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Wedding planners help brides and grooms organize numerous -- if not all -- aspects of the wedding and often attend the event to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Many employ assistants to help with such responsibilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect data specific to wedding planners but does classify them as meeting and convention planners. Still, it is difficult to determine the salary of a wedding consultant assistant due to a variety of factors. According to president of the Association of Bridal Consultants, David Wood, position holders might earn anywhere from $5,000 to $250,000 annually. The best way to estimate your earning potential as an assistant wedding planner is to review the lowest industry wage statistics and the average income of your employer.
The BLS 2010-11 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook published wage survey results for meeting and convention planners taken in May of 2008. According to the document, the median salary was $44,260 per year during the reporting period. The middle 50 percent of position holders earned between $34,480 to $57,820 annually and the highest 10 percent made more than $74,610. A wedding planner assistant would usually fall within the lowest earning 10 percent who earned about $27,450 or less per year.
Generally, in the bridal consultant field your earnings increase with experience and as an assistant you might expect the lowest reported wages. Many online resources provide rough estimates of average earnings at all levels of experience. At the time of publication, the Guide to Career Education website reports that an experienced wedding planner earns more than $2,850 per wedding while an entry-level salary is closer to $1,900. According to the How Much Does Everything Cost and Merchant Circle websites, wedding planners typically earn about $1,500 per wedding but sometimes make up to $5,000 for lavish events. In 2010, the Cost of Wedding website reported that the average wedding expense ranges from $18,050 and $30,083. Based on a 10 percent commission, a wedding planner would earn between $1,800 and $3,000 per wedding; an assistant's salary would be substantially lower. These figures are fairly consistent with BLS wage statistics for meeting and convention planners.
Wedding planners and bridal consultants are paid a predetermined fee proportionate to the entire wedding budget. No matter what your level of experience, your salary may vary significantly from one client to the next. Typically, wedding planners are paid anywhere from 5 to 30 percent of the wedding cost depending on their level of experience. The percentage also relies on your amount of participation. Event planners who assist the wedding party within the few days prior to the event and oversee the wedding usually require about 12 to 20 percent of the wedding budget. Those who directly participate in all aspects of the event coordination, from beginning to end, generally charge 20 to 30 percent. As an assistant, your employer will pay you a previously agreed upon amount for your services based on the payment amounts of each individual client.
One of the best ways to ensure your maximum earning potential as an assistant is to work for a certified wedding planner or become certified yourself. Though no formal education or degree is required to enter the field of event coordinating, being accredited by a prestigious organization of industry professionals increases your credibility. Being acknowledged by such an agency helps build your professional reputation, attracts more clients and ultimately increases your income. According to the Degree Directory website, at the time of publication, wedding planners certified by the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants earn between $25,000 to $60,000 per year.
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- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Meeting and Convention Planners
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Jobs in Wedding and Funeral; Elka Maria Torpey; 2007
- Merchant Circle: How Much Do Wedding Planners Get Paid?
- Guide to Career Education: Bridal Consulting
- How Much Does Everything Cost: How Much Does a Wedding Planner Cost
- Degree Directory: What Is the Average Salary for Certified Wedding Consultants?
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 2010 SOC Definitions
- Fab Job: Become a Wedding Planner and Get Paid to Plan Weddings
- Education-Portal: Wedding Planner: Occupational Outlook and Career Profile
- Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants: Benefits of Membership
- The Wedding Report: Cost of Wedding - Wedding Budget vs. Real Wedding Cost
Michelle Renee is a professional trainer and quality assurance consultant in the career, education and customer service industries, with two decades of experience in food/beverage and event coordinating management. Renee has been published by Lumino and Career Flight as well as various food, education and business publications.