Here's How Much a Wedding Planner Actually Costs

Find the national average here.
kim forrest the knot
by
Kim Forrest
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
Senior Editor
  • Kim writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a speciality in etiquette and planning advice
  • Kim manages freelance writers for The Knot Worldwide
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Kim was Associate Bridal Editor at Washingtonian magazine and Associate Fashion Editor at Conde Nast’s Brides Local magazines
Updated Feb 24, 2022

When it comes to planning your wedding day, we recommend hiring a professional wedding planner if you can. Not only are they able to juggle all of your wedding vendors, they can also offer guidance on budget, style, timelines and everything in between. Plus, they're pros are handling any day-of crises that might come up (think: weather issues or a seating chart snafu). Given that pros suppress so much of the stress during your wedding planning process, a frequently asked question is exactly how much does a wedding planner cost?

To be completely honest: the answer isn't simple. The cost of a wedding planner depends on a multitude of factors, mostly because there are different types of wedding planners available for hire. The most commonly-sought planners are either full-time, partial, month-of or day-of pros.

A full-time planner starts with you from square one. They handle everything from helping you choose your color palette to finding your perfect wedding venue to overseeing day-of festivities. Partial wedding planners (also known as á la carte pros) can help you with specific tasks, like managing a wedding budget or organizing your venue floor plan. They're typically less expensive than a full-service planner, so hiring a vendor to this capacity is a worthy alternative for couples who don't have room in their budget for a full-time pro.

Another budget-friendly option is a month-of coordinator. These pros will help you finalize all of the last-minute details and ensure your big day goes off without a hitch. And a day-of coordinators helps pull together last-minute details and ensures the day of your wedding goes off without a hitch. Considering all of the different types of wedding planners, it makes sense that there's a lot of variation when it comes to how much a wedding planner actually costs.

According to The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding planner was $1,700. But before you adhere to this particular number, keep in mind that this was the national average in 2021. (Emphasis on both national and average.) This is in line with previous years' averages.

It's important to remember that the ultimate cost of a wedding planner relies on multiple variables. The survey includes data from couples across the U.S., all of whom had different budgets and therefore, types of wedding planners. For example, those who hosted a destination wedding spent more on a planner than those who hosted a hometown wedding ($2,200 vs. $1,600). This makes sense because destination weddings tend to have more moving parts.

Our study found that most couples who worked with a planning pro hired a full-service wedding planner. This is a change from previous years, when a day-of coordinator was the most commonly-hired planner. What's the reason for the increased popularity of full-service coordinators? Well, a full-service planner was particularly valuable during the pandemic, when gathering guidelines were changing almost daily and couples needed professional help to ensure health and safety protocols were followed. Full-service wedding planners can also help create an amazing guest experience, which is of increasing importance to couples.

See what other types of wedding planners couples hired last year, below.

  • Full-Service Wedding Planner: 35%
  • Day-Of Coordinator: 34%
  • Month-Of Planner: 17%
  • Wedding Weekend Coordinator: 3%
  • Destination Wedding Coordinator: 3%
  • A La Carte: 2%

If you're still debating how much you want to spend on a planner, consider how much help you want for your nuptials. Then, use The Knot Budget Tool to see if you have the funds to accommodate your needs. It's often best to consult multiple pros in order to see how much a wedding planner will cost you for your unique vision.

Something else to consider is that not all wedding planners adhere to the same standard rates and may offer different planning packages. By that, we mean a wedding planner typically charges in one of three ways: a flat fee, an hourly rate or a percentage of your overall wedding bill—so it totally depends on the type of wedding planner you choose to hire and what your own wedding budget is.

Yes, a wedding planner might seem like a big investment—but it's important to consider the time and stress you save by working with one. Professional planners also typically have strong relationships with vendors and intimately understand the wedding industry, so they can help you get the best bang for your buck. If you're thinking about enlisting wedding planning services, you're not alone. The Knot study found that 32 percent of couples getting married hired some type of professional wedding/event planner for their wedding day, which is an increase from previous years.

Between their solid connections, budget control and creative solutions, you'll be happy you hired a wedding planner. And of course, your wedding planner will help you make the absolute most of your total budget, which is a pretty sound investment if you ask us.

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    This Was the National Average Cost of a Wedding in 2021