and assistant coordinators for the work they do. If the lead coordinator clocks 35 hours for your wedding and the assistant 8 hours, here’s how that may break down per hour. Say the assistant makes $14 per hour worked, totaling $112 (8 hours x $14). That leaves $713 for the main coordinator you have hired. Divide that by 35 hours and she’s making about $20 ($713/35 = $20.37) an hour. More experienced coordinators may work more efficiently and can make more per hour. Either way, after paying 55% for labor, the remaining amount is $675. ($1500 – $713 – 112 = $675.)
The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8% of revenue on marketing and advertising. If you are researching coordinators on Wedding Wire and the Knot, reviewing websites, following on Instagram, then that coordinator is investing in advertising. If she puts 8% of $1500 towards advertising, that is $120. So now we have $490 left ($675 – $120 = $555).
Healthy Profit Margin
A good profit margin for a service-based business is around 15%. Any wedding coordinator that plans to stick around, needs a healthy profit. 15% of $1500 is $225. Subtract that from the $555, and we have $330 left ($1500 – $825 – $120 – 225 = $330).
If your coordinator accepts credit card payments, she is paying a 3% fee to the credit card processor. For a $1500 bill, that is $45, now there is $285 left.
Common Other Expenses
Then there are smaller expenses such as rent, training, phone & email, uniform, office and job supplies, internet expenses, copy and print, accounting, vehicle expenses, legal fees, and insurance. Each of those ranges from 1-3%, easily using up that leftover $228. For simplicity, let’s estimate that each of these items is about 1.5% of the budget. With 12 items listed, that’s 18%. 18% of $1500 is $270. Subtract the $270 from $285, and there is $15 of wiggle room.
What About Coordinators Who Charge More
If you are considering a coordinator at a higher pricepoint, keep these same percentages in mind. In markets where weddings are more pricey, its likely because the companies have bigger expenses. For example, their staff may earn more per hour, administrative costs may be higher, rent could be more expensive, they may need to spend more on advertising and marketing to gain adequate exposure.
The Perfect Match of Value and Price
Price is a factor, but the most important factor is not price. It’s value! Understand the professional’s service in depth before you hire her for your wedding. Wait until you come to a place or find the coordinator whose price matches the value you place on the service she is offering.
Worth It To You
You may value the services of one coordinator at $1500 but the services of another coordinator at $3,000. If you value the services of the $3,000 coordinator at closer to $2,000, you’ll never be satisfied with the work she provides. You’ll constantly be looking for that extra grand, wondering where is that $1,000 going. But if you value her services at $3,000 or more, then you will feel that you made a great decision and are receiving excellent value for a fair price. The value you place on her service matches the price she has set.
Research costs, service offerings, and reputation of a few coordinators in order to determine the value you place on the service. Also, do some inward research and figure out what it is that you want most from a wedding coordinator. Then you have what you need to find that perfect match of value and price.
Thank you for reading this blog, and until next week happy wedding planning! If you need a New Orleans Wedding Coordinator, fill out our contact form here.