How Much Does a Party Planner Cost?

Written by: Staff

A party planner, sometimes known as an event planner or event coordinator, is a person who takes care of all of the details of the event or party you are planning.

Whether it is a party for a business event or a child’s birthday party, a party planner will oversee the production of the event, making sure everything goes according to plan.

The costs of hiring one will depend on the geographical location, the size of the party, what needs to go into the party, and the overall complexity of the event.

party by gabia party, on Flickr
party” (CC BY 2.0) by  gabia party

How much does it cost to hire a party planner?

A party planner will charge in many ways, including a flat project fee, a percentage of the expenses, by the hour or as a percentage of the expenses, plus an hourly rate.

On average, most experts recommend that you set aside 10 to 20 percent of your party’s expenses.  So if you were to spend $10,000 on the party, the planner could charge $1,000 to $2,000 to set up, coordinate and make sure everything is under control the day of the party.  Every party is going to be different, so when budgeting, keep in mind that the more complex the party is and the more time a planner has to invest, the more you are likely to pay.

If the event planner were to charge by the hour, then you should plan on spending anywhere from $30 for a newcomer to the industry to as much as $100 per hour for an experienced planner.

As for a flat fee service, usually the most preferred billing method often recommended, a simple party with less than 25 people could cost $200 to $600, while a larger party for a business with more than 200 people could cost upwards of $3,000 to $6,000.  With this method, an event planner will present their service fee, along with a percentage based on the total vendor fees, which is often 10 to 15 percent of the vendor’s fees.

According to, the average costs of planning services nationwide range anywhere from $240 to $1,070.

A survey by the Event Leadership Institute stated the most popular pricing model used by independent planners is a flat fee, with 54 percent charging this way.  If an event planner were to charge by the hour, the survey claimed the most common rate is in the $50 to $99 range.

Hiring a party planner overview

Before the event is even considered, a party planner will consult and try to get an idea of what you need from their side.  Once the job is discussed, a quote, often in writing, will be given.

Party planners will create an event timeline, coordinate with vendors, walk through the venue the day of the party and offer advice, compile a vendor list and correspond during the planning process, according to the host’s budget.  These planners can work with just about any event, big or small to make any special event much more memorable.

Many party planners, especially those with very large events, will attend the party to ensure that everything goes as planned.  This way, you can just enjoy the party rather than worry about the details.

What are the extra costs?

Party planners may charge every time you have to meet in person.  Depending on the contract and fee schedule, additional visits can cost $50 and up.

Depending on the event planner’s billing policy, every time the planner books a vendor, they may initiate a 5 to 15 percent surcharge.  For example, if the band cost $2,000 to book, they may add a $100 to $300 booking charge.

You are only paying the party planner for the actual planning of the party.  Don’t forget to budget for the entertainment, food and venue.

If the party planner you hire does not intend to be at the party, you may have to pay extra for her to come and run the event.

In some cases, even if you don’t hire an event planner, some may charge $35 to $75 per consultation, depending on the distance they have to travel to your location.  However, this isn’t always the case as some planner will do it for free as long as you live within a certain radius or if they charge, they will apply the consultation fee toward the final bill if you were to hire them.

Tips to know

When you talk with various planners, try to get everything in writing.  All planners are going to have their own pricing structures.  As noted above, some are going to charge by the hour, while others will give you a flat fee charge before anything begins.  By getting everything in writing, you can be assured that there will not be any hidden charges or surprises when everything is said and done.

How can I save money?

Try your best to meet with and get as many quotes as possible before committing.  It is best to get references, a work history and get an idea of how their company works.  The more you know about the planner, the more successful your event can be.

When meeting with a party planner, see how many working relationships they have with vendors.  The more relationships they have, the more they can pass on in terms of discounts.

Try to avoid planners that are cheap or those with little experience.  You are going to usually maximize your savings with professionals who have the most contacts in the industry.

If you are going to be planning more events in the future, try to find a party planner that you like and stick with them.  Once the planner knows what you like and expect, it will be even easier to work together.  You may also receive a discount for using the service again.

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