What is the cost to have a wedding stylist?
One question that comes up a lot is “How much does a wedding stylist cost?”, it has as much mystique around it as the question “What is a wedding stylist?” so I figured I’ll cover this as a follow up to my previous article of “Whats the difference between a wedding planner and wedding stylist?”. If you haven’t already done so I’d highly recommend that you start with that blog post as things will make more sense knowing what a wedding stylist truly does.
So how much DOES a wedding stylist cost? And what are the usual packages that you should expect? The old adage of “how long is a piece of string?” rings true with this because there truly isn’t a definitive price guide to work from for a wedding stylist. We come in all sorts of different sizes, styles and offerings. Most are the designers of wedding theme and are essentially the interior designer of the wedding world - they’ll create a visual brief of your ceremony and wedding reception, and then get things pulled together with external wedding decor vendors. In this scenario the norm is to charge the following:
a “wedding styling fee” for the wedding stylist to create a theme and brief.
a wedding vendor referral or “management” fee and it is usually a % of your spend with the individual vendor.
Simple and quite effective because all the visual and decorative work is being designed and managed by a professional, that way you can purely concentrate on enjoying your engagement and wedding planning.
What about wedding styling packages?
As much as I understand the need for “wedding styling packages” as it simplifies the entire process of choosing a “packaged look” for x amount, and it makes it easier for the business owner to set their P&L knowing how much each package’s COGS is and their respective profit. It really makes sense for the wedding stylist to show you a portfolio of looks, call it “Diamond”, “Gold” or “Brass”, and price it up as event decoration packages or even ceremony packages that you get to choose from. You know exactly what you’re getting, because they’re set looks, and there’s little guessing of what is created for your wedding.
These wedding styling packages can make your research easier because you’d have multiple tabs opened and you’re comparing prices and inclusions. There’s just one thing that has always confused me about this approach, as convenient as it is - these are set looks and inclusions but not all weddings are the same and they shouldn’t be treated like set pieces to be done and re-done. Yes I’m being controversial because some of my peers have this business model.
It’s one of the most special day - so it should be completely tailored to you.
I am a strong believer that the wedding starts with love so why not create it with all the love there is. As much as I respect my peers in the industry and recognise the rationale behind having wedding packages for styling, it really should be tailored to what you’ve always wanted and not what the stylist can do or has in stock. This is not to say that packages are a bad thing, or any lesser, it just isn’t me. Or what my brides and grooms want.
And when you do come to me, the entire process of designing the style of your wedding is tailored to you.
Then how do I price up my wedding styling?
There’s no real science or set formula for the work I do because, I’ll be honest, there are so many factors that I like to introduce in designing the style of a wedding, or any event for the matter, that it is impossible to have a set price. Even when couples ask me to re-create some of the works done in the past I tend to offer to re-imagine it slightly.
Ok so let’s break down how I calculate my wedding styling pricing, without giving specific figures of course:
What other weddings or events do we have on the day?
Having multiple weddings occur each weekend we have to be well prepared by ensuring we have enough florists, event stylists, staff and contractors to create the vision you and I set out. Do I need to go out and look for additional contractors or grow the staff roster?
Logistics is more than cramming everything into the vans, and get to wedding venue A to B on the day.
We do a handful of weddings each day so it’s a challenge to make sure we have enough vans, and what the drop offs are on the day. And should there not be enough to service the new enquiry I would have to factor in hiring additional van(s).
Preparation for the wedding starts weeks, sometimes months before hand.
Whether a client has opted for the flowers to be artificial silk flowers, or fresh ones, preparation of the decorative pieces, such as table centrepieces, still need to happen. For instance team would clean, maintain, re-spray colour changes of the metal pieces, order and pick up items that need to be replaced. So the hours that go into preparing each wedding typically amounts to some 50+ hours on average.
Design custom pieces or order additional pieces to fulfil the quantities required.
This is where the real work and fun happens! I would create custom designs for centrepieces, types of flowers, bridal table backdrops and ceiling installations of various details. The real value in coming to me is to create unique pieces for you - to create a style and mood of your most special day in the vision of who you both are. This would require x hours of design work, engineering or sourcing, and manufacturing. Certainly not every wedding warrants this level of customisation but for those who do, it’s when I am at my best.
Structures, ceiling riggings, truss work are an external cost having to be factored.
With all the marvellous ceiling, lighting and production you see we’ve done in the past (jump here to see some ceiling installations) they require structures to be put in place before the floral and decorative work can be installed.
Some venues and hotels require their preferred rigger or partnered audio/visual company and the costs associated to this whilst is external should be discussed and factored in. I typically will handle the conversation with said people and the rigging or truss quote will be sent directly to you.
Where the venue allows for an external company to be involved, I normally would have Showtime Productions enter the conversation, design and quote of the work. This would also include the pack down costs charged.
The part no one wants to do - packing down the wedding flowers and decorations.
What goes up must come down, right? It is a shame that we have to take down the labour of love after each event but it must be done and most of the time in a very short period. Most reception venues allocate 1 to 2 hours max for everything pretty to be unravelled, accounted and packed into the vans. As you could imagine this happens past midnight and multiple event vendors (such as your entertainment band, DJ, dance floor, furnitures, chandeliers…etc) are all rushing to ensure the reception venue is returned to its original state, so everyone’s working on top of each other.
This presents a challenge to ensure our pack down teams are resourced sufficiently to pack down in the allotted period and times that by x number of events each night this tends to be a decent number of teams all running at the same time! At times the bump-in time is insufficient so I would have to factor in additional team members rather than the standard 2-3 per team.
That’s a high level overview of the things I would have to factor in when pricing a wedding styling service, and as you can see there are so many moving parts that it isn’t necessarily possible to have set looks and set wedding styling packages.
Should I create packages for wedding styling because couples are asking for it?
It’s not my goal to create set packages for wedding styling because I feel this is not the direction for the business that we are in. I strongly feel that if we were to then the business would gravitate to a “can of coke” (to use my previous analogy) and each wedding would just be a product rather than a service - and that is wholly against the vision Bailey and I had set out years ago, and the values my team and I hold for one of the most important and special day in a person’s life.
Then what should you expect to be spending with me?
I’ll refer back to “how long is a piece of string?” because I have girls who spend around the $5k mark and others waaaay over that and it all comes down to how much of an impact you would like and what type of setting have you dreamt of? It’s no easy select A or B or C and that’s what it costs.
I hope that clears things up for you, and should you love to still engage with me then I’d love to hear from you! You can reach out by click onto the button below