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For Love … and Money! The Salary Expectations of a Wedding Planner

Last updated August 4th, 2017

Of course weddings are all about the love and although many event managers choose wedding planning because they’re passionate about delivering dreams, being a professional also means being paid! So, what salary can you expect if your event management future lies in wedding planning?

Starting salaries

Starting salaries for professional wedding planners generally correlate with the level of expertise you bring to the role. So if you’re getting started with entry level roles, such as wedding planner apprentice, a venue wedding assistant, or for a private wedding planning company, your salary may be less than the £17,000 a year starting salary indicated by the National Careers Service.
However, the additional value offered by some of these lower paid roles bring is within the opportunities they bring for gaining on-the-job experience, vital when starting this career path and aiming to access higher salaries later.
Those would-be wedding planners who have experience or an event management qualification should already have a portfolio of recent and relevant experience, and this can help with negotiations towards the top end of starting salaries – up to £25,000 a year, based on the level of experience, expertise and early success.

Advancing beyond average

Average salaries for wedding planners are around £25,000 a year, a figure based mainly on those planners who have gained a venue-based roles, or have achieved early success in building up a freelance wedding planner business.
As over half couples marrying in 2017 chose venues which deliver their whole day, from ceremony to reception and all aspects involved (source: Bridebook Wedding Report 2017), many venues now compete for the best professional wedding planners, recognising the value and additional bookings successful in-house planners bring. As such, highly experienced wedding planners who can offer a strong record of expertise, word-of-mouth recommendation and positive client testimonials could access salaries beyond this average.
Gaining higher-than-average salaries is also achievable for freelance wedding planners or those working specifically for an event consultancy or agency, as these professionals will often be planning and managing more than one wedding at a time. Although this multi-management is also true for venue-based wedding planners, the difference is that working for a fixed salary in-house covers the management of any and all weddings across a season, whereas a well reputed independent wedding planner charges for each wedding individually, which may add up significantly month to month.
Indeed, a successful wedding planner running independent wedding consultancy and planning services could command several thousand pounds per wedding, a sure way for earnings to exceed the average salary per year, whilst those well-reputed professionals offering the very best services can achieve even greater fees (The Guardian, 2011).

Professional progression

Of course, as with many other event management careers, the keys to unlocking earning potential and progressing professionally include:

Is your salary worth your time?

When it comes to your salary, remember to measure it by the amount of time, as well as the cash. So, unless you’re working under a specific contract which allows for enhanced pay on evenings and weekends, any salary offered, or fees discussed with clients, should reflect the significant ‘out of hours’ demands made of wedding planners.
Remember also that, as peak wedding season runs from May to September in the UK, a professional wedding planner is unlikely to be able take summer holidays. However, this can be a great earning opportunity for independent professionals who can balance the cost of their time with successfully delivering multiple weddings to schedule. A successful season means the chance to boost the salary and take longer personal holidays around less busy times in the wedding calendar, such as winter.
Finally, what should you remember when it comes to your own wedding planner salary?

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