What You Really Need to Charge to Make a Living as a Wedding Planner
Many of us start our wedding planning business without much previous business experience. Most of us have been employees and did not have to think about what the business made in gross income and what the business expenses were. We also didn’t have to think much about taxes since they came right out of our paycheck.
Before we get into the example numbers, let’s define a few key financial terms:
Gross income is the total amount of money that your planning business earns during the year. If your clients pay you a total of $40,000 during the year, that is your gross income.
Net income includes only the profit your business earns after you subtract business expenses and other allowable deductions from your gross income. Take the $40,000 of gross income example then deduct the business expenses such as marketing, education, website fees, business registration costs, mileage, and staff. The amount left after those deductions is your net income.
Determining what to charge to make a living in wedding planning
Sara is a wedding planner and owns Lovely Events. This is an overview of the process to determine what Sara’s actual take-home pay will be for a given year.
Sara offers customized packages for her wedding planning services at these average price points:
Sara has mainly booked Wedding Day Management services (often called day-of or month-of coordination) over the past two years but plans to focus on marketing her partial and full-service planning so she can reach her financial goals. She does not have income from any other services or products related to her wedding planning business.
This year, Sara has provided Wedding Day Management service for 16 weddings at an average cost of $1,500 each.
At this price point, her gross income this year will be $24,000 (16 weddings x $1,500 each).
Deducting Business Expenses to Reach Net Income
Sara’s business expenses average $500 per month which includes paying an assistant for each wedding, advertising, private coaching, attending networking events, website expenses, and other miscellaneous business expenses. Her total yearly expenses are $6,000 ($500 x 12 months).
If we take Sara’s gross income of $24,000 and subtract her expenses of $6,000, her net income will be $18,000.
Actual Take Home Pay
We have Sara’s net income at $18,000. This is BEFORE taxes.
Depending on Sara’s tax bracket and the way her business is legally structured, her actual take-home income this year will likely be in the $12,000 – $16,000 range after taxes.
Let’s assume that she will clear $15,000 for herself this year after taxes, which equals $1,250 per month.
To give Sara a goal for how many events she will need to book to achieve her goal of $50,000 in gross income, here is a breakdown of the details at her current pricing:
6 Wedding Day Management Clients at $1,500 each
4 Partial Planning Services Clients at $3,000 each
6 Full Planning Services Clients at $5,000 each
=$51,000 in gross income based on booking 16 weddings at these prices
These are estimates so that Sara can plan accordingly with her marketing and financial strategy. She also has to look at what expenses will increase to generate more bookings and income. For example, she might work with a wedding planner business coach to refine her marketing strategy, determine how to best invest her marketing dollars, and how to structure and sell higher level planning services.
As you can see, it takes in-depth calculations and strategic planning to reach your income goals and make a living as a wedding and event planner.
Do you want to create a strategic plan that enables you to reach your income goals as a wedding planner?
Would you like to download ready-to-use planning package templates and pricing worksheets to use when determining what to charge?
Pricing With Confidence: Secrets to Profitable Pricing & Services for Professional Wedding Planners is a comprehensive guide with templates and worksheets that give you the tools and information needed to confidently offer profitable and sustainable wedding planning packages and pricing.
This guide is ideal for both new and experienced wedding planners who want to understand pricing methods and techniques along with what gross revenue is needed to make the level of income desired.
This guidebook is also perfect for wedding planners who want to save time by having ready-to-use templates for planning packages, examples of website wording, and a professional spreadsheet to rely on for calculating prices for weddings and events.