From Morgan of Spreading Lovely:
With so many vendors available, it can be daunting to try to select the team for your wedding if you know little about the wedding industry. When looking for a planner, it is important to check out their work on their website, instagram, and make sure the types of weddings they seem to focus or specialize on look like the type of wedding you want to have! Does their design aesthetic feel authentic and resonate with you? What are past clients saying about working with them? Sticker shock can be a very real thing that I help many clients through, and sticker shock on a planner can be another big one. If you're looking for Month of Coordination, you can expect to invest between $2,500 - 4,000, for Partial Planning & Design, expect $5,000 - 8,000 and for Full Planning & Design between $8,000 - 15,000, depending on the planner.
Your planner will really become the pilot for your wedding, guiding you through the process, helping you with every decision, orchestrating the design and execution, finding top notch vendors to bring your vision to life, ensuring every last detail of your day is lined up properly, and finalizing all vendors are accounted for in what they are providing and service details. Planners not only are working with you up front with emails and meetings, but so much goes on behind the scenes working with your vendors, creating and recreating design decks, floorplans, timelines, rental orders, and asking vendors the questions that maybe you forgot to check on.
The wedding industry is one where you tend to get what you pay for; if someone chargers much less, you may be sacrificing quality and experience. Look at it this way, you wouldn't purchase a really beautiful house, upgrade all the furnishings, and then never check the home's foundation. A planner is like the foundation - you can have truly phenomenal vendors, but if the timeline doesn't designate enough for photos, that amazing photographer you paid for doesn't have the time to get all of the shots you wanted, and the caterer doesn't have nearly enough time designated for dinner service, so the whole wedding night seems to run off course and you don't get to dancing until much later than anticipated. When you don't have a planner, other vendors have to pick up the slack and are doing double duty -- hiring a planner means all of your vendors can truly focus on their job, you can relax knowing everything is taken care of. I can't tell you the number of times vendors have said to me after a wedding that they were so glad I was there to keep everything on schedule and how smooth the day went. Having a quality planner is the driving force behind your wedding, and means you get to truly do what your wedding day should be all about - celebrating the heck out of your marriage with the people who love you the most, without a single worry in the world!
The Bay Area has some of the highest costs of living, the highest incomes, and California has many minimum wage and labor laws, and with that, comes more expensive weddings. For a wedding with 150 guests, you can expect to spend anywhere between $50,000 - 150,000. There truly is no limit on how much you *can* spend on a wedding.
Below are two sample budgets for Bay Area weddings:
A breakdown below for a higher budget wedding:
Wedding Planner (full planning & design): $10,000
Hair and Makeup (Bride only): $1000
Catering + Bar: $60,000
Rentals + Decor: $8,000
Total: $119,500 (not including suit, dress, rings, gifts, accommodations)
Breakdown below for someone with a tighter budget:
Month of Coordination: $3,500
Hair and Makeup (bride only): $600
Catering + Bar: $30,000
Rentals + Decor: $3,000
Total: $60,100 (not including suit, dress, rings, gifts, accommodations)
That is not to say that you cannot do a wedding for less than this! This would be the average amount if you are looking for the highest quality. If you love food trucks, awesome, your catering invoice will be much lower! Have a venue that includes chairs and tables, glassware, flatware and linens you like? Awesome, you may not need much for additional rentals!