Dinner Dates: Pricing

Ugh. The dreaded word – Pricing.

Guys. Pricing is SO HARD. To this day, I still struggle with so many aspects of pricing!!

Pricing yourself is scary & it’s SO unknown… there’s not a lot of knowledge out there for wedding planners or florist on HOW to price or WHAT is even a “good” price!!! Sure there’s “national wedding planner averages” but you know those numbers get skewed by various locations & areas in the US.

I DO NOT have all the answers. Like I said before, pricing is still an aspect of my business I am GROWING in and learning the best ways to do it!! But I wanted to share with you a bit about where I started and the trial-and-error process I went through.

First off, let’s start with the facts: when I started DSE I had 3 packages: Day Of, Partial & Full. I charged 500 for day of, 750 for partial and 950 for full. Yes. I know. WHAT was I thinking?! I’ll tell you what… I was TERRIFIED I wouldn’t book any brides!!! I had no professional weddings under my belt which meant no portfolio or amazing reviews. I was afraid brides wouldn’t want to work with so I priced myself laughably low!!! I booked two 2014 weddings at that price point and then I raised my prices. I knew in my heart those prices were too low & that I would NEVER be able to take my business full-time like that. So over the next 13 months, I slowly increased my pricing. Now, I’m at a place where I’m more comfortable and confident in my pricing!! Is it perfect? No. But it’s much better then when I first started!!

Pricing is one of the BIGGEST questions I chat about with DSE One-On-One ladies… so I wanted to share with all of you my trial-and-error knowledge on pricing!!

View More: http://andreapescephoto.pass.us/dse

I’m a brand new business owner terrified no one will book me… what do I do? There’s a heated debate about whether or not new business owners should price lower … my personal opinion? Yes. You DO need to price lower when you first start!!! Why? Because you need a fighting chance. The truth of the matter is you DON’T have a portfolio or amazing reviews… so you need to price lower so that you can compete with others. Book a few brides at a lower range so that you BUILD your portfolio, then start the slow & steady climb to pricing your confident in.

How low is too low? Oh, friends. What a tough one!! You and you alone are the only one who can answer this question. But remember this: don’t be laughably low. You do NOT want clients & vendors thinking that you’re “so low you must be bad”!! However, you don’t want to be too high that you never get a signed contract! There IS a happy medium. My first two 2014 clients booked me at my beginner-price-point… y’all, those weddings changed my life. Did I actually make any money? No. I didn’t! But they were AMAZING weddings with incredible clients, details, photographers, vendors, etc…. and I am SO GLAD they booked me because they really did help take DSE to the next level!!! Photographers second shoot to gain experience & build their portfolio… I priced me first few weddings lower so I could do that same thing! (Again, my way is not necessarily the “best”… I’m just telling you what I did so you can learn from my mistakes & triumphs!!)

How do I know where to even start?! Research what planners in your area are doing!! What are they charging (if it’s on their website)? What packages do they offer?? Honestly, feel free to research LOTS of different areas!! My business has become “traveling” wedding planning… no, that doesn’t mean I’m always in Jamaica or St. Lucia (I wish!). It means that 90% of the weddings I book are 3+ hours away from me. With the other 10% being 1.5-2 hours away!! I travel all over the state & out of state!! So my pricing isn’t necessarily JUST based on the vendors in my town!! I compared planners ALL OVER the country!! Look on their website, read reviews & see what they offer. Do I mean COPY them? No. Absolutely not!! DO NOT copy their strategies, client experience, branding, or even their hashtag:) But you can LEARN and GROW from what you see.. then put your own twist on it:)

How do you price different packages, if you offer different packages? I struggled SO MUCH with this one, friends!! It took me a solid 6 months to figure out & what worked for my brides & DSE. Here’s the thing, I started my business with a VERY different idea of what my package & pricing structure would be. It was because I was actively IN the industry, that I realized what I thought was going to work, wasn’t! So I switched it up!! As business owners, we have to be flexible!! If you’re waiting to start your business until you get this all figured out, you’ll probably never start!!! Just jump in there!!

Okay, back to the question:) I offer 3 packages: Wedding Weekend (day of), Partial Planning + Design and Full Planning + Design. I also offer in house services like floral design, décor rentals & styling + design. When I first started, every package was black & white… I listed the price & what was included, and that was it! Y’all. It did NOT work in my favor!!! First off, EVERY bride is different, right? A 150 person wedding in the family’s backyard is much different than 300 people in downtown Richmond!! The planning is different, the logistics are different, and the couples needs are different!! By not offering flexible packages, I was putting DSE in a box that I didn’t want to be in & I wasn’t able to help my brides the way I wanted to!! Here’s the beauty of small biz ownership… you’re the boss, so you can change it:) Now I offer those 3 packages, but they are customizable – a bride will see the 3 packages I offer & all that is included in each, then she can “cut & paste” to make the perfect planning package or keep it as is. I ALSO made my pricing customizable… my pricing starts at a base price that is then customized to fit exact package details, travel required & other details! I’ve been using this system since February and it has worked SO well!! I love being able to fit all my clients needs, and feel much more at ease about the entire system!

Should I share my Pricing on my website? Again, this is a decision only you can make. But here’s my two sense:) I state the range of my packages: “Wedding packages from $1,250, with the full experience from $3,800”. The majority of my brides are blog followers, or have found my website/blog via social media & then browse around before contacting me! So most of the time they have seen my “range” and know it fits into their wedding budget. I like that! I like knowing that when someone contacts me they are somewhat informed and know what to expect. On the flip side, I’ve heard from multiple DSE brides that they appreciated it, too! Brides are putting together a budget for an event they have NEVER planned… they have no clue what to budget for flowers or a photographer or a planner. I think its helpful for them to look up their fav vendors in the VERY early stages to know what to even expect when it comes to the budget!! It’s also nice for me because 9 times out of 10, when the bride contacts me it’s because I DO fit into the budget… it’s saves us both a  lot of headache & makes things easier when they know the range up front!




Here’s the thing – as your business grows so does your demand, therefore you can raise your prices. That’s basic business right there. And while that is 100% accurate, I firmly believe the experience you give your clients will push your demand higher, too! Clients will start to understand the quality of work, professionalism & just all around amazing-ness your business has to offer!! My goal for DSE isn’t to be “just another wedding planner”. I don’t want brides who “price shop” … I want brides who get that pretty ring & think “Oh my gosh I have to email Kat!! I can’t wait to be a DSE Bride!”!! So by building my brand, my client experience and the overall community of DSE, I’m pushing myself in that direction… and ultimately increasing my prices, too.

The last thing I want to share is this AMAZING article on Once Wed. Taylor showed it to me and I think I’ve passed it on to several other ladies since then!! I love their advice on pricing & it definitely made me think twice about my own!!

I hope this helps!! I’m currently accepting DSE One-On-Ones for January, so I’d love to chat with you more about it, if you have additional pricing questions!!:) Please email me!! dearsweetheartevents@gmail.com

xo! kat

(( Image by Andrea Pesce Photography ))

I'm a biz coach and integrator for creatives! My job? To help you dreams & dailys happen every week. Rinse and repeat.

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