“How much money do wedding planners make?” – This is one of the most popular questions about getting starting in the wedding and event planning industry. What is the typical salary of an event planner who is self employed? Wedding planner salaries vary greatly from a few hundred dollars per event to many thousands of dollars. There are event planners who earn more than $100K a year easily and those who barely make $15K. The difference in a wedding consultant’s salary depends on the following:
The number of years in business – For most event planning businesses, it takes 2-4 years to become profitable. Many planners start out by planning events part-time while maintaining another job or career until their business grows. It can take a few years before you are fully booked with clients.
Business knowledge – Understanding cash flow, basic accounting, budgeting and taxes enables business owners to price based on their expenses and desired salary. Business savvy planners know what they need to charge and understand that raising prices on a regular basis is critical to their long term success. For help with these business tasks, check out Sage Wedding Pros.
The area you live in – Event planners in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington DC will make significantly more than wedding planners who live in rural areas or areas that are not a popular destination wedding location.
The reputation of the business – If you are recognized as one of the leading planners or designers in your market, you will be able to charge more for your services. You will also benefit from word-of-mouth and referrals from past clients and other wedding professionals.
Marketing knowledge – Being able to market yourself to your target clients can make a significant difference in how much money you make as an event planner. If you haven’t signed up for the Planner’s Lounge email list, you can sign up here to download our complimentary marketing guide. You can also read through our previous posts on marketing and branding
Types of services offered – For newer planners who are offering “day-of” and “month-of” planning services, the salary will be lower than an experienced planner offering full service planning and design.
Number of planners on staff – If you have a team of planners taking on events or staff who supports large scale productions that you plan, your business will usually make more money than a solo business owner.
Other sales - Some planners also sell retail items, provide event decor, maintain a rental inventory or sell invitations to increase their salary.
According to Payscale.com, the annual salary range for a wedding planner who has been in business between 1-4 years is $14,795-$73,047. Typically, skilled planners with five to nine years experience will see a rise in compensation for their skills. For wedding planners who work for an event management company, employee benefits frequently include sick time, paid vacation, access to company sponsored retirement accounts and health care plans.
For the different ways wedding and event planners charge for services, read our wedding planner pricing post.