Are you a wedding planner or aspiring to become one? We previously covered the basics of how to become one, but today it’s time to look at what the average salary of a wedding planner looks like across the nation, see what factors way in the final figures and so on. Besides this deeper look into the key factors and statistics for the wedding planner salary, we will also share a few insider tips on how these earnings can be increased and what can be done to become one of the top paid wedding planners in your business area.
Being a wedding planner may just seem like the ideal job to some: if some people only live to be in the glamour spotlights for a day or two in their life (the people who are getting married, namely), the professionals working in the wedding planning business get to be in that shiny setting almost all the time. It’s true that things don’t really look so fun when you’re the one responsible for everyone else’s fun going the right way, but still, the satisfaction and prestige of being at the core of meaningful events and a professional life of stylish settings are quite attractive. Coupling that with the perspective of earning well (even the average salary of a wedding planner without any outstanding clients and gigs still looks pretty good) and the job of the wedding planner is understandably one with many candidates.
What is the Average Wedding Planner Salary and its Factors?
According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, the average wedding planner salary per year in May 2013 was $50,190. The wedding planners that don’t do so well tend to earn around $40 K per year or a bit less, but there are also quite a few professionals who earn more than $100 K. Every wedding planner’s goal is, of course, to be able to increase their earnings to that level, and to gain the reputation of the most reliable wedding expert in their area. We will discuss more details about how that can be achieved below.
For now, let’s take a deeper look into how a wedding planner salary can vary across a few key factors. First of all, there is of course the question of geography: some cities and areas come with higher earning standards (and event prices) by default. In 2013, according to the most recent BLS data, the 5 top-paying cities and areas for a wedding and event planner were Washington D.C. (with an average salary of $66,630 per year), Massachusetts (with an average level of earnings of $60,430 per year), New York and New Jersey (with an average of $55,610) and, finally, Connecticut (with an average of $55,080).
Coming down to a wedding planner salary specifically (excluding the planners of other event types from the data), the BLS reported Los Angeles and New York to be the cities where this profession pays off most. The average wedding planner salary in Los Angeles in 2013 was $58,350 per year, while in New York it even reached a level of $61,520. At the opposite side of the spectrum, the wedding planners in southwestern Montana only managed to earn an annual revenue of $33,640 in 2013 (again, according to the BLS).
Other factors beyond geography obviously include the wedding planner’s level of experience in the niche, as well as a solid reputation (achieved through constant branding and promotion). According to The Wedding Planner Book, even if the BLS reports these figures for average annual salaries, the thing is that not a lot of wedding planners make it beyond their initial few years. Those who do, however, can expect to earn much higher than these reported average salaries (the same source indicates that the average BLS recorded salary translates into an average wedding planner salary per wedding of $3,262). The Wedding Planner Book’s contributors reported that the wedding planners with more than 5 years of experience can earn between $70K and $90K a year, while the ones with more than 10 years of experience regularly earn over $100,000 per year. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
How can a Wedding Planner Salary be Increased?
First of all, let’s clarify that the wedding planners who earn much more than the average salary of wedding planner workers nationwide (specified above to be at the level of $50,190 in May 2013) aren’t accomplishing that simply by charging higher prices for their services. If your rates are overall high (even if your reputation in the niche would be good enough to justify them), you will probably drive the bulk of your client base away, ending up hurting that reputation in the first place.
The secret of obtaining those high earnings some wedding planners achieve is to try to secure a solid handful of high profile clients in additional to your basic client base. These clients (local celebrities or simply richer than average people) are more likely to be looking for a wedding beyond the regular parameters of style and luxury, and since they are spending more on the wedding and requiring special services, they are also willing to pay much more for the wedding planner’s work fee as well. Also, there is the fact that all customers, paying higher or lower, are willing to spend quite a significant portion of their income on an event which they hope will be unique in their lifetimes. That is what makes the wedding planning business so meaningful, and profitable as well.
Our advice is to never renounce your less well paying clients even if you start having the top paying clients regularly. You never know how regular the flux of VIP clients will indeed be, and it’s always safer to have your regular client base and business to fall back on. Also, even if the wedding planner salary per wedding would at some point not be high enough compared to the earnings you regularly get from your VIP customers, it’s still sane for any business to have volume. A good business flow and volume each month is the best business card you could ever hope for, and the one you need most. Nothing recommends you most like a consistent flow, even if your top clients are usually the needed ‘business card’ for bringing in even more of these VIP status customers.
Also, don’t forget that promotion is crucial to your business’ success. People need to hear of you, and you may need to pay a particularly skilled publicity agent or company in order to make sure all the segments of your target clientele are properly reached. Social media is more and more important in promotion and self-promotion too (especially if you kindly ask your clients to tag you in the wedding photos they post). Just take it one wedding at a time and make sure you help people really live their dream days in the event you organize: that’s the surefire way of achieving a higher than average wedding planner salary.
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