March 15, 2023

Pricing For New Wedding Planners

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The Secret Is Out!  I only charged $300 for my first three clients. (This was in 2011, and I will say that I would 150% charge more now.)
Here’s why I priced myself so low – I desperately needed images, experience, reviews, and vendor connections. In my mind, I factored those things in as payments for these weddings. At the end of the day, these weddings were still a win for my business and my clients. They gave me the experience and confidence I needed as my business grew. It also helped me to be more realistic as I work with new planners who are figuring out how to price their own services. 
I know that this bothers some in the industry, but I also wanna be honest and give grace to those who are new.
Inside my sales guide (in the launch bundle), I actually challenge new planners to think about it like this…
  • Average day-of coordination is 30 hours of work.
  • How much are you making at your job now? (I was working in marketing with CFA making $11 an hour, another story for another day.)
  • If you take what you’re currently making hourly and multiply it by 30, and can charge that or more – then that’s a WIN for your first few weddings OR a wedding at a venue that fits your target client and can get you more business down the line.
I know I kill people with this stuff, but it’s kind of what I’m know for in the industry at this point. 😉 Squeaky wheel over here – after 12+ years of mentoring planners in the trenches of truly launching from ground zero.

What’s Inside This Episode?

  • 1:20 – What I charged for my first 3 weddings
  • 3:29 – The problem with the industry standard
  • 4:40 – The system I have used in 13+ new locations, with new planners for pricing
  • 9:30 – A message for planners across the country

In case you prefer to read instead of listen, let me break a few points down here.

1. New planners are told by others that they should be charging the industry standard of their area, but this assumes that you have the same level of experience and education as other planners in your area. If you feel like your services aren’t worth the industry standard yet, that’s okay. It’s not a bad thing to price yourself based on the value you feel you offer. I know a planner who went through a year and seven weddings before she charged a single client. 

You can– and should– raise your rates as time passes and you have more weddings under your belt.  Even without inflation as a factor, my rates have steadily increased over the past decade. Just like with every other industry, your experience and expertise matter when it comes to how much you get paid. 

2. It’s important to realize that booking new clients requires a certain level of confidence. When new planners are pricing their services for day-of coordination, here’s one way to feel confident in their rates. Consider that day-of coordination takes about 30 hours of work. Take that 30 hours, and multiply it by your current hourly rate. (If you’re salaried, you’ll need to do a little math!) As long as your day-of rates are at least that much, your pricing is working for you– you’re making just as much as you would at your non-planner job!  

And again, it’s a great idea to slowly raise your rates as you go. If this formula provides a day-of rate that is much lower than other local planners, maybe go ahead and add an extra $2 to your hourly rate. You can also use this formula to explain to clients your time commitment of 30 hours and what your hourly rate is, so they can better understand the value you’re bringing to the table.

3. My last thought is for experienced planners who are nervous about new planners undercutting your rates. The clients they are currently booking, looking for a deal, are not your ideal, target client. They know they are getting a deal or asking for special services from someone new, and it’s not a loss for your business. There are plenty of couples with a higher budget who are looking for someone who can bring years of experience to planning their wedding. Those people are who you want to work with. I know it’s hard to remember that, but I promise it’s true. Remember you were once a newbie planner who had no idea how to price your own services! Now look where you are today. Life is a little better when we can find a way to encourage each other at every part of our journey.


Rooting for you always friend,


Founder, Chancey Charm


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Chancey Charm

Behind this blog is a team of experienced destination wedding planners. With over 350 published weddings and editorials under our brand and over 400 five star reviews collected, we’ve served 800+ happy couples since 2011. We’ve been named a top planner by Southern Living Magazine and featured on Martha Stewart. We’re an affiliate of Jet Set World Travel and love seeing our client’s destination dreams come true. This is our place to trusted planning advice with YOU, so you can plan without the stress.  We also have a heart for educating new planners through the academy, so you’ll be sure to see some of that content here as well.  Cheers!

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